First girlfriend-first Kiss
FIRST GIRLFRIEND FIRST KISSThe first girl I took notice of in any real sense of "notice" was a brunette named Robbie.I was in first grade, so I must have been six-years-old.She can count herself pretty lucky that nothing came of it.My interests at that age were Hopalong Cassidy, Tarzan, rocketships, archery, knife-throwing, and rubbing kittens on my face._____My first "sort-of" girlfriend along with my first kiss came NOT because of any natural attraction on my part. It was a strong sense of competition between myself and my best friend, Johnny Santa Cruz.Johnny and I were best buddies but there was an unspoken rivalry.Natural as can be for males.I wasn’t conscious of this at the time--I only sensed it.For instance...Johnny went all googly-eyed over Carol Brown, the blonde girl across the street whose face was a natural habitat for freckles.He was determined this Carol was definitely First-Kiss territory.____Carol Brown didn't push any magic buttons inside of me. The rivalry was triggered by my friend’s efforts to “signify” around me. The significance amounted to: “I’ve got a girlfriend and you don’t” sort of nonsense.We were 15-years-old. That pretty much says it all.Johnny was full tilt into adolescent glandular upheaval.(i.e. He was in heat!)Internal churnings didn't happen for me until I was about 19.Yeah. Really.Walstrom's are late-bloomers.The efforts Johnny was making amounted to paying attention to Carol Brown.He tossed around rather hilarious compliments. She seemed to react with moderate interest.“Most guys like girls with perfect teeth, “ Johnny would say, “but I think that crooked tooth of yours is very sexy.”I know what you’re thinking, “What a lady-killer.”______Wherever Johnny went, I was his shadow. (He was a wide-load kind of fellow and already had a substantial shadow.) Consequently, when Froggy went-a-courtin', I was like the "sword and pistol' by his side.He liked showing off his Don Juan skills.He held Carol's hand any chance he got.His voice dropped into a Barry White whisper (years before there was a Barry White.)I grew mostly nauseous listening to him telling me how great it was having a girlfriend.I squinted hard without confirmation.The day came finally when he made a bold declaration, "When Carol gets back from summer vacation with her family, I'm going to give her...her first kiss.""You mean, your first kiss, don't you?"The fact he didn't want to say it was enough for me. I KNEW. He was a Romance carpetbagger._____Before Carol left, I sashayed across Parkdale Ave. up to the Brown's house.Carol's mother answered the door."Yes?""Hello, Mrs. Brown. I'm Terry, a friend of Carol's. I was wondering if you'd be kind enough to give her this letter I wrote for her to read after you folks arrive at your destination?"The nice lady gave me a very Mom-like once over.I was tall, slim, not dangerous-looking, blue-eyed, and very polite."What's this all about, if you don't mind my asking?"I scuffed the toe of my shoe against the door jam and looked down at the ground.A real Huckleberry hayseed."I have a crush on your daughter, Mrs. Brown. But--I haven't said anything because of my best friend from across the street, Johnny. He has plans to become Carol's boyfriend--I don't want to be a bad friend. I just...well...I want Carol to have a choice as well as time to think it over without pressure."Carol's mother stood very, very still with her mouth shaped like she was about to whistle. Her brain was ticking away and I could imagine the calculations inside a mother's noggin."Sure. I'll give it to her, Jerry.""Um, it's Terry."_____What was my diabolical plan?I had about as much experience with girls and romance as Johnny did--which is none whatsoever.However,I had maybe one advantage.I had a knack for writing. It was my strong suit.I decided to write--NOT a letter--but a poem.I'd asked Carol's Mom not to give the poem to her daughter until she was settled- when they arrived in Corpus Christi.I was psyching myself up for my first kiss only 30 days away!My sense of wonder was blossoming. It transformed into a thrilling sense of being alive filtering into words. Emotions on paper.Stars punctured the dark leaves with pinpoints of silver light. That evening, I sat on the front porch of my house and listened to the cicada's astounding symphony of buzzing lyricism in the trees surrounding the yard.I was glowing and confident!_____When you're young, a minute is an hour and an hour is a day.If you talk yourself into being in 'love'--and you are waiting on the object of your obsession--a month is a life sentence!This hilarious “romance” was all inside my imagination!By the time Carol Brown returned from vacation some transformations had occurred inside both of us--mostly as the result of internal romantic psychology--and being teenagers...Girls mature faster than boys. Especially THIS boy.This Carol girl was way ahead of me.Fantasy sets the grass on fire. Fantasy burns down the barn.We weren't in love, of course. We were in love with the grand fantasy of being IN LOVE.Which is to say--ignorance is bliss. (Write your own damn cliche').Time crawled.____Johnny and I sat in front of his house.Each of us lost in our dreamworld-- watching for the Brown family's station wagon to appear. THIS was ground zero and D-day. He had no idea what was coming thanks to my Machiavellian treason.Sure enough, the car appeared and chugged up into their driveway up a slow hill. I ducked out. Carol and her family would be exhausted after a long, long drive on the hot Texas freeway in August without air-conditioning. I would lay low and allow Mr. Eager Beaver the disadvantage of bad timing._______It was 1962.Earlier that day, I stood in the shadow of a Chinaberry tree surveilling Johnny as he barged on up like Teddy Roosevelt at San Juan hill. The exhausted travelers emerged from their journey, saggy limbed and sweaty. He plunged in like a puppy at meal time.Whatever he said to the weary, freckled girl with the cute crooked tooth I don't know, I remained across the street standing in the shade.I watched Carol craning her neck and I knew she spotted me. I stepped out into the light with a smile like unveiling an elegant sculpture in her honor.I waved, turned, and walked back into Johnny's house.My idea was to let the Johnny tsunami crash on her shores first and leave all the anticipation and mystery for later.I was dessert:)Johnny would offer to celebrate Carol's return by having a little backyard party at sunset with lanterns and lemonade and a phonograph playing record albums.I had with me only one 45 single to play at exactly the right moment.It was Roy Orbison.____Evening at last.Music filled the humid night air, drowning out the zing of mosquitoes.Johnny's sisters, friends and a few neighbors were dancing in his backyard. Chubby Checkers and THE TWIST was all the rage.Carol was there twisting with my good buddy as I played coy. I was cordial to everybody timing things to the optimum moment.Presently, Johnny wandered into the house... at last.I was a duck on the June bug--appearing by Carol's side magically just as Roy Orbison began his dramatic sonnet to competitive love and angst, RUNNING SCARED."I've been wanting to talk to you all day."Her freckles glistened with moisture. There's nothing like a sweaty Texas girl to start a cowpoke's heart a-thumpin'."Aw, I didn't want to intrude. After all, Johnny saw you first."(Innocent old me.)"I read your poem. It was beautiful. I must have read it a hundred times."(YESSSS!)"Before you left I went off by myself to a quiet spot and thought about things. I found myself writing my feelings and once it started--well, I couldn't stop. When I'd finished, I knew I had to let you read it. I'm too shy to say anything otherwise."(Roy Orbison's amazing vocal was winding upward, like a drumbeat for Comanche attack on a circled wagon train.)"I was hoping you'd ask me to dance." The freckled lips smiled."I couldn't possibly do that.""Why not?"(Wait for it...wait for it...wait for it...)"If I had my arms around you I wouldn't be able to stop myself from kissing you."(Orbison's voice is rising plaintively as the orchestra swells to a majestic turn--a cataclysmic reckoning--seconds from the revealing ending.)“_____MY HEART IS BREAKING, WHICH ONE WOULD IT BE?___”"I've never been kissed before. I was kind of saving it for the end of a perfect date.""Well, what are you doing Saturday? We could go to a movie.""I'd really like that.""I have an idea. There's no reason not to rehearse our kiss, just so-- by the time the end of the date comes around--it will be perfect..."(Orbison knocked it out of the park:)“____YOU TURNED AROUND AND WALKED AWAY WITH ME-e-e-e-e-e___”___I leaned in and planted a real Hollywood smacker on Carol Brown's pink lips exactly the way I'd seen Troy Donahue liplock Suzanne Pleshette in 'ROME ADVENTURE.'___I can close my eyes right now.My teen brain recorded everything in-the-moment and it is permanently etched on some dusty row of neurons in my brain vault. The night, the music, the smell of Emeraude perfume, Roy Orbison's voice, mosquitoes, and the feeling of this freckled blonde's heart pounding against my chest. It’s all there.By the time Johnny came back out of the house (mayonnaise on the corner of his mouth)I had maneuvered troops to the high ground and planted--not the flag--but my lips.Carol and I shared our 'moment' on the side of the house in the shadows, but we were fooling ourselves if we thought we hadn't been seen.Somebody ratted us out to Johnny. He made a big show of unconcern."I'd already made up my mind I wasn't interested in Carol anymore.""Oh. Really? Why is that?"The answer was a long time coming. Come it did."She’s too plain and ordinary."I let that pass, low blow that it was.Over the years yet to come, he’d go out of his way to get back at me. I looked up to him and he could influence me like no other. None of this was malicious as much as it was--as I said before--rivalry. It’s natural among boys. And puppies. And kittens._______As for this freckled girl up the hill?What?I'm embarrassed to say--I actually remember the first line of the sonnet I had written for Carol in that letter. It sure doesn't sound like anything today as I look at it on the page in black and white.--but--I'll set it down for you anyway.______"All things worthwhile are worth waiting for--or so the saying goesBut just how hard it is to wait--that few people knowUnless someone who they miss has gone from them awayAnd they've waited hopelessly throughout each endless day"_______Now, all that nonsense is buried in a half-century or more of dust, dried leaves, and the spinning journey of Mother earth around the sun.Kids trying to be grown up and finding their way...the road we all traveled.Like most fondly remembered moments, these things are important because we made them important by dreaming, imagining, and creating something out of mostly not much at all.Isn’t that what life is for?Creating a possibility for happiness?We frame it all inside a memory.And I--the writer--pour the delicate miracle into words for you to share.______
How did this script for the Andy Griffith show get on here?
How did this script for the Andy Griffith show get on here?
Pretty innocent stuff, eh?
Jehovah's Witness indoctrination came along in my life at an amazing time in American history and it either CHEATED me or PROTECTED me when free sex, drugs, and Rock n' Roll were taking over culture.
I was such an innocent fool.
Am I lucky or horribly unlucky? I don't really know.
I remained a "virgin" until I married a JW girl at age 23.
This is my life and memory. Make of it what you will. :)