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This Magic Moment

August 25, 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.

Today is my 57th birthday. As birthdays go, this was a fairly quiet one. I had a wonderful telephone visit with my best friend which began with “Holy crap Batman, it’s your birthday!” My son and his family had a nice bbq for dad and I. I returned home shortly before 9pm feeling very nostalgic.I have enjoyed thinking back over the happy times in my life this evening while trying to select an event to write about this week. I can hardly believe it has been just over 45 years since the following event took place. As I started writing, it all came back like it was yesterday. It was definitely one of the most magical moments in my life.  

 

This Magic Moment

 

 

The summer of 1963 was a summer of discovery for me. We had moved from the country to a small town with a population of 300-400, although to me it was like moving to New York City. We rented a house that was located next door to the VFW and directly across the street from the drug store, the hardware store, and the post office, thus, giving us access to all the comings and goings of everyone in town. I had attended the local elementary school for six years so I knew all the town kids but had never interacted with them outside of the school day. Now I was able to ride my bike all over town and visit friends at their house.

 

I spent much of my time those hot summer days with my friend Loretta. Loretta lived at the far end of town and had a playhouse of sorts in the barn located behind her house. We would hang out in the barn and listen to 45’s on her record player. Loretta taught me that a scratched record could still be good to listen to by taping a nickel on the arm of the diamond head so it could play through the scratches.  Loretta also introduced me to roller skates, the silver metal ones that attached to your shoes and could be adjusted and tightened with a turn of the special “skate key.” As hard as I tried, I could not master roller skating. I didn’t do too bad if I held on to Loretta’s hand, but as soon as she let go, I fell instantly to the sidewalk, usually skinning an elbow or knee on the way down. I didn’t mind the bruises though because Loretta’s mom would bandage my wounds and make us grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup for lunch. I loved this new sandwich, and it is one of my favorites to this day. Yes, Loretta definitely broadened my horizons that summer, especially since she also introduced me to her older brother Terry.

 

Terry was one year older than us and he had gone to the junior high school the previous school year. I was a little apprehensive about going to a new school, which combined students in seventh and eighth grade from three elementary schools. Terry would come out to the barn and tell us all about junior high. Although I was interested in getting some insider information on what to do and where to go, I was more fascinated by Terry. He had black hair like Elvis. And he was quite the show off when he sang along with the Elvis records. Needless to say, I developed quite a crush on Terry and I was to soon learn he was equally attracted to me.

 

When I first moved into town, Loretta and I would meet on Saturday night at the local movie theatre. It was not important what movie was playing, regardless of what it was, we always went every Saturday night. By the middle of July, Terry came with Loretta and we would all sit together to watch the movie. I sat in the middle since it was not cool for Loretta to be seen sitting beside her brother at the movies. The second Saturday night Terry joined us, Alfred Hitchcock’s, The Birds, was playing. I was not fond of scary movies, but it was Saturday night. During the movie, Loretta whispered to me she was going to the restroom and would get us some more popcorn while she was out. I knew she didn’t like scary movies either and figured she was just using this as an excuse to escape. After she left, I whispered this information to Terry. It was about this time in the movie when the school kids are sent home and the birds start attacking them. I, along with others in the theatre, screamed. Terry grabbed my hand and I held on for dear life. At some point, he put his arm across my shoulders and I took full advantage to bury my head into his chest during the remaining scary parts of the movie. After the movie ended, we all walked outside talking about how scary the movie was. I lived just down the street and could see my house as we stood in front of the theatre. Just as we said our goodnights, with Terry and Loretta leaving in an opposite direction to their home, and I starting to cross the street in the direction of my house, I huge flock of birds flew over. Everyone and I mean everyone, regardless of age, began running and screaming. I think I ran all the way home without taking a breath. I was so scared when I got home, I didn’t think about Terry putting his arm around me and holding onto me when I jumped or when I buried my head into his chest. But, I thought about him the next day.

 

All day Sunday, I couldn’t get Terry out of my thoughts. Now that my fear of the birds had subsided, a new anxiety took their place. I remembered how Terry pulled me close with one arm when I buried my head in his chest and placed his other hand on my face to shield the picture on the big screen from my eyes. I remembered how he smelled and how safe I felt in his arms. I had never been that close to a boy. I had crushes on boys before but not like the one I was feeling for Terry. I could hardly wait for Monday to come so I could visit Loretta because I knew I would also see Terry again.

 

Monday was always laundry day. I had to do my chores before I was allowed to go out to play. That seems silly to say now since play was about to take on a whole new meaning. I finished hanging the last load of clothes on the line just after lunch. Despite the heat of the day, I removed my waist-length hair from its ponytail and brushed it until it shined. I hopped on my bike and headed towards Loretta’s house. I could feel my hair flying in the wind as I pedaled as fast as I could. Once there, I went to the barn as I could hear the music playing. I walked in and saw Terry getting ready to put another stack of 45’s on the record player. Loretta was not there. I said hello and asked if Loretta was in the house. Terry shook his head no and said their mom took Loretta to get her hair cut. He said they should be back soon and I could listen to records with him while I waited for her, if I wanted to. “If I wanted to!?! Was he crazy?,” my adolescent hormones screamed in my brain while I outwardly replied, “OK, sure,” and calmly walked over to see what records he had selected.

 

We looked through the records together, with our fingers occasionally touching as we passed the records back and forth between us. “That sure was a scary movie the other night, “he said. “Yes, it scared me half to death.” I replied. “Yeah, I noticed,” he said as his eyes met mine. I started to look away in embarrassment but something inside me made my eyes return to his. “Yeah, I was pretty scared. I hope I wasn’t too much of a bother.”   “Oh no, I didn’t mind. I didn’t mind at all” he assured me. “Well, I hope my being so scared didn’t ruin the movie for you. I know boys like that kind of movie. They like being scared, but girls don’t.” I stammered. “Oh no, you didn’t ruin the movie for me. I like sitting with you at the movies. You are very pretty you know.” He replied as he set the stack of records he was holding down on the table without taking his eyes from mine. “Ummm, no, I didn’t know that. I mean I guess I am ok looking.” I stammered again. “No, you are very pretty. I think you are the prettiest girl I have ever known.” he said as he stepped closer to me.

 

At that moment I became stricken with terror as I realized he was going to kiss me. I had never been kissed by a boy before. I had seen it done in movies and wondered what it would be like. I even practiced kissing my pillow a few times. But this wasn’t my pillow. This was Terry with the black hair like Elvis. Terry who had the aroma of a summer rain. Terry who held me close to protect me when I was scared.

 

All of these thoughts were swirling in my mind as I watched his face come closer to mine. I heard the changer on the record player drop the last record and “Are You Lonesome Tonight” began to play. He put his fingers under my chin and pulled my face up to meet his. Just as his lips touched mine, he closed his eyes. I closed my eyes and felt the tenderness of his lips on mine.

 

Our “relationship” lasted a few more weeks until Terry gave me a ring he purchased at the drug store. I was so excited to be his “girlfriend” that I didn’t consider what my parents would think. My mother was not pleased and made me give the ring back. I was no longer allowed to sit with him at the movies. School started and we rode the same bus to the junior high but we did not sit together. He soon moved on to another girl and forgot all about me. Although we live in the same area today, I would be surprised if he remembers our brief encounter with young love. But, I do. The innocence and sweetness of that first kiss was a magical moment that I will never forget.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 25, 2008 9:54 am

    I love everything about this – playing the old 45s, the tie-on roller skates, the fact that Terry looked a little like Elvis, practising with your pillow. We have all experienced similar things. You captured the magic of the moment so well. I ‘m sure Terry hasn’t forgotten that kiss, either!

  2. adamswife permalink
    August 25, 2008 7:34 pm

    What a great first kiss! I was a lot older than you when I got my first kiss. Would you believe 20?

  3. genuinegem permalink
    August 26, 2008 11:26 am

    Oh you brought back memories! I have yet to write my submission but with everything that’s been going on…well I will! 😉

  4. August 28, 2008 7:07 pm

    What a vivid picture you paint! I remember the era well and felt like I was back in the sixties. When children still had chores, Elvis was king, and our parents were dictators. I am sure Terry still remembers your short lived romance. Very well written!

  5. August 30, 2008 8:19 am

    I forgot to wish you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Hope it was a good one. XX00XXX

  6. August 30, 2008 8:48 am

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    If you are interested, kindly mail back at k5ino@bigstring.com, indicating your blog for reference, and I’ll send you pricing details, guidelines and processes. Looking forward to doing business with you.

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  7. August 31, 2008 4:51 pm

    By reading your story above, it has brought back some good memories of stuff like that to me.

    Back in 1960 I was in the 7th Grade and just starting to notice “girls” in a different manner than before. They smelled so sweet, and were so soft. I guess it was my inner hormones starting to take over. There was only one big problem with me. I was half scared too death to ask one girl that had my interest. I feared more than anything, that she would say no to anything I asked her of. Go to the High School Dance that was held in the Gym every Sat. I was almost sure that she’d say no, so I never did ask her. Instead, I’d hope that she would come to the Dance and I’d see her there. A number of times, she did show up. But then, I had another problem. Afraid to ask her to dance was it. I’d sit there on the bleachers with a friend or two and try and get up enough courage to walk across the Gym floor and ask her to dance. I finially did and I still remember to this day how great it was. From then on, I would always ask her to dance when-ever a High School Dance was held and she showed up.

    As time went on thru the school year, she wore my “Dogtags”, a popular thing to do back then. It was to show that she was mine and mine alone! You were not supposed to ask another girl out that wore someone else’s “Tags”. We kept up a real nice relationship until the end of our 8th Grade year. Then my Mother moved to another school district, and I started at another High School. I did not ever see her again until many, many years later.

    After High School, I joined the US Navy and served a Tour of Duty in Vietnam. Came home and found a job, went to school to be a Machinist, and worked there for 30 yrs. I never did see her again, until one day while shopping I noticed her and her Husband. I walked over to her and introduced myself and she remembered me. We had a small conversation, cause her Husband might get angry. It was so nice to see a girl that I had a “thing” for so many years ago. I will always remember her, plus others that have been in my Life. They will always have a special place in my Heart.

    Thanks for letting me tell a small Story.
    Les (Reading, PA)

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