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Slice of Life – Splendour in the Grass

July 19, 2008

Slice of Life Sunday is a meme dedicated to preserving the accounts of events cut out of the lives of average people just like you and me from all over the world. And like having ice cream with your pie, there is more to this meme than meets the eye – it’s a meme a` la mode. I hope you will join me and share a Slice of your Life.

I have spent most of the week painting, again. Our property is really coming along but I have many more weeks of painting until I am done. I was inspired on Friday evening to write another post for the Slice of Life prompt: Losing my virginity.

Splendour in the Grass

 

 

One of life’s more memorable events, sometimes good and sometimes not so good, is losing one’s virginity. Today’s society often mocks those who make the decision to remain a virgin until their wedding night. To be a virgin is to be a nerd at the very least. Only the human race can take the symbol of strength and independence – as a virgin was a goddess who remained unaffected by the temptations of  Dionysus, the Greek god of seduction – and over the centuries turn it into the butt of a joke. All forms of media, especially television and motion pictures, portray the sexual experience an essential part of everyday living. Peer pressure in school leads many young girls to forfeit her power of virginity to seek love in all the wrong places, usually in the backseat of a car, or in my case, on the bank of a creek. Although technically my virginity was taken from me at age fourteen by an uncle who raped me, I like to remember “losing my virginity” as an event that occurred two years later when I voluntarily succumbed  to the temptations created by teenage raging hormones.

 

High School in the mid-60’s in rural Holmes County, Ohio was much different than the schools of today. We had strict rules for dress – boys wore “dress pants” not jeans with a collared shirt tucked in and girls wore dresses or skirts which came well below the knees. Only students who had a job after school drove a car, accept for some from very wealthy families, with rest of us riding the bus. Students were divided in social classes – the brains, the popular “in crowd”, the jocks, the farmers, the hoods, and the good girls. I was considered a “good girl”. This meant I did not have a “reputation” for being an exchangeable slip cover for the backseat of any given number of cars. I had a steady boyfriend all through my freshman year, who was kind of a nerd, but we never had a car date. We would meet at the local movie theatre every Saturday night and sit in the back row so we could hold hands and exchange a few kisses. On one of these dates our kisses became more intense and Danny’s hands found their way under my sweater. We were both immediately stunned and pulled apart quickly. The following Monday he broke up with me in a note which said, “We need to break up now. You are a good girl and I need to see other girls for a little while. We can get back together in a few months.”  At first I was very hurt and then I became very angry. How dare he say he was going to date other girls and then come back to me! I did not understand the twisted male logic of those days which dictated a “good boy” who was ready to explore his sexual desires did so with a girl with a reputation. It was an honor code of sorts to keep “good girls” pure for marriage and was meant as a sign of respect. Of course there were boys who did not honor this code – they were the hoods.

 

John was a member of the hoods. He rolled the short sleeves up a couple of notches and kept the top three buttons on his shirt unbuttoned. He smoked cigarettes and had even been expelled from school for three days when he was caught in the boy’s restroom. It was rumored he drank beer and played pool in the local tavern. And, he dated Shorty – who had a reputation for seeing more back seats than a rear view mirror. In early March of my sophomore year, John and Shorty broke up. She was pregnant by a “man” who was out of school. She dropped out of school and got married. For the next two months, John and I seemed to make eye contact at least once every day as we passed each other in the halls while changing classes. He began to wink at me during these encounters and my knees would go weak. Then the fateful day of our first conversation came in early May. I left my books with the apple I brought for lunch sitting on top on a chair in the student lounge area while I went to the restroom. When I returned, John was sitting in an adjoining chair holding my apple. As I approached him, he gave me a big smile and with a wink of his “Kris Kristofferson eyes” said, “This is very nice of you to bring me an apple for lunch.”  After a few minutes of my protesting the apple was for my lunch, John finally offered a compromise, “If you sit on my lap, I will give you your apple.” Had I known the story of Eve’s fall from grace over an apple I may have picked up my books and walked away. But, I hadn’t heard the story, and to be honest, there had been a silent building of sexual tension between us for several months, and I was ripe for the picking.

 

The next few weeks passed quickly. John and I would meet in the lounge several days a week and share lunch. It was the end of the school year for the Class of 1967 and much ado was being made about the newest fashion trend – the mini skirt. I had saved money from washing cars and babysitting and had purchased one despite my mother’s objections and threats to return it. During one of our lunch meetings, I told John about my mini skirt. He and his friends didn’t believe “Miss Goody Two-Shoes” had a mini skirt. Well, I was going to show them and said I would wear it on the last day of school. This news spread through school by the end of the day. It seemed everyone wanted to know if I was really going to wear a mini skirt to school. Not only was the length of the skirt against the school dress code, but I was a “good girl” and this was not what was expected of me. Looking back on it now, I know I mainly wanted to impress John and not necessarily be a trend setter or a rule breaker. John and I were polar opposites, at least on the social standing level. He was wild and free; I was timid and uptight. If it was wrong, he did it. If it was right, I did it. I was very insecure and felt I needed to prove I was worthy of his attention. On the last day of school, I wore my mini skirt, which was three inches above my knees. It was quite the event for a small rural school. By third period, the school principal tracked me down and said I would have to go home at lunch period and change or be expelled. John was the only person I knew who drove to school and he offered to take me home to change clothes. We laughed and talked on the way to and from my home. This was the first time we had been alone together. When we arrived back at school, he pulled me close to him and kissed me. It was not the kind of kiss I had ever had before. I had only kissed three other boys at that point, and I am quite sure they had all been virgins at the time. No, this kiss was definitely different. This was a kiss of a boy who had already come-of-age and who knew where a kiss could lead . . . and I was ready to follow.

 

Since my birthday wasn’t until August, and I was only fifteen, I was not permitted to car date. All through June and July, I protested to my parents that I was the youngest in my class because of a late summer birthday and all my friends were car-dating. But my parents would not budge on their rule of no car dating until I was sixteen. John and I would meet at the local swimming pool in the evenings because he worked during the day. We also met at the movie theatre on Saturday nights, where we would sit in the back row and make out. A few times, with the aide of my best friend, I was able to meet him and go for a ride which usually ended at a “parking location” out in the country. One evening in mid-August, just before my sixteenth birthday, we met at the swimming pool as usual. After swimming for about half an hour, John suggested we go for a walk over to the creek, which was also part of our no-car-dating ritual. There was a metal pole that straddled the creek which I often walked across as a short-cut to get home. We would cross the pole and then walk several yards down the bank of the creek. John would spread our towels on the ground and we sit down to talk and eventually begin to kiss, which would lead to some very heavy petting. That evening we talked for a few minutes and then began kissing. For the first time, I allowed him to untie my bikini top. On that warm summer evening, I learned where his kisses could take me.

 

Several years later, I saw the movie, Splendor in the Grass. I was struck by so many similarities between the love-struck teenagers, Deanie and Bud, and John and myself. Although there were many dissimilarities, including the fact the movie teenagers did not consummate their passions and went on to live separate lives while John and I married the next summer due to my becoming pregnant, the essence of the movie spoke to me and, I am sure, many other teenagers who struggled with the awakening sensuality of their youth. John and I were married for over twenty years, most of which causes very painful memories. But, when I think back on that summer evening, these words always come to mind;

 

 

What through radiance which was once so bright

be now forever taken from my sight,

though nothing can bring back the hour

of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;

We will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind.

 

                                                                                     William Wordsworth

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 20, 2008 8:48 am

    Grease Lightning…
    Johnny and Sandra Dee
    a very romantic story, I would count that one to be my story too.
    Hugs on your experience with your uncle, it use to be years ago, 1 in every 6 girls were sexually assualted or raped….now its 1 in 2….scary
    I’m glad you have come so far and I’m glad I’m getting to know in these slice of lifes!

    ~~Thank you Jen. Yes, it is so sad our nation is turning into a country that disrespects their children, their parents, and their spouses. What must the Lord think of us? Cricket

  2. July 20, 2008 9:22 am

    That is a very moving story. How well you tell it. The Wordsworth quote is brilliant. We should find strength in what remains. Beautiful.

    Hi Selma, Thank you for your kind words. I first heard the poem when I watched the movie. It has always stayed with me, particularly “but find strength in what remains.” Cricket

  3. July 26, 2008 4:44 pm

    Class of 67, huh? Me, too.

    Very touching story, and handled with great finesse. I enjoyed reading your experience. I, too, was reminded of Grease with Danny and Sandy. I never knew any ‘bad’ boys in high school. However, the summer I was 21 I dated one of them. My mother claimed that’s where all her grey hairs came from. ;D

    ~~ Hi Eve, ahh yes, my mother turned gray early over my relationship with John! Actually, I was in the Class of 69. Cricket

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