Last night, it happened. Molly Ringwald charmed me again. Exhausted from work, I came home and on the television was Pretty in Pink. Boston Legal's James Spader playing a long haired cad far removed from the lovable Alan Shore. Jon Cryer was Ducky. Although a he was a puppy love filled nerd, I can identify with him.
This travel back into time began with my previous post, and suddenly I find myself stuck in a time that brought me so much happiness.
Then, this morning, my XM Radio had American Top 40, as Casey Kasem counted down the hits from November of 1980. And yes, I knew most of the words. My drive consisted of numbers 24 through 18. Christopher Cross (Sailing), Irene Cara (Out here on my Own) , Jackson Browne (that Girl Could Sing), Bruce Springsteen (Hungry Heart) and even Willie Nelson (On the Road Again) made appearances.
But the kicker was actually the kickoff. My radio was set to the 70's channel, as I was listening to Disco Saturday Night on my drive home. After hearing "here's a lost 45" teen heartthrob Rex Smith was on with "You Take My Breath Away." The memory rush hit me like a storm. Kristy McNichol was my crush back then. I think she was in a TV movie with Smith. I remember going to see "Little Darlings" two nights in a row just to see her. My parents let me stay up late to watch her in Family. I even rushed to buy the album "Jimmy and Kristy McNichol." The "bestest" Christmas present ever was a personally autographed picture of Kristy. I cried when i got it. When it came to heart throbs... Kristy was it.
That was until Pat Benatar came along, and suddenly, sensuality took a very sharp turn. Goodness in the form of Kristy became the badness of Benatar. Cute outfits on Miss McNichol were replaced by the spandex wonderment of this new Wonder Woman who could belt out a nasty tune.
I remember driving my blue Celica (I have a thing for blue cars.) On the back were bumper stickers from my favorite radio stations, both called Q107 (one in Washington DC, the other from Charleston SC - my summer home.) On my wall were posters of Benatar and Chris DeLisle (The Q107 Lips Woman.)
I had a boom box, a black and white TV, a CB radio, and a really cool desk where I could do my homework. I remember spending every afternoon on the blacktop basketball court of my neighborhood park playing a very rough game of playground basketball with Kenny Cassidy, Paul Gerrity and John McKenna.
Rewind to age 14.
My first real crush was on a girl named Shellie Donohoe. I took her on my first date (which I did not count as a date since it did not end with a kiss. We saw Young Frankenstein. I gave her a Polaroid Camera a couple of days later, which she would not accept. We remained friends, although she ended up dating one of the other neighborhood guys.
A little more than a year later, I received my first kiss in a men's locker room. Now wait a minute. Do not go jumping to conclusions! It was a rainy day at our neighborhood pool and the pool was closed. However, the neighborhood kids were there keeping the lifeguards, who we all liked to hang out with, company on a boring day. Then, the "scrooge" of the neighborhood - Hamilton Twitchell - showed up at the pool. He might have been a nice man, but we were scared of this older guy and thought we might get in trouble, so we ran into the men's locker room. There were three of us. Debbie Hill, and her sister Kim and me. I really liked Kim at this time. She was the older of the sisters, and very nicely put together... plus she had this Adidas swim suit that I really enjoyed seeing her in... but I digress.
We were all hiding in the changing area of the locker room when the subject of kissing came up. The Hill sisters could not believe that I was all of 15 years old and had never kissed a girl. So there it was, in a men's locker room, that Debbie Hill laid one on me. I was fluttering in glee.
This was the time of Grease and Billy Joel's Stranger album. While I was singing romantic songs of Joel, my inner Sandy was about to turn from innocent to well... a little less innocent.
Later that night, the gang was partying at Paul Gerrity's house. He had a converted basement that was the home to many a beer, lots of Springsteen, Who and Stones, and all of our neighborhood parties. I arrived late (I had been to something with my parents I think) and everyone was already a little drunk. Rarely would be the time I would have a beer, but I would from time to time. On this night however, Kim had one too many. The subject of my kissing history came up and next thing I know, Kim was grabbing me around the neck and planting a big one on me. What happened next was something of a surprise.
I was enjoying the kiss when she stuck her tongue into my mouth. I did not know what to make of it when she said "French! French!' I had no idea what was happening, but I went along and it did feel good.
She then proceeded to go back with her boyfriend and make out.
It would be a whole summer before I would enjoy that feeling again, when I had my first real girlfriend, Susan Kerdasha. She and I met at a dance on Kiawah Island, which was next to Seabrook, my island summer home. Our first date - The Muppet Movie. The date would end with that elusive kiss, and my relationships with girls officially began.
We dated for the two weeks she vacationed there, and decided it was love. the most awkward time of our relationship was when we decided that a non developed road would be a great make out place. Unfortunately for us, my friends spotted my car at the time (a station wagon belonging to my mom) . We were ambushed as I was trying to steal second. Needless to say, we were startled, but laugh about it now.
We bought matching bracelets, and wrote regularly. We spent Homecoming together and I travelled to New Jersey to go to one of her dances. Another trip took us to Great Adventure Amusement Park where we bought matching "Love is a Great Adventure" t-shirts. Puppy love was at its peak.
I don't remember how we broke up, other than the distance was too much, but I remained faithful throughout my junior year in school.
The next summer was indeed the summer of love. When you live on a resort island, people come and go, and with them, summertime romances. Think Dirty Dancing. Anyway, this particular summer began with a series of two week romances. The first with another Susan, then a Betsy and a Lisa who introduced me to Billy Joel.
In the middle of these romances were great friendships. Linda and Sharon Sovinski were sisters from West Virginia. They spent three weeks at Seabrook and I saw them every day as we were always by the pool or the rec center. I really liked Linda, but I think she was in a relationship, so I didn't want to wreck anything. Her younger sister Sharon was stunning - a cheerleader, and liked one of the others in our group, Albert Mikula.
The most vivid memory I have of the Sovinski Sisters was singing Breakfast in America by Supertramp, which we belted out in my car. They were wonderful people then... and happily, I found Sharon recently on Facebook. She is now a successful hair color designer and stylist in Los Angeles. She looks as I thought she would, and seems to be living a happy life. When I recounted the stories of Seabrook, she remembered them as vividly as I did... so it was nice to reconnect.
Towards the end of the summer, my friend Cassie Deveaux introduced me to a statuesque strawberry blonde named Sally. My taste in women took the turn from Kristy to Benatar. Sweet was replaced by sultry. If you watch Gray's Anatomy or Private Practice and know Kate Walsh (Addison), you have seen Sally.
We would travel north and south to see each other, and she gave me lots of new experiences, including my first ever look at ESPN. She had a thing for track shorts. I had a thing for her. It was as much fun as two kids could have while still remaining celabate. I would go into more of a story, but there were enough things that should remain private for many reasons... so I won't get into detail.
We went to prom together, first hers then mine. She was called the best looking girl at the prom, so I had that going for me. I remember that when we were ready to go, the tux I rented came with the wrong jacket. Luckily it fit. As for her dress... oh did it ever fit, with a slit up the leg that drove most of the guys at my school batty. We sang Fame badly, but it didn't matter... we were in love.
Our romance lasted my entire senior year and into part of my freshman year in college. Again, distance killed any chance of a long term relationship. She is happily married and just gave birth recently to her first kids... twins. We saw each other a few years ago, and age has treated her well.
In the midst of all of these romances came my longest lasting friendship... never a romance. Just a boy and girl who became man and woman and forever will be linked as "big brother and little sister." It's amazing to have a relationship like that that is so close when you are not family. Mess and I talk almost every week, and still share the closeness we had at age 15. It is truly a gift.
All in all I have an interesting perspective on life now that I have been married almost as along as I had been living back in those days that I can still remember so well.
Well, it's time for me to shoot back into the present day. I have to get back into the real world and go to work on this Sunday afternoon, but hope this trip back to the land of crushes and kisses can foster come great memories for all of you.
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