Friday, June 27, 2008

The Winding Road Ahead

That thing he had to tell me...I signed up for the Army. I leave after this summer.” He said it but I didn’t really think I heard him correctly. The Army? He is leaving? Leaving soon? I never wanted to run more in my life! Had the car not been moving I would have bolted! I would have RAN all the way down the mountain, across all the towns, and all the way home! My whole body suddenly tensed up. My hand he was holding quickly went ice cold. I didn’t want him to touch me. I wanted him to let go! This couldn’t be right. He seemed so nice. So sweet. So wonderful. My mind was racing. Did he just say he was leaving? Was I just a little play thing for the summer? Was he hoping I would be some sort of last fling before going away in the Army? Was this what he was trying to tell me? How could he think that way of me? Of ME?! I thought he was Mr. Wonderful. A Knight in shining armor. And THIS is what he thought of me?

I couldn’t speak. All I could do was fight tears from escaping my watery eyes. I was thinking… “breath slowly. Don’t let him know he has cut your heart out. Just make it home. Just make it home. Don’t think about it.” I managed to slowly take my hand back and press myself against the passenger door. As far away from him as I could possibly get. I pretended to look out the window at the trees we were passing by. Then I noticed they were passing by faster and faster. I looked ahead and realized Ronnie was speeding down the winding mountain road! His face was so angry I didn’t know what to do! We nearly hit a car going the opposite direction! I grabbed hold of his arm and begged him to slow down! The tears I tried so hard to hold back were streaming down my face as I screamed for him to “Stop the car! Just Stop! You’re scaring me! STOP! Please! Please! Stop!”

We reached the bottom of the mountain and he finally stopped the car. I was crying frantically. He held me tightly, apologizing for scaring me and making me cry. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I didn’t want to have to tell you. The past few months have been the best of my life. I’m so sorry. I‘m so sorry.” I clung to him until I could catch my breath and regain some of my composure. With my face still buried in his shoulder and I was sure he had calmed down, I said so quietly, that I wasn’t sure I said anything at all “I want to go home. Please…Please. Take me home.”

During the twenty minute drive to my house I let him hold my hand. He said nothing. I said nothing. When we were close to my house I thought “This is the guy I have gone head over heels for and all he thinks of me is some summer fling? I wont see him again after tonight. I wont talk to him every again. I wont hear his voice… ever again. How could I have been so blind?” As soon as he pulled up beside my house I flung the passenger door open. I knew I wasn’t suppose to use that door but I just had to get away! My heart was breaking in to a million pieces and I want to get as far away from him as possible.

He quickly caught up to me as I reached the front steps. He tried to kiss me but I wouldn’t let him. He begged me to say something. “Say anything. I‘m sorry. I‘m so sorry.” I could tell he was crying as he gripped my arms tightly, but I just couldn’t. I couldn’t even look at him. He pushed my chin up with his finger so I was facing him but I kept my eyes closed. I was on the brink of bursting into tears so I pushed him away, opened the door and ran up to my room. I heard the squeal of his tires as he drove away. I threw myself on my bed and cried. Oh how I cried. I cried until I was physically ill.

I woke up the next morning but I couldn’t manage to get out of bed. I just laid there. Thinking what an awful person I must seem from the outside for someone to think those things of me. Eventually I started to wonder if this was something other people thought of me? Why?! Why would anyone think that of me? I didn’t want to see anyone or talk to anyone. My Mother didn’t know what had happened but she tried to coax me out of bed with food. I didn’t want to eat anything. I felt like my life was over. If people actually thought that way about me I would just have to stay in my room. Forever.

Ronnie called half a dozen times and finally I agreed to talk to him. After racking my brain trying to think of what would make him or anyone think I was that kind of girl? Well, I wanted an answer. When I picked up the phone he spoke in a chocked up voice which made my eyes swell up with tears but I was determined to be calm. “Please don’t hang up on me. Please, please listen to what I have to say.” Silently choking back my own tears I waited to hear what he had to say. “I signed up for the Army before I met you. Before I knew you. If I had known that I would meet the most wonderful girl in the world I would have never joined up. I swear. {pausing to regain his voice} Meeting you was the best thing that has ever happened in my life. I knew… I know. I know, I should have told you sooner but I was being selfish. I was afraid of loosing you. Afraid you wouldn’t talk to me. Please. Don’t hate me. Please. Forgive me. You don’t even have to go out with me any more. Just please still talk to me. That’s all I need, is for you to say you will still talk to me.”

I paused to take a deep breath. I didn’t want to cry. Through sobbing breaths all I could manage was “So was I just a summer fling for you?” “No. No, Heather. You are not some fling for me. I didn’t know I was going to fall in love with you. I love you. I DO love you. I am so in love with you that it makes me crazy. I’m so crazy in love with you. That is why it hurt so much to tell you. About the Army and me. I don’t want to loose you.” I couldn’t speak at all. What if it was just a game? He didn’t sound like he was playing a game. He was really hurting. He was hurting just as much as I was. How could he be hurting like this? He was the one who made this choice. He knew about this the whole time.

“Please don’t shut me out. Everyone told me to tell you but I just couldn’t bring myself to. I wanted to keep you for myself. I wanted to spend time with you. Talking with you is like living in a dream. The Army doesn‘t matter. Nothing matters when I‘m with you. Everything in life is better because I am near you. I couldn‘t think of anything to do. To say. I enjoy our time together so much I didn‘t want to think about it ending.”

Still not knowing what to think I said nothing. I held my breath for a few minutes trying not to cry. I said nothing. Just listened. “Please give me another chance. Please still go out with me. {pause} You can still see other people.” In my mind that meant WE can still see other people and I went from upset to utter shock! He just said he loved me and now “We can see other people?!” While trying to keep it together I softly, half crying said “Well, you can see who ever you want. You can go out with a million girls before you head out to the Army. I’ll be fine. Don’t worry about me.” I could hear him crying on the other end. I felt myself drifting away into an unfamiliar fog. I was growing numb. I took a deep breath, gathered courage that I never knew I had and said in the warmest, calmest ’there, there’ voice I use for toddlers in Sunday school….“You will be fine too. I need to wash my hair. I wish you all the best.” I could hear him saying “No! No! That’s not what I meant.” “Good bye Ronnie. I do wish you the very best of everything.” I hung up.

I was worn out by all my crying but I had resolved that I wasn’t going to stay in my room any more. Ok, I was off the phone so I told myself that I could have a few minutes more to cry in my room, then I would take my shower. Just as I was walking to the bathroom the door bell rang. I knew it wouldn’t be Ronnie since I just hung up the phone and he lived in the next town over. I hoped it was one of my friends so I could cry on their shoulder. I desperately needed a hug. I needed someone to hold on to, to comfort me and assure me that everything would be ok.

I ran down the stairs and flung open the door. There was Ronnie. Bowing and teary eyed at my front door with a large bouquet of pink roses. “Please. Don’t shut me out. I couldn’t stand it if you hated me.” I don’t know what came over me. Deep down inside I felt that he meant every word. I rushed to him and threw my arms around his neck. He held me and stroked my hair until I stopped crying. While sobbing into his shoulder and clinging tightly to him I said “I don’t want to see anyone else. I don’t want to see other guys. My heart doesn’t work that way. I just want to be with you.” Ronnie was crying too “Heather, believe me. I don’t want to see anyone else. There is no one else but you. I thought it was only fair to you, to let you see other people. I never meant to hurt you. I never want you to hurt, ever. I’m so sorry. Meeting you was the best thing that ever happened to me. I never want to let you go.” “Ronnie? Are you crying?” “No, no. It must be my allergies.” I tried to pull back just enough to see his face but he pulled me close, nuzzled into my neck and quietly said “never. let. go.”

Eventually, we both wiped our tears and smiled. We would make it through the summer. We both felt we couldn’t do anything else. We just had to be with each other. No matter what. Come what may…

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

There's Something I Need To Tell You...

Ronnie was a senior which meant his classes were over and it was time for him and his pals to have Senior Week in Ocean City. In the mean time I was still a Junior so I still had classes to attend. He called me a few times from a pay phone while he was in Ocean City. Nothing but parties and girls in bikinis. “Girls wearing hardly anything are coming up to talk to me and all I can think of how much I want to see you.” It was so sweet of him to call and reassure me he wasn’t straying. My Mother didn’t think so much of his slurred calls after 10 p.m. His friends tried to keep his spirits up as it would only be a few more days until he saw me again. Everyone who knew Ronnie, knew he was being honest. He couldn’t help it. That is just the way he was.

Sometime between Senior week and Ronnie’s graduation we went to a Walkersville Senior party under a bridge near a cornfield. I remember sitting down next to Ronnie around a camp fire when one of his classmates walked up, shook his hand hardily and said something about wishing him luck and no matter where he was sent they would always be the best of friends. Ronnie quickly stopped him from saying anything more. I looked at Ronnie quizzically, expecting him to explain but he waved it off as though the guy had been drinking too much.

Although Ronnie and I went to many parties he made sure no one gave me anything but Sprite. He was not about to explain to my parents why I smelled like alcohol. A few people did manage to hand me a drink now and then but Ronnie always took it away before I even had a sip.

A few days later we were at his house in the middle of the day. Ronnie had to stop by his house to pick up something. After a quick run into the house he appeared back at the kitchen door apparently trying to get out before I could figure out what his Mom was arguing with him about. She was saying something on the lines of “You better tell her. It’s only fair. It’s the right thing to do.” He saw the look on my face, quickly shut the door with a “yeah, yeah, I know. I will.” I really had no idea what was going on. Ronnie got back into the car, smiled and kissed me so I thought nothing of it at the time and we rushed off to where ever we were going. Since it was the middle of the day it was likely we were heading out to Cunningham Falls or a park somewhere to meet either his friends or my friends.

One night Ronnie picked me up from work and instead of one of the many parties or gatherings of friends we went to Cunningham Falls. Just the two of us to watch the sunset. There was something he wanted to tell me. Well, he didn’t want to tell me but he knew he had to tell me. I tried to put him at ease by being silly but that just made him more uncomfortable and a bit angry. “I have to tell you this. Let me just say this. Let me get it out.” {pause for a big breath, shaking of his head and then another big breath} “I don’t know how I’m going to tell you.” With that I sort of slunk off to the opposite side of the front seat. He was never cross with me before and I was a little afraid of what he might say next. Was he going to say that he cannot see me again? Then, I remembered his Mom arguing with him. So there we were. He was about to drop a big bomb and I wanted to run. But I didn’t. I just sat there. Frozen.

He started to say something but his voice cracked. He turned on the car and started to drive down the mountain. He saw that I was afraid so he asked me to come closer so he could hold my hand. This didn’t look good. I was afraid but I really wanted him to hold my hand. I thought I would be safe if he just held my hand. He wouldn’t look at me so I turned to look at the winding road ahead…

Crazy For You ....Tired of the Soap Opera?

This is not my usual posts to my blog but for the past three weeks straight I haven't been able to stop thinking about all of this. I believe if I write it all out maybe I can get back to the present.

Sometime soon I will write about my Vacation...hopefully this week.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Your Prom is on the same night as mine?!


Well, time went on and prom was coming. Yes, Ronnie asked me to the prom! We met in April and the prom was in May. Not many days had passed but again this is teenage world. It felt like we had known each other forever. I picked out a dress at the local Casual Corner, put it on layaway and paid on it with my own paycheck each week. My Mom offered to make me a dress but after I saw the pattern she picked out. Well, lets just say I didn’t want to look exactly like Laura Ingles on Prom Night. I saw the cutest cotton woven flats so I bought them to go with my supper lacy dress. They came with cotton laces that were to be worn wrapped around your legs but I replaced them with pink satin ribbon. I didn’t need flats as Ronnie was taller than I. Finding any shoes to fit my size 4 feet that would match my dress proved to be a bit difficult.

My dress had big puffy short sleeves made of white lace hearts, the skirt alternated in pink and white satin panels with white lace hearts as an over skit. The most difficult item to find was a draw string hoop skirt or crinoline slip with a small enough waist! I was only 98 pounds. I picked Casual Corner since at that time not many stores offered the “We only sell one dress for each school during prom season. We want you to be the only girl at your Prom with your dress.” My mother did have to take the dress in quit a bit. It was a size 4 but it was still way to big for me before the alterations.

“What? Your Prom is on the same night as mine?!” We decided it was possible to attend both proms. We would make it work…some how.

The night of prom Ronnie was running late so his Mom called to say not to worry, he was on his way. A few minutes later he arrived and my parents took photos. The corsage Ronnie picked out for me was made of pink roses. I loved the smell and from that day on pink roses became my favorite flower. After my parents took a million photos of us we were ready to head over to his parents house for another round of camera flashes.

I was a little surprised that Ronnie didn’t bring his own car with him. To me the car did not matter. I was thrilled to be going to the prom with my Knight. He explained there was a bee in his car so he had to use his Mom’s car, a Dodge Dart, to pick me up. Ronnie knew I was deathly afraid of bees. He assured me over and over again that we would take his car to the prom after he was sure the bee is removed. I didn’t care if we walked to the prom, I was going with Ronnie and I was the happiest girl in the world.

We arrived at Ronnie’s house and his Mom was all teary eyed. She loved my dress and admired my very large corsage. Soon Ronnie’s best friends, Jim Puhl and Matt came over with their prom dates. I was surprised to see that their dates were from my high school as well. Karen Line was Jim’s date and Matt’s date was a sophomore I had seen from time to time. I was even more surprised when the sophomore took off her wrap. She was wearing the same dress! We had the same exact dress on! Not only would there be another girl at my prom with the same dress but she will be at the same table at dinner, BOTH proms AND she was a sophomore. Ok, none of that should matter but I did buy my dress at Casual Corner for a reason. Apparently, she purchased her dress in the next state trying to avoid the same issue. I tried to be cheerful about the “happy” coincidence but Ronnie and his mother realized this was an unfortunate incident and each assured me that it looked far better on me. I didn’t wear mine with the neck line pulled down around my shoulders. My Mom also added a satin sash around the waist (to hid all the adjustments to the waist).

After we were all officially blinded by camera flashes, Ronnie and I hugged and kissed his Mom. Arms linked together each couple headed out the door to dinner at The Bull restaurant on Market Street in downtown Frederick. We girls looked over the menus and each decided on the chicken. The boys each made some sort of groaning noise. Ronnie was the first to say “Chicken? Why chicken? That is the cheapest thing on the menu. You can have anything you want. We can afford it!” We girls glanced around at each other and still said “Chicken.” Ronnie made it clear that his prom date was not going to eat chicken for dinner. Finally, I spoke up. “Well, I know what the chicken is. The rest of this, well… I don’t want to end up with snails or something gross.” Ronnie laughed! When he finally caught his breath he went over the menu with me and told me what each item was. This is the night I discovered Filet Minong. At this point I was slowly realizing that I had lead a very sheltered life. My goodness I still hugged and kissed my parents when I came in and when I left the house. Ronnie also did this and he was a senior but he knew what all the items on the menu were.

We went to the Walkersville Prom first as the boys were Seniors, then we headed over for the last bit of Governor Thomas Johnson Prom. Ronnie said how sorry he was that we spent so much time at his prom but I completely understood. It was his Senior Prom after all. I only wanted to make an appearance at my Prom with my Knight, show him off a bit on the dance floor then leave. I do have to say that Ronnie took very good care of me at his prom. I only knew a hand full of people who went to Walkersville High School and very few of them were at the prom. Ronnie made sure I was always by his side and introduced me with great pleasure to his friends. You could tell everyone liked Ronnie , not only by the way they greeted him. It showed even in how they greeted me. They gave me such a warm welcome despite the fact I was from a rival school.

The enviable happened while at our Prom. Karen and I couldn’t wait any longer…we had to use the ladies room. If you have seen the movie 27 Dresses you know how big ballroom/ wedding dresses and bathroom situations work. Someone you trust has to hold the masses of your skirt. My dress was the big puffy type. Karen was a real dear and helped me out. Unfortunately, Karen’s dress was a very sleek, form fitting dress which did look absolutely fabulous on her. The problem was, well, I couldn’t help her in the same way. She had to actually take her dress off in order to use the facilities. I did hold her dress on the other side of the stall, to save it from touching the bathroom floor. From that day forward I never wore a form fitting gown for two reasons…one I was far to itty bitty and second, I really didn’t want to be nekkid in the ladies room.

After both proms were over Jim and Ronnie took Karen and I over to Jim’s house to wait for the sunrise. The boys explained it was tradition to watch the sunrise before going home after the Prom. So we waited for sunrise in Jim’s paneled basement listening to the guys tell us jokes and entertain us with stories of their youth together.

Karen and I were a little apprehensive about staying all night with the guys. Not that they had done anything for us to think they were bad boys, just the thought of being alone with boys. All. Night. Long. We made a pact not to be out of each other’s sight for even a moment. Yes, they tried once or twice but didn’t push the issue when they saw us grasp each others hands tightly. They then realized there was a girl pact in place.

After we watched the sunrise Ronnie took me home. My make up was in desperate need of repair, my delicate shoes were ruined by the dewy grass and my hair was wind blown. Still, as I sat next to him, my arm wrapped around his free arm, our fingers entwined and my head on resting on his shoulder, I felt like a Princess riding off with her Prince. He walked me to my door and ever so graciously bowed, kissed my hand. With one swift movement he dipped me looked in to my eyes then kissed me, Wow! What a kiss! Just as I thought he was going to walk away he grasped my hand, pulled me close then kissed me again. I was exhausted from dancing and lack of sleep but not quit ready to fall asleep. My head was spinning. I hung up my dress and tried to remember every detail of the night. Especially that kiss. Oh my. He really knew how to make my knees weak.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I want you to meet someone

A few days later Ronnie picked me up in the afternoon. He was so happy. I remember he was smiling just a bit too much so I asked him where he was taking me. “To lunch. At my house.” Okay, did that smile mean we were going to be alone in his house? I was getting a little nervous. I was afraid I wouldn’t know how to act and my idea of a pleasant afternoon was not saying “No,!” for an hour or so. I had heard stories about what guys wanted when you were alone with them. I have even slapped a few guys in our front room with my parents close by in the next room.

Well, I asked him what was with the permanent smile. “I want you to meet my Mom.” What?! Meet his mother? I left my make up at home! I couldn’t find my hair brush in my purse and my hair was whipping around in the car due to the windows being down. I begged him to take me home so I could change into something nicer. I didn’t want to meet his Mom for the first time looking like, like…THIS! He laughed and told me that I had to get use to the idea, she was going to see me just as I was. “You look fine. I swear! She will love you. I just know it.” He saw the doubtful and pouty expression on my face then said “Well, if she doesn’t then I will just disown her.” Ok that made me laugh but I was still a bundle of nerves. I don’t remember exactly what I was wearing but for my usual every day attire, you could find me wearing a pair of white canvas Keds tennis shoes, light blue jeans and a long sleeved white cotton blouse. Yes, even in the summer. I was self conscious about my arms. I was very fair skinned and thin.

When we reached his house I tried to convince him to let me just stay in the car and do this another day. He laughed as he pulled me out of the car. I was so nervous I walked like a stiff mannequin. He had to practically drag me up to the kitchen door. He stepped into the kitchen but my feet were firmly planted in the carport cement. I heard his Mom let out a little scream as she was surprised to see him home. Apparently, he didn’t tell her about his plans for us to meet either. “Mom, I want you to meet someone.” With that he gave one quick, hard tug and I was pulled from the carport into the kitchen.

She let out another little scream as her hands clasped the sides of her face. “Ronnie! I can’t believe you would do this to me!” She was smiling from ear to ear and her words came out as laughter. “I look a mess! Really, I don’t always look like this. Honestly. Why didn’t you tell me?! Well, come in, come in.” The warm glow of her smile made me like her immediately. She held out her hand to shake mine but I wanted to hug her instead. So I did. She seemed really pleased with this greeting and started talking as though she had known me forever. I told her that he ambushed me as well and we all had a good laugh.

She had us stay for lunch, tomato soup. When asked why I wasn’t eating I explained that I was waiting for it to cool off a little. Ronnie took one of the ice cubes out of his glass and dropped it in my bowl of soup! “Why did you do that to my soup?!” I had never seen anyone put ice in soup before. Ronnie and his Mom laughed. She asked me, “What do you do to cool off hot soup?” I thought everyone did it the same way so I didn’t hesitate when I said “We pour a little cold milk in it.” Another round of laughter but Mrs. Leadore assured me many people do a great many things differently. “You learn something new every day.” She was wonderful, bubbly and really put me at ease. I could see where Ronnie got his calming effect from.

Then there came the usual questions…Where are you from? - “The East Coast. I am a Navy Brat. I was born in Puerto Rico.” Is your Mom from there? “No, she is from Scotland. They had a whirl wind dating process and after two weeks decided they were destined to be together.” How are you liking the schools here? - “It is always an adjustment but this is the first time I have encountered so many people who have lived in the same place all of their lives.”

Ronnie’s little sister MaryAnn was so cute you just wanted to pick her up, put her in your pocket and keep her forever and ever. This little blonde cutie with her wavy pony tails climbed right up in Ronnie’s lap. He tickled her until she slid down his leg and on to the floor. She clung to his leg for a few minutes. He was so wonderful with her that you could see how much they loved each other. “I’m going to marry Ronnie some day. He is the best boy ever.” His second oldest sister, Angie, came in carrying books and had the ease of speaking like a grown woman. She very politely said hello to me then started talking about summer programs that would expand her mind. Then there was Gina, the oldest daughter. She was trying to grow up and her Mom wanted her to stay a little girl. Gina always had on some wonderfully fashionable outfit. Mrs. Leadore mentioned something about her outfit and Ronnie sort of rolled his eyes as if this was a never ending battle between the two. Gina gave a blank statement about her outfit and how most girls her age were wearing very revealing clothing and her’s was far from that. She gave me a hug then sat down at the table next me. Everything she wore looked cutting edge. I also met their dog, Sandy. She was a beautiful, golden cocker spaniel but my goodness her bark sounded like she would tear you limb from limb. Everyone laughed as I pulled my feet up in fear. It turned that out she was a really sweet old gal. Then it was time to go.

I thanked Mrs. Leadore for lunch and gave her big hug before we left. On our way to Ronnie‘s car he said “See, it wasn’t that bad now was it? I told you she would like you. I just knew you two would get along right away.” He was right. Later that night on the phone he told me that his Mom really liked me. “She told Dad that you were such a tiny little thing, so cute, sweet and polite. She also thinks you have the biggest most beautiful brown eyes. I have to agree. I love your eyes.”

Friday, June 13, 2008


Ronnie called me nearly every evening from then on. The week pasted by slowly. The weekend seemed like it would never get here! After nightly phone calls Ronnie asked if he could come over. I quickly agreed. It was all set. He would come over Saturday afternoon.

Remember Jimmy? The boyfriend I broke up with the previous weekend? I had instructed my mother to say I was out if he called. Well, Jimmy did call quite a few times too. My Mom felt sorry for him so the next time he called she said I had to talk with him. We talked. I told him it was all for the best and how getting married so young scared me. He agreed to back off on the subject of marriage but ten minutes later he mentioned something about what our future would be like. He even had the church for our wedding picked out! I was trying to let him down easy but enough is enough. I told him I had to go, wished him all the best in life and I hung up.

Do you know that rule about hanging up on people? The rule is that you should NEVER hang up on someone. Especially a guy. A guy who wants to get back together with you.

I went about my day with great anticipation. Ronnie was coming over! I was going to see him again! I could hardly wait. I must have brushed my hair a million times.

What seemed like an eternity later … the door bell rang and ran to the door! “I got it!” I didn’t even look out the window before opening the door. My whole face dropped. My heart almost stopped. No, it wasn’t Ronnie. It was Jimmy and his friend Billy. Jimmy came to beg me to take him back. Instead of inviting him in I sat him down on the front steps to talk, hoping all the while he would leave before Ronnie comes over.

Jimmy asked “Did you do it because there is someone else?” No, that wasn’t the reason. I broke up with Jimmy two days before I met Ronnie. I had no interest in meeting or dating anyone when we broke up. Ronnie just swept me off my feet. Ok, two days is not a long time grieve over a break up but I wasn’t exactly upset about the break up. True, we dated for a year but I was only 16 years old! At that time of my life waiting 2 minutes for one of my siblings to get off the phone was an eternity. So, two days was more than an enough time to say it was over in teenage girl world. Sad isn’t it?

Ok, so there we were on my front porch steps, Jimmy, Billy and me. Then the unthinkable happened. Ronnie drove up. The look on his face as he walked towards us said he was not happy. Before he reached us Jimmy asked “Who is this guy? Is this the guy you dumped me for?” I don’t remember what I said but it might have been something like he was a friend of my brother’s and if I started to cry he would beat the tar out of you then ask questions later. Given the muscle looking car Ronnie was driving this seemed feasible. Jimmy left in a huff squealing his wheels but at least he left.

Ronnie reached the front steps and asked who that was and if I was ok. I said I was ok but I am sure I didn’t look like I was ok. My face could not hide how I felt. I don’t remember if I told Ronnie that Jimmy was an ex-boyfriend trying to get me back or if I played it safe and said he was one of my brother’s friends.

Yeah, that was a REALLY awkward moment in my life but later I would find out it was not to be the last nor the most awkward moment of my life.

Ronnie wasn’t staying long as he did have to work that day. He just wanted to stop by, say hello and give me a flower. How sweet! I also had to work later that day. This was all brand new and I really didn’t know this guy yet. Due to this I decided not to invite him in to my house. Instead I played it safe by taking a little walk just up the street and back. We chatted about school, work, and things we liked to do in our spare time.

Not only did I work in the catalog section of Montgomery Wards, I was transitioning to the Credit Card payment center and the cash office. At the end of the night all the cashiers would bring their register bags to me and then they could leave. I, on the other hand, had to stay in lock-down with the rest of the Cash Office crew until ever register was balanced to the penny. Eventually, we found the missing penny/nickel/whatever and were free to go home. This sometimes took a few hours which meant it was pretty late when I walked to my car in the nearly deserted parking lot. Even though I was not completely alone and my co-workers did wait to see me safely in my car before leaving themselves…I was still a bit afraid. That night Ronnie happily surprised me by waiting at my car! My co-worker, who had never seen him before, were about to call the police! “No! It’s ok. I know him. Really, I do.”

He asked if I wanted to grab something to eat or just go somewhere and talk. Part of me really wanted to go with him but another part of me didn’t want to have my keys taken away for coming home late. We stood beside my car and talked for a few minutes. He wanted to know if I would be at Players the next night and if I would save him a few dances. Of course I was going, my friends I went every Sunday night. As for saving the dances, I was sort of hoping to dance all the slow dances with him. Oh well, maybe he didn’t want all of my slow dances. He said he would call me tomorrow as he helped me into my car. I smiled and waved as I drove away. I sighed and thought how nice it was of him to be there, standing at my car. For once I didn’t have to rush to my car late at night, afraid.

Sunday night, after much primping, prodding, trying on each others clothes, over heating curling irons, a dab here and there of Dep gel and so on… my girl friends and I were finally ready. We all piled into one car and headed out to Players. We liked to get there early before the line started as this was the only way to secure a table.

Ronnie and his friends sat at a table next to ours so we could chat. A few of my friends were interested in his friends but the feeling was not mutual. Oh well, Ronnie and I were happy so they had to at least be polite to each other. Even though our friends bumped heads many times they thought Ronnie and I were a perfect couple. All of my slow dances were saved just for Ronnie. I didn’t want to dance with anyone else.

After that night at Players Ronnie deiced to ask me out on a date. Not meeting up somewhere, or running into each other. An actual date where he would pick me up, take me out and then bring me home. I was excited and a little nervous. I didn’t really know this guy and he was going to take me “somewhere?”

During our first few dates, well several of our first dates I was a little unsure about going out with someone I barely knew but I really liked him. To make myself feel more at ease I recruited a chaperone, Giggles. She was more than happy to come along. She loved being included. She let us hold hands and such but kept Ronnie in check. Ok, she kept us both in check and made sure everything was PG rated. She even sat between us in the car. As she said later “You would have so freaked out if it wasn’t.” She was right.

That first night when Ronnie came to pick me up I don’t think he realized that he had to meet my parents before they would allow me to leave with him. My Mom laughed but there was real meaning in her words “Do you think we could let a stranger drive off with our little girl?” He survived. It wasn’t really all that bad considering what other guys had sat through before. My parents liked him right away but they wanted to put a little bit of fear in him.

As I walked up to the passenger side of Ronnie’s car quickly steered me to the Driver’s side. As he opened the door he explaining that his passenger door doesn’t shut right so he doesn’t open it. His car had a front bench seat so it was manageable for me to just slide over. Ronnie quickly got in the car and apologized over and over about the passenger door. He slid in so fast I thought he did this on purpose since I had not reached the other side of the seat yet. Maybe he did it so I would be sitting closer to him. Later on I found out he was telling the truth about the passenger door and admitted that he slid in before I could go any further so I would be closer to him. The engine had real power to it which meant I had to hold on to his arm so I wouldn’t slid around on the seat! We were off to pick up Giggles’ at her house.

At the end of each night, Ronnie always dropped Giggles off first then took me straight home. I don’t know if it was Giggles’ influence and constant warning of “If you hurt her we will hunt you down” or he just had some gentlemanly inclinations but after nearly two weeks of dating every night he still hadn’t kiss me. I was starting to get a complex. Ok, I have told guys before they were not going to kiss me on the first few dates but this was more than two weeks of seeing him every night. Maybe he didn’t want to kiss me?! I confided in my girl friends. “What? He hasn’t even kissed you yet? Like ever? What’s up with that?” or “Oh honey, maybe there is something wrong with him. He seems really nice though.” “Maybe he’s just shy.” What ever the reason was I still wanted to go out with him. We always had a great time and he made me feel wonderful and special even without kissing me. He made my heart pitter patter. All he had to do was look at me and I would smile, giggle a little then feel my cheeks growing pink. I was definitely smitten.

One night while standing at my front door I was expecting a hug but he placed his left hand on the side of my face, I smiled up at him knowing I had a wonderful time just being with him. He, ever so slowly ran his fingers down my neck. My head tilted up unconsciously and just as I was about to giggle from the tickling effect of his gentle fingers, he kissed me. He said something in a sort of whisper but I couldn’t make out what it was. My knees went completely weak and I slunk into his arms. I think I whispered “Oh my” and “W-o-w” It was all I could manage to say. I couldn’t even stand up on my own two feet. I looked up dreamily into his eyes and saw he was completely at ease. He finally propped me up on my own legs and I sort of swayed to and fro for a minute before I some what regained my composure. I remember running my fingers through my hair and saying something like “Um, uh, yeah, I think I should be going now.” I almost walked right in to my Mother’s flower bed instead of the door. He quickly redirected me to the doorway and I said “Um, ok. Well, then. I will see you later.” or something like that. I closed the front door behind me and leaned against it while smiling and taking deep breaths. “Wow.”

One month passed by, Ronnie and I saw each other as much as was humanly possible. If we weren’t together we were at school, work or sleeping. We called each other every single day. We talked so long that my mother started placing a kitchen timer by the phone “Fifteen minutes young lady.” It didn’t take her long to realize I was pushing the timer back a few times. My siblings and even my Dad were trying to talk Mom into getting me my own “Ronnie line” (aka my own phone line).

After many dates with our chaperone Ronnie said “I like Giggles and all but don’t you think we have reached a point where her duties might not be so necessary? Come on, don’t you trust me?” Giggles later asked me where we three were heading that night? I had to break the news to her. Ronnie and I were going to start going out on dates …alone. She was bummed but understood.

Ronnie's Car was a Plymouth Duster.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

It all started on April 1, 1985.

I was a Junior in high school, out with my girlfriends at a local under 21 dance club called Players. It was the kind of place where everyone knew your name. We went as a group every Sunday night. My best friends (Giggles, Huggles, Dizzy-D, Kay-Kay, Flic) and I (Cuddles) were Lefty’s Angles. Who is Lefty? Well, he was the DJ and he always played our requests. He even let us in the DJ booth with him. Yes, really, those were the nick names we gave ourselves. When passing notes in high school you really don’t want your name written on one that might have held private details accidently fall into the wrong hands.

That night I was mad at some boy from Walkersville, I think his name was Brian. He had been hitting on me for about a week or two. Not just a little bit but way-over-the-top hitting on me. It was extremely annoying! My friends and I met him at a Hall and Oats concert where he loaned me his lettermen’s jacket. He took off before I could give it back. This was his plan to make sure I had to see him again. He knew someone at my school who passed his phone number on to me. I called him to find out when and where I could drop off his jacket. Back then we didn’t have Caller ID but we did have *67. This feature would allow you to hear the phone number of the last incoming call. This is how he got my number. Anyway, the jacket was returned and I did not go out with him. He did call a few times but only enough to irritate me.

Any time he came near me at Players I backed him off with the ‘stare of death’ so he would know I meant what I said. In the beginning I tried to be nice but he was persistent and ignored the fact that I repeatedly said “No. I have a boyfriend!” I was not in the mood to deal with guys that night. In addition to seeing Brian at Players, I broke up with my current boyfriend, Jimmy just two days ago.

Jimmy explained that his mother thought he was getting too serious over one girl and we were much too young for that. Apparently, he told his mother his future plans were to finish high school (he went to Frederick High), join the Air Force and marry me right away. His idea to please his mother was for us to see other people. I readily agreed but added that we should take a break. His reaction “Break up! No! That’s not what I meant!” I liked Jimmy but I was not ready to marry him. That was way too serious for 16 year old me. Then there was the issue of you-know-what. He thought since he had proclaimed his love, proposed and had our whole future planned out then it was ok for us to ‘do the deed.’ I was so NOT going to do THAT! I couldn’t even say the word let alone do THAT. No Way! No How! Not a chance! That was Gross! I could say Marriage and Husband and Wife but I still couldn’t say THAT word. What business did I have getting married?

Back to that night at Players - I was a little wisp of a girl so basically anything I wore was cute. I couldn’t pull off sexy to save my life but then again, I preferred cute. I had on little black flats, little Bobbie socks, a black mini skirt (not really all that mini), a white - long sleeved - cotton blouse with a long light blue sweater vest with dark blue stitched edges. All topped off with a cute navy blue, brimmed straw hat. This was my ‘Buster Brown’ hat. In the days where a paisley top and stripped pants were fashionable - together. Well, I was still a bit of a traditionalist when it came to my matching my outfits. I even had a white Swatch watch. Why? For me, even my watch had to be something that traditionally matched anything I might wear.

For some reason people were drawn to my silly hat. Everyone wanted to try it on or try to run off with it. My friends trying on my hat was okay by me but when guys took off with it in an attempt to make me chase them…that was so not cool. “I’ll give you back your hat if you dance with me.” This was not the night for guys to be messing with me or my hat! Good thing we had tall, strong, ever so sweet and lovable David around. He made sure to bring back my hat. But only if I would let him wear it for a little bit. Okay he was a big silly dude. At least I didn’t have to chase after my hat.

Players was a bit of a ‘meat market’ but I felt safe. I had my bestest friends - Lefty’s Angles and my group of guy pals. These were guys I knew from school or church or they were friends with one of my brothers. Some how I established a rule that I would never date a guy from my own school. If they were not from my school then they knew my brothers. It is never ok to date your friend’s sister. Ever. Everyone knew the rules so it was really safe to say that they had no chance of being more than friends. Thus the pressure was off on both sides which allowed us all to have fun clowning around together. My guy pals were also very quick to stand up and be big-brotherly when a guy they didn’t know approached me.

A few times that night I was caught … well, sulking. I was trying to convey my “I hate all men” attitude. This made my guy pals determined to cheer me up. Which lead to a couple of them taking turns literally carrying me to the dance floor kicking and screaming. “Hey! People might see my …my underwear! My hat! You made me drop my hat!” Ok, they did eventually make me laugh about it all and I started to have a really great time.

Eventually, my girl friends and I spotted a group of three guys standing together. Each of them had on a button down shirt, tie and black jacket or coat. One we were sure was gay, one looked like a GQ model and the third guy…he seemed like a guy you could sit by the fire with and everything in the world would be calm and peaceful. He was the Knight in shining armor.

Then I remembered that I hate all men. Why? It was my day to hate all men forever. I was 16 and I was suppose to hate all men every other third day. Right? Also, if a guy had not pissed me off then chances were that a guy had pissed off one of my friends. I had to support my friends right?

After tearing up the dance floor with my friends I decided to put my feet up and take a little break. At our table I ordered a glass of water (only $1 but we thought it was outrageous at the time). Then I noticed that “third guy”, the “Knight” had walked past the table a few times. Where was my group? Where were my guy pals? Just as I was realizing that I was at the table unprotected…Huggles came to the table. She was out of breath but excited and bursting with some good news she just had to tell me!

Before I knew what had happened the “Knight” had walked up to me, very graciously asked if I would dance with him and I actually said Yes! “Did I just agree to dance with that guy? Was it the Knight?” But…I… it was my night to hate all men! Why did I say Yes?

It was the debonair way he asked, not just the normal “Would you dance with me?” I really wish I could remember exactly what he said but I was under his spell. He lead me to the dance floor, put my hands at his shoulders and his at my waist. At first we kept a good distance between us. Due to the large crowds the heat in that place was a bit over whelming. Plus, the fact my hat would have cut into his neck. Eventually, my hat slipped back and my head was resting just below his shoulder. He made the world calm and peaceful, just like I thought he would. We talked a bit while we danced. My Knight’s name was Ronnie Leadore. He was a Senior at Walkersville High School and played on the high school soccer team. The second song came to an end and he thanked me for the dance.

Of course I had to report immediately to my table of friends. They were anxiously awaiting all the details on this new guy who managed to get me out on the dance floor during a slow dance. Without their approval no less. There was squealing and giggles from my girl friends. Giggles reminded us to act our ages. Of course there were a few “You let us know if you want us to take care of him” from my guy pals.

During what was left of the night I danced with my friends, giggled about this and that. Ronnie and his friends would dance in their own little circle next to ours. Time and again Ronnie and I would join the two circles by dancing with each other. When a slow song would come on Ronnie made sure to be close by. Sometimes another guy would reach me first and I would start to make up some story along the lines of “my feet hurt” then my Knight would come and rescue me.

Before we knew it, it was time to go. I had to get out of there quickly since I didn’t want to miss my curfew. On my way out Ronnie asked for my phone number. I did want him to call me but it didn’t seem right to give out my number to someone I had just met. I noticed Brian was standing with Ronnie and his friends. When I asked how they knew each other Ronnie said they were giving Brian a lift home. After all, they were all Walkersville boys. Knowing how Brian wouldn’t want to give up my number I said “Brian knows my number” and I ran out the door with my friends. Well, if he wanted my number surely he should have to work a little for it.

I made it home in time to beat my curfew. Just as I was ready for bed the phone rang. A moment later my mother yelled up the stairs that the phone was for me. I thought it was one of my friends calling to make plans for tomorrow. To my great surprise it was Ronnie! He explained that he had to rough-up Brian a bit before he would cough up my number. He also assured me there were no broken limbs or life threatening injuries.

We talked until 1 a.m. It was wonderful just talking to him. We didn’t talk about any one thing in particular, just talked. During the phone call I found out he worked at Murphy’s Mart in the sporting goods section. I told him I worked at Montgomery Wards in the catalog section. We exchanged information on how many brothers and sisters we have. I have one sister and two brothers. He has three little sisters.

Of course both of our Moms tried to get us off the phone several times. My Mom finally had enough. She stood at my bedroom door, tapping her foot saying “If he really likes you he can call at a decent hour. What sort of boy calls at this time of night? Do you want him to wonder what kind of girl talks to a boy at this time of night?” He heard that last part and said in my defense, something to the effect of the ‘most wonderful girl in the world.’ Covering the receiver I whined “But Mom! You just don’t understand” in a tone only a teenage girl can convey. As soon as I hung up my Mom pulled the phone cord out of the wall and walked out with my phone. She wanted to make sure we didn’t talk any more that night.

The next day at school I told all my girlfriends about how he managed to get my number out of Brian and that we talked until 1 AM! We screamed and giggled about it for a few minutes. Giggles gave me a few stern words “Respectable girls don’t take calls late at night and they never talk to a boy until 1 AM either.” I told her my Mom would like her a lot better right now. Still, I glowed all day. Seriously, I couldn’t stop smiling all day. It was making my girlfriends ill. After dinner Ronnie called. He too couldn’t help from smiling all day!

Months later Ronnie and his Mom recounted the night he met me. He came home busting with excitement. “Mom! I met the most wonderful, most beautiful girl in the world! I was so smooth! So Cool! And she danced with me.” His Mom mentioned how sharply he was dressed that night and Ronnie quoted a ZZTop song “Every girls crazy ‘bout a sharp dressed man.”

(to be Continued)

I have made a decision to out myself.

I have been away from my blog for a long time trying to recuperate from all that went on in May (see the list here).

First I became ill. Then I got better. A co-worker has now introduced a new illness he brought from out of the country. My whole office is now ill. Oh, and I am going on vacation starting Friday. With this terrible awful illness. Reservations have been made and everything was paid in advance. What’s a girl to do? Pray that I am feeling much, much better by Friday night.

That’s right. I was going to out myself, not completely…yet. Although in the next post (ok not the next post but it is coming) you will find out my true first name, my last name has changed a few times since then. No, I am not ready to put that out there for all the internet just yet. Also, I googled my name and so many “others” came up that I feel safe.

My sister was visiting last month and for some reason I started to have vivid recollections of a particular season in my life. During that portion of my life I went through extreme highs and lows. It was the happiest times and the worst of times. It was the most painful time of my life for several reasons but I also remember the blissful happiness. While writing the next few posts I realized how very sheltered my childhood was, even as a teenager. Perhaps all the joy and pain were felt so incredibly as this was the first time in my life I would experience them.