The Dating Game
Wendy Wohler was from New Boston, Ohio, across the city limits east of my hometown, Portsmouth. Wendy and I had one date together, the summer after high school.
I was living at home in the summer of 1965. My partner in crime was Frank White. He drove a 1955 four-door Chrysler, the Black Rat. He was dating Judy Briggs, from New Boston, friend of Wendy.
Frank’s diabolical plan: I was to talk my parents into cooking a formal Saturday evening dinner for two couples, Frank and Judy, Greg and Wendy. Chuck and Marge agreed to help us. That Saturday afternoon, Frank and I drove north out of Portsmouth to the Holiday Inn. We paid for one night in Room 231, two queen size beds.
The evening began with the four of us sitting on the couches in my parents' living room. The girls wore cocktail dresses, the boys wore sport coats. My father's assignment was to make daiquiris.
There were four glasses on the coffee table. Chuck entered the room wearing a white sport coat, white tuxedo shirt and black slacks. He had a bar towel draped over his left forearm. In his right hand he carried a pitcher full of daiquiris, the second go-around. He and Marge drank the first batch while Frank and I picked up the girls in New Boston.
My father was tipsy. He poured Wendy's drink and forgot to stop pouring. Booze and crushed ice flowed across the coffee table. His bar towel fell short and three more towels were called into action. Chuck left the room and made his third batch of daiquiris.
The four of us sat at the dining room table. Chuck lit the candles. My mother served a rich vegetable soup, salad, au gratin potatoes and prime rib. Marge was wearing her faded blue bathrobe and her hair was up in curlers.
We had a small swimming pool in the back yard, 8x16, heated. At dark, in the pool, all lights off, Frank put the moves on Judy and I put the moves on Wendy. The boys didn't get very far and the mood remained playful.
Frank and I announced that we had a surprise waiting. We got dressed and the four of us drove around town, teasing and laughing. Frank turned onto Route 23 and drove north to the Holiday Inn. We pulled up in the Chrysler and parked in a space just below Room 231. Politely but adamantly, the girls went ballistic and demanded that we take them home.
That night Frank and I lay in our beds in Room 231, watching TV and drinking Jim Beam straight from the bottle.
In 1965, a high school girl with a male in a motel room was a huge no-no. That indiscretion was a one-way ticket to a ruined reputation.
I like to look back at the lengths we boys went to... to get the girls to do what we wanted.
Greg Leichner won the First Annual (1995) Rocky Mountain Artists/Eccentric Book Competition for his 15-postcard series, Citizens For A Poodle-Free Montana. There's a t-shirt to prove it.
The Way We Were
I woke up this morning and said, “Today’s the day. The day I write my memoir.”
Sounds easy but the truth is that I don’t remember much. I remember the song…Memories. Maybe that wasn’t the title but I can sing you the first line. Or maybe not. Memories, light the something something something. That’s all I remember. Oh, and Streisand sang it, I remember that. And she couldn’t or wouldn’t spell Barbara the right way.
That nice young lady who comes to see me sometimes, she can sing the song. I think she’s related to me but I’m not really sure. She looks a lot like me. Like a family resemblance. She told me who she is but then I forget right after she tells me.
Just thought of a joke. That doesn’t happen often. I say, “I think I lost my brafour and you say. ‘What’s a bra for?’ Get it. Funny. Ha, ha. Not sure why I remember that one.
Maybe the young lady will help me with my memoir. I could get her to write the things down so that someone will read it some day and they will know who I was, that I had a life, that I did things and went places. Like that. I hope I remember to ask her when she comes today or tomorrow. Or whenever she comes back.
I remember being outside and playing all day and when the cousins came and we would play hide and seek and games with a ball. I remember trying to show off and run faster and hide where no one could find me. Giant steps…that was some kind of game we played and you had to stand on the front porch. Something about a red light and a green light. Or you had to count to 20 and then go look for someone. I was better at hiding than looking.
We played until dark, until the fireflies came out and we chased them all over the yard. Sometimes we tried to trap them in a jar. And it had holes in the lid.
Where is that lady? Why isn’t she here today. When I’m not looking for her, then she shows up. When I need her to help me remember things, she’s not here.
The Way We Were….that’s it, that’s the song. That’s my life.
Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.
The Best Margarita In Town…Puerto Morelos
We were sitting in a rustic, mostly outdoor beach bar in the small town of Puerto Morelos on Mexican’s Mayan Riviera sampling what the bartender promised was the best Margarita in town. The temperature was about 85 degrees Fahrenheit and the ever-present sea breeze was wafting in from the Caribbean. Shore birds were circling overhead in a cloudless blue sky. From time to time, one would fold its wings tightly against its body and dive into the brilliant aqua waters to snatch a small fish from below. Only a few yards from the bar’s entrance, two men were lounging in hammocks playing their guitars and singing in wonderful, Spanish harmony. It was as if the Chamber of Commerce had staged this entire scene just for us but I knew better. This is really our life!
Five years ago, our circumstances were much different and the future of our retirement was grim. We left the states in 2012 after realizing that our life as retired expats living offshore could be much better than remaining where we were. After significant research, we moved to the coast of Ecuador. Our lives in the small fishing and farming community of San Vicente, Ecuador allowed us to observe life at its most basic level; a place where our rudimentary Spanish language skills were developed through immersion as virtually no one spoke English. After two years, the need to live closer to first-world medical care rose to the top of our priority list and we moved from Ecuador to Cancun on the Caribbean coast of Mexico.
Puerto Morelos is one of our favorite places to visit and a great place for a day trip but we love living in Cancun. Our condo is situated on a strip of land with the Caribbean Sea on one side and a large lagoon on the other side.
Cancun offers all the modern conveniences one would expect from a world class destination including large malls, major shopping outlets, more restaurant choices than one could visit in a lifetime and great hospitals. Cancun is the most popular destination in the Caribbean and hosts a modern International Airport. Direct flights from Miami take about 2 hours.
So, this is our retired life! I say that out loud several times each week just to be sure I’m not dreaming. Every day as we watch airliners departing in the distance, I realize that most of those passengers are headed back to a job and a life somewhere else when many of them would rather be here….where I live.
I have to go now. Maybe Diane will join me in the pool before a lunch of fresh mango and pineapple.
Donald (Don) Murray is a retired guy living in Cancun with his Pocket Babe, Diane. You can follow him on his blog, www.donaldmurrayexpat.com. He has written a top-selling Kindle book, Our Ecuador Retirment...The First 8 Months available for download from Amazon. He now spends his time doing whatever the hell he wants!
It was embraced and reviled.
Around since the 1950s, the Smiley Face became a huge pop culture fad in the early 1970s. A pair of baby boomer brothers got the bright idea to create it as a sales logo to counter what they saw as an era dominated by protest and unrest. It was intended as re-take on the peace symbol.
They generated a happy army of merchandise emblazoned with the symbol: coffee mugs, cookie jars, t-shirts, bumper stickers and, of course, buttons. By 1972, an astonishing 50 million pin-ons were in circulation, many with the caption: “Have a Great Day.”
It didn’t take long for other baby boomers to turn the symbol upside down. The Temptations and Undisputed Truth recorded the #3 Billboard hit in 1971, Smiling Faces Sometimes, one of many negative songs referencing the icon:
Smiling faces sometimes pretend to be your friend
Smiling faces show no traces of the evil that lurks within
Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes
They don’t tell the truth uh
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof
The anti-symbol became almost as ubiquitous as the real thing.
Mr. Smiley never went completely out of vogue. It was the “unicode” symbol for the first IBM and all subsequent PC compatible computers, still available for post-Microsoft Windows 95.
The best known corporate use of the Smiley Face is by Wal-Mart.
• During one of Forrest Gump’s many jogs across America, he wipes his face on a t-shirt given to him by a down-and-out salesman. The dirt stained shirt resembles eyes and an upturned mouth. Eureka! The idea is born and the salesman presumably becomes rich.
• Those Philadelphia brothers who popularized the smiley face in the 1970s did go on to riches. In addition to making a killing on the symbol, Bernard and Murray Spain founded the 126-chain Dollar Store.
Terry Hamburg writes the Baby Boomer Daily about the exciting and revolutionary baby boomer years.
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Andrea Deegan is an Australian with an eye for the little details. See more of her photos on flickr.