It was around this time in 1971 that I met my first love at my best friend’s party. So, I thought you might like to read about that in the following excerpt from Chapter 1 my upcoming book, Trust the Timing.
October’s cool air finally brought relief from the summer heat and added restless excitement to the new school year. Terry and I had been hanging out in her room, lamenting about not having boyfriends. Then her eyes lit up.
“I know! Let’s have a party!”
“You mean a Halloween party?”
“No. That’s for kids. I’m talkin’ about a cool party. Maybe my parents will let us have it in the garage.”
This would be nothing like our usual Saturday night sleepovers. No Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. No Chef Boyardee pizza in a box. No prank phone calls. It would be our first real high school party with boys, and possibilities swirled around in my head.
In two months, I would be sixteen and still had not had a decent first kiss. That awkward moment in the backyard with Harold from down the street laying on top of me didn’t count. His impatient kiss bruised my lips with urgent pressure. It lacked imagination and certainly didn’t get him any further.
Our friend Caroline, the one with the big, beautiful lips, loved kissing and described kisses that sounded like the exact opposite of Harold’s, like the luxurious kiss that lasted the entire length of the song, “Crystal Blue Persuasion.” I wondered if I would ever have kiss like that.
“Oh, don’t worry about it,” she encouraged. “Just let it happen naturally.”
“That’s easy for you to say,” Terry argued. “I still can’t forget Tommy Rayburn putting his bubble gum in my mouth when he kissed me. It was disgusting! I had more fun kissing my bedroom mirror.”
Before the party, Terry and I plastered one wall of her parents’ garage with psychedelic black light posters across from her Bob Dylan poster on the other side. Along with Dylan, we played Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. A friend brought over a flashing strobe light with the warning that it could make some people feel sick if you left it on too long, so we used it sparingly.
As people arrived through the kitchen and started mingling, Terry and I looked at each other and grinned. This was going to be good. Her parents hardly checked on us, but greeted people at the front door and directed them to the garage. We were pretty well behaved anyway. If anything bad happened, it happened in the back seat of somebody’s car, though few of us had cars back then.
I felt a wave of shyness as the room started to fill up, and went to sit on the large trunk at the back of the garage. Terry floated from person to person, welcoming everyone and laughing. I was satisfied to sit back and take in the scene.
In walked this tall, lean guy who grabbed my attention right away. He must have been at least 6 feet tall. At 5’8, I was still awkwardly taller than most guys my age. He looked a lot older than someone in tenth grade, like he could easily pass for a senior. He wore an olive green military field jacket over a T-shirt and jeans. His wavy blond hair fell over his eyebrows but didn’t cover his ears. He smiled slightly as someone caught his attention. Caroline waved at him from across the room with a big smile, and he walked over to her. I realized he must be the one she invited from her French class.
I surveyed the room thinking maybe I should try to mingle. But it was so much easier to just watch. I looked back at the tall guy standing with Caroline and a couple other people. It wasn’t just his height that attracted me. There was something about him, a look of maturity in his soft eyes as he listened, not saying much. His focus drifted from the conversation, and he caught me staring at him. The 7UP bubbles dancing in my paper cup suddenly became very interesting.
From my perch, I watched out of the corner of my eye as he walked over to the cooler to get a soda. When the strobe light came back on, I lost sight of him as more people came in.
“Turn that damn thing off!” somebody yelled a couple minutes later.
When the regular lights came back on, I started to scan the room and almost jumped when he appeared on my right, standing next to the trunk, like he’d always been there.
(The excerpt and photo above belong to JoAnne Silvia and may not be used except with permission and when clear credit is given to the author.)