Intro to Germany, Virginia, and Sadie Hawkins

Life in Stadt became as humdrum and dreary as it could almost right away.  I found that I would be attending a US school right in the center of the housing area and that we had all the normal things to do right in one location.  Damn, I was looking forward to wearing lederhosen and yodeling a lot.  (I was influenced by a lot of movies.)

We had a movie theater, an Exchange (military five and dime), a commissary (military supermarket), barber shop, and other really attractive places.  We even had a Teen Club.  Imagine, if you will, a Quonset hut (a large corrugated steel barrel cut lengthwise and plopped down on a foundation – Google it if you are really curious) full of nothing but flat, dusty concrete, a really old phonograph, a rack of records that were old ten years before, and two bathrooms – guys at one end, gals at the other, and a laughingly named item called a ‘snack bar’.  No snacks were ever available except when a dance was being held.

This, was supposed to be the social venue for us teens.  Most of us would rather have a root canal with no Novocain than been seen entering (or leaving) the Teen Club.  Some of us, however, did venture in just to check things out of course.  I spotted one person that I knew, Benny, from the teen dance back at the Andrews Officers Club.  Several other guys were sitting at the three tables along with about five girls.  Benny introduced me all around.  Back then, introductions were made with handshakes, and standing when someone was introduced – not simply mumbling “yo” or ‘hiya”.  My name recall was almost perfect until he got to Virginia; after that, I don’t remember a thing.  She was a beautiful, dark haired, girl with a willowy body.  The best part was that when she stood, she was as tall as me!  She was very close, if not actually over, six feet tall and was nicely proportioned.  I surreptitiously took inventory:  nice face – check, great smile – check, nice breasts – check, narrow waist – check, shapely hips and long legs – check.  In short, I was in love again.

During the summer of ‘57, I turned fifteen.  This is a glorious age to be.  Old enough to attend senior high school as a freshman and get away from all the kids of lesser ranking, but, unfortunately placing yourself once again at the bottom of the totem pole of teen society.  It also makes you act really goofy around girls.  I have no idea if girls that age felt as self-conscious as us guys, but if they did it was well hidden.  I tried several times to interest Virginia in accompanying me to any place where I could be near her.  This was always rebuffed with what looked suspiciously like a smirk and a toss of her head.

Interspersed among my primary campaign for Virginia’s heart were the smaller struggles to make somebody of the female persuasion to at least ‘like’ me.  It seemed that the harder I tried, the faster the putdown struck.  I redoubled my efforts and began to receive acceptance, but only for a first date.  Anything beyond that was usually not in the cards.  I tried being studious, but that only attracted girls that wore horn-rimmed glasses, put their hair up in a bun, and buttoned their sweaters all the way to the neck; not that I had anything against that particular type.   Attempting to be a ‘jock’ only garnered bruises and pain – no cheer there so I moved on to class clown.  I found I could make girls laugh quite easily, especially when I asked them to a movie or dance.  Rats!  I was becoming ever desperate.

A few notable girls began letting me though their shields.  Sally was a ‘tarnished’ cheerleader who fell from grace after being dumped by a real jock.  She and I had fun, but then we drifted apart again.  Ann was very pretty, but was constantly snapping her gum in your face.  I endured it for almost two weeks only because she had the most magnificent breasts. They appeared able to defy gravity and bounced gently even when she stood still. Then, to my consternation, she switched to another guy who chewed gum also.  Last I saw of them they were happily swapping gumballs away.

Between working my way through the distaff side of the freshman class (it seemed) I kept trying to scale Mount Virginia.  She appeared to yield several times, but still only let me get near her in school, never in a social situation unless several of her friends were around.  It was finally one of her friends that gave me the final clue:  “stop trying so hard!  She likes you, so stop being a goof.”

I reevaluated my presentation, scaled it back a bit (stopped being a goof), and took Sandy’s advice.  It worked!  Soon I was able to hold whole conversations with Virginia without stepping on my tongue, embarrassing her, or, as the British say ‘dropping a clanger’.  We began to make music together.  Our first actual completely alone date took place in the very same teen club we met.  The record player turned out to be broken, again, but I was hearing my own tunes inside my head.  Movie producers and directors have been trying for years to show, on screen, this phenomenon but have never been able to convey it properly.  Soft violins, soothing woodwinds, classical guitars, sighing winds, crashing waves, and all the other visual representations can never actually convey what hits a guy when it suddenly dawns on him that “this may be what I’ve been looking for all along.”  Boom – right between the eyes.  You actually hear music inside your head.  Your conversation slows and then stops.  You slowly reach across the table, timidly hold hands, and look deeply into each other’s eyes.  Such was a defining moment in my life.  We were now ‘an item’ and I knew I was under her spell, my pulse had doubled, and I was having trouble breathing.

My age made me about eight months older than Virginia, which was cool.  Her dad worked in the motor pool as a mechanic and she didn’t have any brothers or sisters at all.  This, indeed, was good news.  We would go to her house instead of mine on our dates.  But, I get ahead of myself.  We made small talk for a while but then she said she had to leave for home.  I offered to walk her home, but she told me no because her dad was coming to pick her up.  We walked outside just as he pulled up in his car.  When he got out, he was the largest guy I had ever seen.  He topped six feet, six inches, and must have weighed at least two-seventy.  I mentally vowed not to dally with Virginia’s affections.  No sir, not me.

A couple of months later Virginia and I went to a Sadie Hawkins dance.  Sadie was a fictional character that existed in the Li’l Abner comic strip which was a basis for some very colorful costumes.

NOTE:  For those interested in this long-running November tradition, please check out this site http://www.lil-abner.com/sadiehawk.html and leave me a comment if this link fails.

According to tradition, she asked me to the dance, but not after fighting off two of her friends who were at the snack bar table with us.  I think they just wanted to get her goat, but maybe not.  She won out in any case and off we went later that week to the dance.  It was a costume dance and, when I went to pick her up for the walk to the gym, my eyes had a seizure.  The only word that came to mind at that time was ‘stuff’.  She had managed to ‘stuff’ herself into a highly erotic push-up bra under a red, polka-dotted silk scoop necked blouse.  A very tight, and very short, torn black skirt and sandals completed her getup.  In short, she was the embodiment of Daisy Mae.  I was costumed as my favorite character in the strip: Fearless Fosdick.  This costume, it was said behind my back, actually wasn’t far from my true nature.

Virginia’s arch enemy, Linda, came as Moonbeam McSwine, and, after slinking around me, Virginia was ready to send Evil Eye Fleegle after her with a quadruple whammy.  In any case Virginia kept me busy the whole evening on the dance floor so Moonbeam couldn’t get me.  When the line of kids waiting for Marrying Sam finally got short enough for us, we stepped into the arch and “got hitched”.  Later that evening she agreed to wear my small ruby ring and I gave her a stuffed Schmoo.  We were now going steady.

This event caused much consternation at her house as she wasn’t fast enough to hide my ring one afternoon after school.  She wore it on a small chain and would drop it into her bra when near anyone other than her friends.  She had an armful of books one day and her mom opened the door instead of her brother.  Ping – Bip went her mom’s sonar and she ranged on the ring immediately.  After running through the gamut of ‘you’re much too young’ and ‘there are other nice boys out there too’ she finished off with ‘just wait until your dad hears about this’.

Strangely enough, he didn’t seem to mind all that much.  I remained a bit nervous near him, but he never mentioned anything directly to me about our going steady.  After several more dinners and evenings spent with them I was accepted as a fixture in their house.

My parents, on the other hand, didn’t really have much to say on the subject one way or the other.  My mom remarked that she thought Virginia was a very nice girl and my dad was uncharacteristically silent on the subject.  I think he was basically happy I was beginning to settle on a just one girl as it did wonders for my grades and general attitude.

T.O.M

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