David and I faithfully attended church youth group every week, eagerly anticipating those few minutes together afterwards while waiting for our rides. We would also talk on the phone every chance we got. Our family phone was in the kitchen and those were the days when the receiver remained tethered to the phone, ours being mounted on the wall. We did have an extra long cord, however, and I’d pull it out full length, taking it around the corner for just a breath of privacy. With two younger brothers in the house, this was far from satisfactory and made those youth group moments all the more precious.
One day David mentioned that he had a test coming up and we hatched a plan. I asked my parents if he could come over after school so I could help him study. We had good intentions, or at least *I* did, but honestly, very little studying was done that afternoon. Oh, we sat at the dining room table with books and papers spread out in front of us — with my brothers in the house and my mom in the kitchen around the corner we had to at least give the impression we were working. But as I recall we spent the afternoon just talking and looking at each other.
Then we had our first real date. It must have been around Halloween because my parents were going to a church costume party and my mom answered the door in a mask. I was a little embarrassed but David thought it was funny. Since he was only 15 and didn’t have a drivers license, he got his brother-in-law, Chuck, to drive him out to our house to pick me up and then drop us off at the El Rancho theater.
We have racked our brains trying to recall the movie we saw. For years David swore it was Mother, Juggs, and Speed. That didn’t sound right to me but I had no better idea. A couple of months ago we rented it from Netflix. Nope. That wasn’t it. We both think it involved cars…maybe a race?…so I looked up movies from that time period and decided that The Gumball Rally sounded like a possibility. We watched it and still aren’t sure. I think we were both far more interested in holding hands for the first time than what was on the screen so we’ll probably never know for certain what the movie was. *
What I do remember was our first kiss. David walked me to my door and gave me a rather quick kiss on the lips. Chuck was waiting in the car with a very clear view of our porch and we could hear my family in the living room just inside the front door. Still, it was my first kiss and I’m pretty sure my feet were barely touching the ground when I went inside.
David didn’t turn sixteen until the June after we met and since we attended different schools it was a constant challenge to find ways to be together. One Saturday afternoon we went bowling. I don’t recall how we got to the bowling alley but I do remember walking back to his house. It must have been during that winter because I remember the grayish-blue wool coat I was wearing. Yeah, I’m not sure what I did yesterday but I remember what I wore on a particular day almost 37 years ago.
Soon after we got back to his house, David offered to show me the inside of their motor home. Turns out that was the 15 year old boy’s version of “Wanna come up and see my etchings?”. He may have actually shown me around the motor home but all I really remember was sitting at the table kissing. And that is where we shared our first French kiss. It was also the scene of my first, but definitely not last, “no”. I guess you can’t fault a guy for trying, right?
While I was slowly falling for the “long haired hippie” my grandmother cautioned me about, David insists he had already fallen in love with me on the bus. In fact, it even started before that. A few months before we met he had spotted me at a church softball game. I was sitting in the stands next to a guy and David just assumed I was his girlfriend. He swears that he dreamed about me before we met and that when he looked out the bus window at the starry desert sky he knew he’d marry me someday.
*We finally figured out what movie it was – Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry.