Posts Tagged ‘teenagers’

New School Jitters

July 14, 2010

Note:  I kind of got this one bass-ackwards from my previous blog post.  I apologize.

Moving from one school to another is always traumatic.  No matter how good (or bad) you were doing in your old school, there is always the wondering if you will fit into the hierarchy at the new school.  I knew my move from the US school in Germany to the new school in California was going to be an eye-opening experience.

The major difference in schools was that every kid in my old school was a dependent of military parents.  In my new school there would be very few dependent kids – if any.  The nearest base, which was Hamilton AFB, was about twelve miles south of Petaluma and had quarters on base for most of its personnel.  My dad just wanted to live off base this time so we bought a house in a new subdivision in Petaluma.

While we were moving in, it was decided that we didn’t have to go to school so but we had to pitch in and arrange the household as desired.  This only took a week to do properly so by the time the next Monday came around we were off to school.

I was entering senior high school in the middle of my junior year right before the Thanksgiving break.  I’d have two weeks of school and then a week off for the holiday.  As it turned out, this was a good thing because I was able to figuratively dip my toe into the water before jumping in feet first.

My first day did not go well.  I had to stop at the office and make sure I was registered.  As I suspected, someone had made an assumption and changed my name from Tom to Thomas.  This was usually the first thing I noticed every time I looked at an official form with my name on it.  My parents, not being dummies, figured that if they named me Thomas that everyone would call me Tom anyway, so they just made the shortcut and named me Tom.

Fortunately, I had a copy of my birth certificate with me.  It didn’t cut any ice with the stern-faced desk person who insisted that I give her my “real” name despite being shown a copy of my birth certificate.  This escalated into a virtual shouting match which me, as a lowly almost-student, was destined to lose.  My parents were called.  The office troll’s disposition was not improved by my mother’s response to her (which, fortunately, I did not hear).  Exuding extreme displeasure towards me, she signed me in as a student and handed me a class schedule and a map with a huge smirk.

My locker was way the hell and gone down a dead-end hallway and had no relationship anywhere near any of my classes.  I could imagine the glee at which the office troll assigned me this locker.  If I wanted to use it I would have to sprint (No RUNNING in the HALLS!) to and from it in the thirty seconds allowed between classes.  I resigned myself to being forced to carry a book satchel.  This would guarantee me nerd status in seconds.

Speaking of which, I was tentatively placed in the ‘nerd’ subdivision of official outcasts.  This was due mainly to my ability to say or do something wrong no matter what I said or did.  It didn’t help one bit that I had been a high-B or low-A student in Germany; in fact, it just dug a deeper hole.  I managed to enroll in German class and, while the teacher was a good one, she just didn’t have the total grasp of a native German speaker and would occasionally say something that caused me to suppress a snort.  In one memorable instance, I didn’t suppress it enough and she heard me.

As punishment, she assigned me a little extra homework – translating a seven-paragraph chapter from German to English.  I guess it really didn’t help my case that I did it in class that afternoon and handed it to her when class let out.  She asked me what it was and I told her.  Now she was the one that snorted.  By the time she read my translation she was pretty ticked off.  Word spread rapidly around that I was a wise ass.  In some groups this was a good thing and in others a handicap.

There were possibly seven or eight major cliques in school.  Most notably were the jocks, the nerds, the cool guys, the cool girls, and the surfers.  I tried my best to steer clear of the jocks because they liked to run over people in the halls and generally make everyone’s lives miserable.  I don’t think they really did this out of spite, but more because they just wanted to, or were too big to be expected to move.

Some of the cool girls were merged with the jocks, especially the cheerleaders.  As a whole, the cheerleaders were very, um, wholesome.  With their hair just so, wearing short dresses and tight sweaters, and hanging on every grunt of a jock they defied anyone’s attempt to pry them away.  The rest of the cool girls made life miserable for the uncool girls.

There were three major hangouts in town for teens.  The first one, located only a block from school, sold everything from pencils to sodas.  There was a short fountain area behind which were various siphons for water, Coke, and three or four flavors of ‘sweet gunk’.  The rage at the time was a lime-Coke.  First you took some Coke syrup, spritzed in some lime gunk, and then added sparkling water.  It would foam up and over the sides of the glass before it ever got to you.  It had it’s unique flavor though and, after several of them, you got used to it.

The other two places were out near the highway.  One was called The Burger Barn even though it looked nothing like a barn and the other was named the Dog ‘n’ Suds.  The latter was affiliated with A&W Root Beer.  This was the place I hung out mostly because for fifty cents you would get a huge mug of almost frozen root beer and a fat hot dog on a bun.  For a quarter more, you could get a huge tub of French fries.  Pretty much every girl I got to ride in my car wanted to go the Dog ‘n’ Suds because of the root beer.  I was not popular because most of the time I showed up because I usually had more than one girl in my car.

They loved to ride in my convertible.  I’ve had as many a six kids in the car at one time; mostly girls.  They thought it was “cute” which I exploited to the max.  With the short-throw stick shift resting between the front seats, I almost always managed to run my hands along a thigh when I hit third or fourth gear.

Eventually, I got settled in and found my niche.  At first I was a niche of one, but after six weeks or so I built it up to ten or twelve of us.  We were the ones that didn’t fit into any other category so we started one of our own.  We called ourselves The Group.  Pretty catchy, eh?

It was through a backyard pool party with The Group that I talked with a couple of my neighbors who were with the Surf group.  They both lived within a few houses of me and I’d seen them around a few times so I just invited them.  This is probably how the surf bug bit me.  It sounded way cool to be able to ride waves to shore and I wanted to try it.  The fact that surfing required the girls to wear swim suits didn’t enter into it at all.

T.O.M.

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How to surf – NOT!

June 28, 2010

Following my sometimes painful introduction to life back in the States, things settled down to a daily drudge.  I was out across an arterial highway (US101) so I had to ride the school bus to school.  There was many reasons why this was considered to be the ultimate in agony for a high school junior.  The primary question always being ‘why don’t you have a car’?  My standard answer, which was considered akin to “the check’s in the mail” was ‘my car is still on it’s way from Germany’.  Hoots of derision usually followed this pronouncement.

November morphed into December, dragged onward into January, February, and March and finally, after several centuries, crawled into April.  April in California signals a real change from dirty brown grass, thunderstorms that don’t pass out much rain and winds whipping the fog up from the bay.  Rain falls, but at a softer, more soaking, rate.  Flowers, grass, and leaves begin to absorb it and turn green.

Girls start planning their spring wardrobes, with bright colors, lighter materials, and other eye-catching items.  Guys begin dividing into three groups:  1) The car guys; 2) the health nuts; and, 3) the surfers.  There is a fourth group consisting of both girls and guys that simply continue onwards with their lives.

I couldn’t join the first group – no car.  The second group was appealing to me, but they spent a lot of time working up to grueling marathons by running down to San Francisco and back in a morning wearing nothing but a really thin pair of running shorts, a running jumper with the number of calories per second they were burning pinned to the back, and running shoes that cost more than my car.  That only left the third group.  They seemed an interesting bunch to me, if one discounted the fact that they had their own language.  I’d give them a try.

Last year, in the Bavarian Alps, I’d tried skiing.  I was passably good at it.  I had two boards strapped to my feet, a long downhill grade, and nothing to cushion me except some pretty unforgiving snow over a very terra firma.  So, I figured, how hard can it be to stand on a one huge board, being pushed by a wave, with nice soft water as a cushion in case of the unlikely event I would fall.

I had a couple of the surfer crowd that lived nearby so I initiated contact with one of them.  His name appeared to be ‘Fuzzy’.  That was what everyone called him.  I think his actual name was Phil, but Fuzzy is what they knew him by.  Like me, he was a junior, had his own car, and had a really large surfboard done up in lime green with yellow lightning bolts down the length.

We were chatting out in front of his house one afternoon when he mentioned that his friend, Tomcat, was coming by.  He added that Tomcat had a woodie.  Now, I’m not prudish by any means, but something like that just seemed to be an overload of information.  Before I inserted my foot and chewed it off at the dotted line, Tomcat drove by in his Ford station wagon with actual wooden panels down the side and a surfboard rack on top.  Fuzzy asked me if that wasn’t the greatest woody I’d ever seen.  Um, yup; the greatest.  Actually, it was the first one I’d seen.

They were going out so Point Reyes to see how the surf looked.  Having to head back home soon, I had to decline, but asked to go another time.  They assured me I could go next time and zoomed out of sight.  Judging by the amount of blue smoke, Tomcat’s woody actually burned wood also.

Part two of my quest to be a surfer consisted of nudging a request for either a surfboard, or money to buy one towards my dad.  This was going to be very difficult as my dad was hard to get any money out of.  I was totally surprised when he mulled it over and said he’d see what he could do.  Not wanting to push my luck, I let the matter simmer right there.

He gave me the bad news the next day.  He was under the impression that a surfboard was something you slid on across incoming surf.  That actually being a ‘boogie board’, and was not very expensive.  When he pronounced an actual surfboard as being completely out of the realm of possibility I was crestfallen.  He went on to say that if I agreed to mow our lawn, trim shrubbery, wash the car, and balance the national budget, for the rest of my life he’d buy me a surfboard.  Sign right here son, in blood please.

Well, it was a thought.  Now I’d have to figure out a way to get one myself.  Back over to Fuzzy’s house I went and explained my predicament.  He had me follow him to his garage and stand under the trap door while he rummaged in the attic.  Eventually, amid grunts, groans, and an enormous bang, the nose of a surfboard emerged from the hole in the ceiling.  Fuzzy told me to catch the board and let it go.

Fortunately his brother’s plastic pool toy was where the tip of the board hit.  It bounced once and clattered to the floor.  Fuzzy admonished me to be more careful so I wouldn’t get it dingy.  It looked pretty dusty to me already so when I asked what he meant he just repeated what he’d said before, but emphasized the last part:  ‘get A dingy’.  Ah, now I understood, not “din-gey” but “ding-ie”.  I had a lot to learn.

Covered in cobwebs, Fuzzy dropped from the ceiling and explained that this was his old board and I was welcome to use it but I had to refinish it.  Currently, the finish was a cross between apple red and moldy cheese.  Large areas of the board were devoid of any finish at all, mainly the underside.  On one edge there appeared to be a small shark bite.  When asked, Fuzzy explained that he’d hit a rock.  What a relief as I figured his toes would have been very close to that particular spot.

I spent the next month working very hard at making the surfboard presentable.  This particular model was made of balsa wood.  It was very light and had a nice shape to it.  The tail fin had the tip broken off so I made a new fin in wood shop.  I had to do that surreptitiously because any project had to be approved by the shop Gestapo and mine wasn’t.  For ease of handling, I left the fin off until last.

My knuckles were wrapped with bandages, my fingers abounded with blisters, and my dad’s garage was completely taken over by my refinishing efforts.  Two sawhorses held the board while I sanded.  I was told by both Fuzzy and Tomcat that to use an electric sander was not a good idea because it took too much of a bite; hand sanding only.

Finally, I pronounced the board ready and began the task of spreading hot, melted, epoxy resin all over it uniformly.  It was very difficult, and on two occasions, I had to wait until it was dry and re-sand it off because it was too thick.  I slaved though the rest of May before it was done.  I had a small party consisting of Fuzzy, Tomcat, and I when I attached the fin.  The surfboard was done.

The three of us were pretty fast friend now and had taken a few trips out to see how the surf was.  On every occasion, it didn’t seem very good conditions.  Waves were listless, somewhat flat, and crossed each other regularly – a sure sign of a rip tide.  Not a good thing for surfing, or a surfer.  I watched from the shore as they tried their boards.  I saw how well they managed their boards and thought I could do at least as well.  Fuzzy promised that June was always a good month.

In the process of entering the world of surfing and surfers I acquired a huge amount of new, and incomprehensible, vocabulary.  Suffice it to say that I now got the same puzzled looks I once gave when I spoke Surfer.  I also was introduced to girl surfers.  Who knew!  I kind of hung out with one in particular who went by the name of Stringbean.  Her real name was Susan.  She was spare and tall enough to look me in the eye barefooted.

The movie “Gidget” had just come out this April and all sorts of things like beach parties, nighttime fires on the beach, and necking were foremost in my mind as the real surfing season approached.  The official start of the season was to be the first weekend after school let out.  Even non-surfers were going to be at the huge beach party planned.  I invited Susan.  Oh, by the way, my new name was simply “Newguy”.

In the meantime, while I was slaving away on my surfboard, my car arrived from Germany down at the Oakland Army dock.  Tomcat drove me down to pick it up.  Aside from a dead battery, it looked just fine to me.  I checked the level of gas in the tank because I had been told they sometimes drain the gas out.  I had barely enough to get to the gas station we’d seen outside the gate.  I fired it up with the assistance of jumper cables and back north we went.

I didn’t need a rack for the surfboard because I had a convertible.  One just stuck it in back, hooked under the front seat, and drove away.  Since it would hold two boards, Susan usually had me drive her anywhere.

The afternoon of the big party arrived and we wound our way through the hills to the shore.  One whole area had been taken up with racks big enough for ten boards each.  Two ‘weenie huts’ had been set up to dispense hot dogs and hamburgers with all the fixings.  A solemn line of porta-potties were set up for our use as the actual park rest rooms were almost a half-mile down the beach.  Jessie Owens couldn’t have made it in time.

There were several dudes out sitting on their boards waiting to see how the surf ran.  Fuzzy was one of them, but his cohort Tomcat was sitting down eating a hot dog.  Susan and I joined him.  We talked and pointed out at the ocean taking note of where the kelp beds were.  Nobody wanted to be surfing along and run afoul of a kelp bed.  Your fin would hit the stringy mass and the board would stop dead – you wouldn’t – and before you could shout ‘Cowabunga!’ you were not only walking the nose, but about two feet past it.

Despite my snazzy dress (rubber sandals, long legged swim suit (called ‘jammers’), tank top, and shades, I had never actually been in the water aboard a surfboard.  I could talk the talk, but I hadn’t as yet walked the walk (or swum the swim??).  That was going to change today for sure.

Around noon, the wave action began to pick up and more surfers joined the early crowd.  I casually walked over to the rack and hefted my board, only to drop it very close to the feet of an enormous senior who had muscles on top of all his other muscles.  “Hot dog?” no thanks, I’ve already eaten.

I eased the board out in front of me and paddled out to the group.  Nervously, I awaited my first wave.  Chatter began to wane as I felt the rise and fall of a couple of decent swells.  First one, and then many more, began paddling like crazy for the beach, preparing to stand up.  I followed slowly, but with increasing speed as I began to go downhill.  I was back to skiing!  Oh no!

I was saved this time by my board.  It overbalanced when I leaned forward, and dug the nose into the water.  I was unceremoniously dumped to the side and into the water.  I captured my board as it went past.  I had missed the wave.  I swam back to the starting point and waited some more.

My next attempt was a little better.  I managed to kneel on the board as it picked up speed.  By leaning back a little I found that I could slow it down, leaning forward made it speed up.  That was fine but now there was someone directly ahead of me.  I sure wish I knew how to turn.  I faked a good one though by grabbing the rail and lifting myself completely over on one side.  This, of course, put the board riding me which is not exactly proper.  Back to the starting point.

A large wave began forming behind me and I joined the already furiously paddling throng.  Before I really knew what had happened, I was actually standing on the board.  With arms flailing the air, and knees bent, I rushed directly at the beach which seemed very close but wasn’t.  Concentrating on my major feat of not falling down, I kept my delicate balance until the wave broke over me.  This, in my case, was called a wipeout and would probably rate a minus three from any judges there may have been.  Unfortunately, the only person who saw me was Susan.  She was rolling all over the blanket, pounding her fists into the sand and laughing loudly – even after I pulled my head out of my ass.

Where is the snow when you need it?

T.O.M.

The Rhineland on 75 cents a day (1)

May 13, 2010

One fine spring day, just after school let out, a bunch of us were hanging around the Teen Club wondering what to do with ourselves.  All sorts of schemes were offered and shot down until the subject of a bike trip surfaced.  Nowadays, the mention of a bike trip gives visions of snarly Harleys and happy Hondas, but to us in the mid-1950’s it simply meant a bicycle trip.

We kicked the idea around and the more we talked about it the better it sounded.  We dragged out maps and planned a route that would take us generally east towards the Mosel River.  To get there we would have to navigate the Kyll River and a couple of other minor streams.  In Germany, most roads would approach a river at almost a right angle, sweep down one bank, cross the river, and run back up the opposite side to continue onwards in the original direction.  When you are on a bike, the trip down is a real treat, but the trip back up can be very difficult.  Virginia and I found that out previously in our little adventure which I chronicled here: (https://tom1950.wordpress.com/2009/05/25/drinking-and-%E2%80%9Cwake-up-little-susie%E2%80%9D/).

We were pretty far along in the planning when one of the girls spoke up and asked if they were invited also.  We replied that of course they were.  This sparked another debate which swirled around parental permission based on how many chaperones we’d have.  Chaperones – we don’t need no steenkin’ chaperones.  Final answer: Oh, Yes You Do Buster!

Now we really were debating about who we would ask for this honor.  A priority list was made up of persons we thought might be able to make the trip, followed by persons who had a large enough vehicle to be able to hold one or more bicycles if necessary, and finally, those that would just ‘go along for the ride’ in those vehicles.  We had thirteen names at the end.  Two of us were designated to ask everyone on the list if they would be willing to chaperone our touring group.

When the dust settled, we had four who would attempt the trip on their own bicycles, and three who were willing to drive their cars from one stopping point to the next carrying our personal gear.  A pretty fair division of labor and which also gave us seven adults in every place we stopped.  Since two of our stops were to be camping grounds we definitely needed the two station wagons and the one VW camper for cooking.

When the dust settled and we were down to actually making the reservations at the inns we were planning to stay at there were thirteen teens and three chaperones on bicycles.  The rest would drive out and meet us at our various stops.  One person, who drove a station wagon, carried a toolkit, spare inner tubes and a first aid kit that the base hospital and put together for us.  Hopefully, we wouldn’t need it, but one never knows.

Our trip was to cover a total of about a hundred twenty kilometers (roughly 75 miles) and we planned on doing it in seven days.  Granted, this is only around eleven miles a day, but we were in no hurry at all and, most importantly, there were lots of hills we would have to walk up.  The four inns we wanted to stop at were located in Binsfeld, Wittlich, Mühlheim and Niersbach.  The other three nights we would just camp out in a field beside the road.

I had two cameras; one personal and one from the PAO (Public Affairs Office) to make a visual journal of our trip.  Virginia consented to carry the extra film I would need.  Mine was black and white but the PAO camera would use color.  This way, I could develop my own pictures.  We were ready for the trip to begin.

In the week that followed our finalization of plans everyone was busily getting their bikes ready for the trip.  Questionable tires were replaced and the bikes themselves tuned, oiled, and greased.  I added a nice rear fender pannier to hold incidentals (and my cameras) so I wouldn’t have it hanging around my neck all the time.

In the last week of June we headed out from the parking lot in front of the school and made our way to the main gate.  A lot of kids on their bicycles rode along with us to the gate, but peeled off and went home as we passed through them.

For those of you who have never been in Europe – or at least back in the mid fifties – the roads in any town at that time were mostly cobblestones.  Lanes set aside for bicycles (of which there were literally hundreds on the road at any given time during the day) existed and were normally paved with asphalt.  This was in town.  Outside town you were on your own along roads that were pretty narrow.  Not so narrow that you were in constant danger of getting hit but narrow enough.   Two busses could pass each other, but that would leave little room for a bike.  Everyone riding had either a rear view mirror mounted on their handlebars, or wore a cap with a stem-mounted mirror on it.  Bike riders were so very common, especially in the summer, that drivers would take special care when on the road.

We descended the rather steep road down the hill from the base and entered the town of Bitburg.  Our immediate goal was to cruise down the hillside, run through Albach and cross the Kyll River.  Virginia and I pedaled side by side in the middle of a chain of bikers riding no more than two abreast.  There was a nice bike and walking trail running next to the road that made it much easier because we didn’t have to keep looking for vehicles coming up behind us.  This is the same route Virginia and I took to get to our friends house over in Spangdahlem.

We coasted all the way down to the bridge, stopped for a moment to tamp down objects that had shaken loose, and to take some pictures.  Ahead of us was a rather long climb but much more gentle than the hill we had just come down.  The first half of the upward climb we pedaled, but about halfway up we all dismounted and walked.  No reason to tire ourselves out struggling up a hill.

We reached the plateau on top and skirted the town of Metterich and a huge field of plowed ground.  It would have been shorter to go directly across, but we could find no path through the field.  And, being freshly plowed, the farmer would, no doubt, take a dim view of us crossing it.  Once around the field, the road leveled off and pedaling became much easier and allowed us to use higher gears.

In Dudeldorf we paused at the town fountain to renew the wet cloths around our necks and generally rest a moment.  Some German school kids stopped and we chatted for a while with them.  They tried our their textbook English and we spoke our various forms of German – some good, some not so good.  A few pictures were taken of us standing in front of the fountain and such.  Mounting our bikes, we strung out along the road towards another hill down to a small creek.  This one was much easier as we didn’t have to walk at all.

Passing over the brim of the hill on the way up, Spangdahlem Air Base lay before us.  We debated going on base for something to eat and decided we couldn’t take the time to do so.  We passed the turn off for the gate and took the road that curved around the business end of the runway.  As we were just passing the runway overrun, a flight of two F-100’s took off right overhead.  I had never realized just now noisy they were until they were only about two hundred feet above me on full afterburner.  We all took to shouting at one another for five minutes after that until our ears opened up again.

The route through Binsfeld was pretty narrow because the old buildings were sitting with their front doors almost right on the edge of the road.  We slipped into a single file until we got to the center of town.  We stopped when we reached the inn where we were to spend the first night.  It was located off the main street by quite a bit and took us two false tries down side roads to find it.

It was a wonderful old building set next to, or actually a part of, a milling operation for wheat and other grains.  There was a huge garden behind it with rose arbors, patches of colored flowers all around and walkways between them.  To one side was a Biergarten, which the chaperones told us was off limits because they, um, sold beer.  Rats!

Most of us were a little sore from our first day’s travel, but managed to totter around the village and sightsee.  Virginia and I plus two other couples went out together and sought a shop where we could buy some thin gloves.  I had worn a blister on the palm of my hand and didn’t want to make it worse and two others were ready to form one.  One of the others found what we were looking for, but I had to translate for them as they didn’t have a lot of German.  The woman behind the counter thought I was a guide for the Americans and was a bit surprised when she found I was one of ‘them’.

We all met back in the café across the street from the inn and had dinner.  Following a great meal, we trooped over to the inn and sorted ourselves into our various rooms; boys with boys and girls with girls.  We had already sworn amongst ourselves that no hanky and/or panky would be undertaken by anyone – male or female.  This was, after all, going to be a great trip and we just didn’t need any drama in our backpacks.

As I lay down that evening, I wondered just how lucky I was to be sharing a room with two guys that thought belching was a really hilarious pastime.  Amid the blerts, braaps, and impressive beeeeooooops, I finally got to sleep.

T.O.M.

In Merrie Olde England (Pt.3)

March 1, 2010

A very tall guy answered the door when Tom pushed the bell.  He greeted Tom, glanced at me, and looked over the two girls as they passed by.  We were ushered into a small but cozy living room where perhaps five couples were sitting on various pieces of furniture.  The noise level was deafening as they all were talking at the same time.  My eyes smarted from the cigarette smoke.  It seemed as if every one of them had a lit smoke of some kind.

Our host, Reginald (call me ‘Reggie’) pointed to me and indicated that my name was Tom also.  It was agreed that for tonight I’d me known as ‘Yank’.  How they knew that without me saying more than five words I’ll never know.  Maybe it was the way I dressed or something.

The group turned out to be quite cosmopolitan.  Among them were me, a yank, two from Wales (wherever that was), four from way up north in Liverpool, a very tiny, dark, Indian girl who sat in a corner, and one guy with a Dutch-sounding name that I didn’t quite catch.  Everyone called him Vannie.  A glass was shoved into my hand and I was waved over to the table upon which sat a huge collection of booze, mixer, ice, and munchies.

I opted for just a glass of some dark type of soda.  It turned out to be grape of all things.  With a small dish of stuff to nibble on, I found a place to sit between the Indian girl and a large guy from Liverpool.  He gave his name again, Alf, and turned back to the girl he was chatting with.  I leaned over and tried to talk to the Indian girl.  She never once looked at me, but said her name was Gin.  I had her repeat it but it definitely was ‘Gin’.  I assumed it was the short version of her actual name.

She told me she was from a place called Sirideo Beach on the west coast of India.  Her parents ran an automobile dealership there and sent her here to London to school.  I was very surprised to find she was two years older than me; almost nineteen.  Never assume, I repeated in my mind; never assume.  I told her I lived in Germany and was just here for a vacation while my dad went to a conference.

As we talked, she gradually lost some of her shyness.  Once, when she looked directly at me, I saw she had almost black eyes.  They were beautiful and captivating.  Before I made an ass of myself, I thought, I’d better check on the whereabouts of Connie – ostensibly my date.  When I spotted her, she was crowded into the corner of a couch with a guy sitting entirely too close to her.  She appeared nervous and kept tugging down the hem of her skirt, which was short to begin with.  The way he had her sitting, it rode up on her thighs; a lot.  Gin followed my gaze and stood to excuse herself.  As she walked by, I actually caught the smell of jasmine.  Which, as it turned out, was my favorite cup of tea.  I hoped fervently that I hadn’t made her mad.

I mingled with the rest of the gang.  I had a very hard time decoding accents, but, over time, I seemed to at least get the gist of what they were saying.  My evening consisted of a lot of ‘uh huh’s and ‘yes-no’ answers.  They probably thought I was an idiot.

The birthday girl, Gwen, stood to our toasts and giggled.  She had been steadily sipping on a special bottle of wine on the table and had killed almost all of it.  She was pretty tiddly by the time it came to open presents.  She had a small pile of them around her feet as she sat back down on the couch.  After opening the second gift I knew that they were supposed to be gag gifts.  The first one was a nightgown about six inches long.  Just enough material to cover her shoulders.  The second one, which never got out of the box, appeared to be very embarrassing because she turned scarlet and hastily put the lid back on.

Tom leaned over and said “that was mine.  I got her a peek-a-boo bra.  The kind where the nipples stick out through little holes.  Not that she really needs it though.”

He was right.  Gwen wasn’t very well endowed chest-wise.  She was pleasant to look at though and that wouldn’t have matter to me at all.  But, according to Tom, she was going out with Reginald.  Maybe she’d wear it for him.

People drifted in, had a few drinks, and then drifted back out.  Time passed quickly and the original group thinned somewhat as members left – mostly two by two.  Gin came over and sat next to me on the love seat.  When she touched my arm I jumped.  Her hands were like ice.  When I asked her where she had been, she pointed down the hall.

“There’s a small room at the end of the hall where Reginald doesn’t allow smoking.  I had the window open.”

“Oh, really?  I could definitely use some fresh air,” I remarked starting to rise.  “This smoky room is getting to me.”

“I will go with you,” she said, rising also and putting her arm across my back to steady me because I wobbled a little.  “Mind the rug, Tom.”

I loved the way she said my name.  She would say the ‘o’ long instead of short, drawing it out to an ‘oo’ sound; making it sound like ‘tome’.  Have I mentioned she was very pretty?

We went down the hall and into the smoke-free room, closing the door after us.  It was dark, but she turned on a small light next to a desk.  I went to the window, opened it a little, and took several deep breaths.  I could feel my head clearing.  As I looked out the window I could see down two rather large roads.  Bright headlights were in a continuous river but they looked odd until I realized that they were on the ‘wrong’ side for me.  I chuckled.

Gin came over and looked at me.  I explained what had made me laugh.  She looked at me quizzically and asked me why that was different?  I started to explain and then remembered that they drove on the left in India also.  No wonder she didn’t see the humor of it.  I was the different one here.  She told me that she would be terrified to drive on the right side like we did.  This echoed my first impression when I left the London airport.

She stood closer yet, put her hand on my shoulder, and leaned out the window to point.

“Down that way is a very nice park.  Down where no light show.  And over here where all the bright lights are…” she pointed, “… is Linford Christie Stadium.  Do you follow football?”

I did the mental translation from English ‘football’ to what we Yanks call ‘soccer’ and told her no I didn’t.  I added that the Germans called it ‘Foosball’.  She giggled at that.  She could put so much into a single noise like giggling.  It suited her.

I noted that she hadn’t dropped her hand from my shoulder and took a chance.  I slipped my arm around her very lightly on the pretense of working the window winder lever.  She didn’t pull away from me at least.  I left my arm there and tightened it just a little.  We stood that way for a moment and then she turned away to sit back down.  I thought that I’d blown it until she patted the cushion next to her on the love seat.  She reached out with both hands and I covered them with my own, warming them.  Her fingers were still like ice.  I rubbed them briskly and for some wild reason I bent down and kissed the back of her hand.

I heard an intake of breath and thought that now she would get up and walk out of the room.  But, she didn’t.  She instead looked directly at me and in an unblinking gaze moved her face close to mine and kissed me right on the lips.  I was stunned.  I swallowed a couple of times, lowered her hands to her lap, and returned her kiss.

An indistinct sound, footsteps down the hall, and a knock on the door interrupted us.  It was Tom, come looking for me.  Before I could give Gin any indication that I’d prefer her company, she stood up and smiled at me again.

“We must get back to the party.  I would find it most enjoyable to stay here, but I am not free from obligations.”

‘Oh, no,’ I thought to myself.  ‘She’s married?”

“I am soon to graduate and go back to India to be my father’s bookkeeper.  He has arranged for me to marry one of his managers.”

‘Nuts,’ I mused internally.  “Oh I am sorry to hear that Gin.  Could you just stay a little longer?”

“I, too, would like to remain, but I must go.”

Meanwhile, Tom had tapped again a bit stronger and added that he knew I was in here.  She slowly removed her hands from between mine and turned to the door.  I followed dejectedly.

When I opened the door, Tom stepped back to let her by.  Then he told me that we’d better be going back to the hotel as the trains only run every hour after midnight.  I glanced at my watch and found that it was nearing eleven thirty.  We did need to get moving.  I made the rounds of everyone who was left and wished Gwen a happy birthday.  I didn’t even see Gin before Tom handed me my jacket and almost pushed me out the door.

“Hey, wait a minute, Tom.  What’s the big hurry?”

“Gin’s an untouchable, man.  That’s what’s wrong.”

“What?!  Untouchable?  What do you mean?”

“Her dad has spies all over the place.  Everywhere she goes is reported back to him.  He takes her marriage contract very seriously.  None of us guys can even get her alone and you manage to do it in one night.”

“Yeah, but, untouchable?  That’s nuts.”

“Part of the culture, man.”

“But we only kissed a couple of times.”

His eyes got wide and he stopped suddenly.

“Oh, cor!  Don’t tell anyone that.  Nobody at all.  Right?”

“Well, okay.  If you say so.”

“I say so.”

We resumed walking towards the tube station.  Down the steps we went and waited on the platform for the train.  Right at midnight it appeared and we boarded for our trip back to the hotel.  Twenty minutes later, we arrived.  I said my goodbyes to Tom and went on upstairs in the creaky old elevator.  He headed home because he was on duty again tomorrow, or today, at noon.

A great party and an introduction to yet another culture; for me, strange, but to her it made perfect sense.  I thought that maybe some research into arranged marriages might help me figure it out as I drifted off to sleep.

T.O.M.

Anyone for a tuck’n’roll?

February 7, 2010

Coming to California from Europe, as I did in my sophomore year of high school, I never really had any idea what fads, local teen culture, or speech patterns would be like.  So, when several of the guys were sitting around in auto shop and the talk turned to our own cars I was unprepared for a statement made by one of them.

“I hear Bennie got his car tucked and rolled.”

I piped up before anyone else and solicitously asked if anyone had gotten hurt.

There was a dead silence for several seconds and then everyone, but me, broke out laughing.  I kind of chuckled along until it died out.  Ted took pity on me and told me what that meant.

“It means, Doofus, that he had the upholstery worked over so that it had little rolls in it.  Kinda like a quilt.  They do stuff like that down in Tijuana, Mexico.  Everyone piles into the car on Friday night and heads down south.”

“But, doesn’t it take a while to get down there?”

“Depends on how fast you go, doesn’t it?”

“Well, yeah.  I guess so.  What does it look like; the tuck’n’roll?”

“Where you been living?  Under a rock?”  Jibed Ding.

“He’s the new guy.  Came here from overseas.”  Explained Herm.

“I just got here last month.  I lived in Germany for three years so most of the time I don’t have a clue what everyone is talking about.”  Confessed me.

“Oh.  Come on out to parking and take a look at mine.”

I followed him out and into the student parking lot.  He led me to a glossy purple ’55 Chevrolet that looked like someone had cut the top off and glued it back on, but about six inches lower.  When he opened the door and I looked in I saw what he meant.

It looked like white leather and had little black threads along the seams.  I ran my hand across it.  Very smooth.  When I glanced around I saw that the door panels, side panels, seats, and even the headliner had been done the same way.  Very cool.

“Wow.  How much did this cost you?”

“The job was only a hundred and a half, but the whole trip cost me around two fifty; including bail.”

“Bail?  Like in jail?”

“Yeah.  We got a little rowdy and messed up a place a little.  We got stuck in the TJ drunk tank overnight.  My dad was pissed at me.”

“Well, the price certainly sounds reasonable to me.  When my car gets here I’d like to get this done to it.”

“Your car?  Whatcha got?”

“Volkswagen Karmann Cabriolet.  It’s a convertible.”

“A what?”

“A Volkswagen.  It’s a German car.  Very popular over there.  You probably won’t see one here because they aren’t exported.”

“What kind of engine does it have?”

“Four cylinder, stick shift, 4-speed plus reverse.  The engine is in the back.”

“In the back!  Where’s the trunk then?  In the front?”  He laughed.

“Yeah, with the gas tank”

He stopped laughing as I explained my strange little car.  When I got to the horsepower he started laughing again.

“Thirty-six horses?  That’s practically a two-door motorcycle.  Hoot, hoot, hoot!”

“Yeah, but I can get it up to around eighty-five or ninety though.”

He sobered again as I repeated my claim.  I’d had it wide open on the Autobahn and even though I’d been passed by lots of cars, I thought that was pretty good for such a small engine.  We talked a while about both his and my car and went back into the shop.

“Hey guys, he’s got a car coming over here from Germany that’s got the engine in the back and runs a whole thirty-six horses.”

One of the other guys piped up and said that he’d heard about them in one of his car magazines.  “Seems they get really good gas mileage.”  He said.

“I usually got around 640 kilometers on a tank of gas.  My tank holds around 45 liters of gas.”

“What the hell does that mean – in English?”

“Sorry.  That’s around 400 miles on, mmmm, about 11 gallons.”

He grabbed a piece of paper and did a fast calculation.  When he told the rest of them that my mileage was around 40 miles per gallon they began hooting.  I did my best to convince them it was true.  Eventually the subject drifted back to making a run to TJ to get a tuck’n’roll on Terry’s car.  All in favor say ‘Aye!’

“Aye!”  We all shouted.

It was several weeks later when we finally got clearance from our parents to make the road trip.  I didn’t have any trouble at all because I’d been making trips all over Germany and surrounding countries for quite a while.  Eventually, only five of us were going.  One Friday evening, after grabbing burgers to go, we piled into Terry’s car and headed south on the highway towards San Francisco.  Buzz was driving.

Navigating anywhere was never a problem for me because I seemed to have a ‘bump of direction’ that always told me which way I was heading.  When this bump began shouting at me that we were headed west and not south, I spoke up.  I was shouted down up until we crested a hill and was greeted by a magnificent view of – the Pacific Ocean.

“Uh, Buzz.  Unless Mexico has moved, we ARE headed the wrong direction.”

“Just checking to see if you guys were awake.  Heh, heh,” said Buzz as he hung a left at the next street.

Onward we went.  Down past the airport and into San Jose.  We changed drivers a few times but finally got to Ventura before we had to pull over and crash for a while.

A loud tapping on the roof of the car woke all of us.  It was a highway patrol.  He told us we’d have to move along.  No sleeping in rest stops.  Groggily, we tossed for who got to drive and drove off.  Everyone else crashed again.

I found out that it was true about seeing Los Angeles city limits signs hundreds of miles away from Los Angeles.  I saw the first one way north of Santa Barbara as we began waking up.

Luckily, it was a Saturday so travel through LA wasn’t all that bad.  The main problem was all the stop and go traffic.  Only small portions of what they called freeways were completed.

Finally, after a little over five hundred miles, we cruised through San Diego and reached the border.  A quick flash of our driver’s licenses and we entered Mexico.  Herm had the piece of paper with the address of the guy who did Ted’s car so he kept us all alert for different roads.  It seemed as if every turn we made took us into a more run down area than the last.  I expected to be rushed by a gang and killed at any moment.

We arrived at a really run down shack with a broken garage sign over the door.  When we parked, a couple of guys in ratty jeans came out and we began to dicker with them about what we wanted.  They opened all the doors, peeked into the truck, thumped, banged, and tapped every surface and named their price.  We countered with a figure around two thirds of their price.  They chattered back and forth and finally their faces lit up with smiles and we shook hands all around.

They took us inside and let us look through books with loads of pictures of cars they had done (maybe).  I tapped Ding on the shoulder and pointed silently to a couple of pictures of Ted and his car.  At least we had the right place.  Terry settled on a very nice shade of blue for everything horizontal and insisted on pure white for vertical surfaces.  I thought it would look very nice when done; so did he.

It was around ten in the morning and we hadn’t eaten as of yet.  Buzz asked the guys where we could get some food and he pointed down the street to a Cantina.

“Good food.  Good food,” he assured us, pointing emphatically at the sign.

I grabbed a couple of his business cards, and then we walked down and tried to make sense of the menu.  I knew from previous experience that ‘taco’ was a good thing and, when I saw that on the menu, I asked for it.  In fact, it turned out to be a Grande Taco; just like the one I’d had years ago.  All five of us had a beer to wash things down; then, another one to just be sociable.  We stopped before three however when I related Ted’s story of being put up in the TJ jail.

The guys had told us to come back at four.  So, what do we do now was the question.  We agreed that perhaps walking around might be not a good thing to do so we asked the buy behind the counter to call us a taxi.  Since one slid to a stop two minutes later I figured he had to be waiting around the corner for us to finish our beers.

“Hey.  You boys go see show?”  He asked through his mustache.

Now, we’d heard all about some of those ‘shows’ that we could see in Tijuana.  We’d also heard that sometimes the drivers would take you out and you’d never be heard from again.  We declined and told him to just take us downtown.

With a roar and a cloud of blue exhaust we took of for ‘downtown’; wherever that may be.  The driver had a habit of turning to talk to everyone in the back seat while he drove.  When, for the third time, he drifted over into the opposing lane we got him to pay attention to his driving.  All the while he kept trying to get us to go to a show.

“Very pretty girls.  You see.  You have fun I bet.

No thank you, kind sir, but we prefer a more genteel form of entertainment.  The humor was lost on him.

We slammed to a stop on a crowded street full of signs, mostly advertising bars.  Vehicles of all sorts were weaving in and out of double-parked traffic on both sides of the street.  Girls of all ages, and states of undress, beckoned to us with promises of virginal treasures.  Little kids either pestered us for gum, or offered to shine our shoes.  Never mind that every one of us was wearing sneakers.

I would dodge one salesman only to bump into two more selling everything from fake diamond rings, to fake treasure maps.  Loads of plastic items were piled high on tables that we passed in hopes that someone would be crazy enough to buy something.

Every bar entrance we passed had a slickly dressed guy that would try and drag us into his place.  Free this, and free that, was the cry.  I was thirsty as hell and when I mentioned this we all agreed to look for some place we could just get a soda.  We finally found what passed for a drugstore in the next block.

Even sitting at the counter sipping Cokes the kids would pester us.  There was some guy dressed as a guard that made sure that only kids that were allowed to pester us would gain entrance.  The rest he would yell and scream at until they ran away jeering at him.

Onward we walked until we reached a small park.  By the time we found a bench to sit on, we began to get very well built girls passing us and smiling with bright white teeth.  Some would simply circle the park and return with regularity.  We began a numbering system to rate each one.  One of the girls, a ten, went so far as to approach me and ask for a light to her cigarette.  When she bent over, the open neck of her scooped blouse fell away and I was able to see complete through it to the pavement beneath her feet.  Nice little puppies nestled in there also.

“Talk about jail.  There’s the bait right there,” Herm said as the girl walked away with an exaggerated sway to her hips.

We wandered aimlessly back and forth the busy streets until three thirty rolled around.  I dug out a business card and we flagged down a cruising cab.  The first one just shook his head and indicated he didn’t know where it was.  The second one nodded and opened the passenger door.  We piled in and zoomed off.

We were apparently going back by a different route than we had come.  When I saw the back of a building I was sure we had passed in front of once before I told Buzz and Ding who were sitting on either side of me.  All five of us managed to convince the cabby to get to the shop right away.

The two guys were waiting for us with smiles on their faces.  With a flourish, one of them pushed aside the garage door and waved us in.  Terry’s car was sitting in the middle of the floor with all the doors open.  Brilliant white glowed from the side panels as we approached.  We looked into the back seat and saw the blue of the seat cushion and the neat little rows of stitched white vertical ribbons running across the back.  It was a true work of art.

“Man, that is one cool set of upholstery you have there Terry,” said Ding.

“Yeah.  What the hell is it, leather?”  Chimed in Buzz.

“Is nooga hide,” said one of the garage guys.  “Nooga hide.”

“I think he means ‘naugahyde’.”

“Si, si, nooga hide,” nodded the second guy emphatically.

“Well, I like the hell out of it.  Let’s pay the guys so we can get on up the road.”  I said, reaching for my wallet.

We had split up the money just in case one or more of us got waylaid by anyone.  Now we put it all back in Terry’s hand that, in turn, got passed to the garage guys.  They smiled and chattered among themselves as we got into the car.  We backed out and went down the street towards home – a very long way away from us at the moment.

Somewhere around Paso Robles we pulled off onto a dirt track that meandered between fields of some kind of crop.  This time we hadn’t picked a rest stop so maybe the highway patrol wouldn’t bother us.  They didn’t.

We woke to a very hot and stifling sun.  Fortunately we had enough sense to stock up on sodas earlier the night before, but all the ice had melted in the cooler.  Still, even warm soda for a thirsty person seemed good.  Buzz started it with a huge belch and soon all of us were blasting each other with variations using the warm soda as an initiator.

We got back home sometime after seven that night.  We were very tired, but happy.  Terry would probably sleep in his car until the pleasant smell of fresh nooga hide faded.

T.O.M.

Roller Skating; a real trip

January 21, 2010

The little group of teenagers I was a member of would meet at the church every other Friday evening to do some form of entertainment.  Some evenings we just sat around, danced to records, or played games.  On this fateful evening we decided that we would head for Santa Rosa and go to the skating rink.

My hair rose off the back of my neck as these words sank in – the SKATING RINK!?  Oh, no, not the skating rink.  So far in my life I had managed to avoid looking like a deer on ice by staying away from anything that required me to don either wheels or blades.  Up until now, that is.

Carol, my current girlfriend, piped up and told me that basically it was easy.  Just strap roller skates on our feet, stand up on a really hard wood floor, and move your feet back and forth.  No sweat.

Yeah, sweat.  I’d never been on skates in my life – never.

“Sure,” I said with nervous bravado.  “No problem at all.  Did you know I was captain of the roller skating club in Germany?”

“Yeah, right,” Was all that she said.  “You’re going, if I have to push you around the floor myself.”

Time began to fly by on fleet little wheeled feet and suddenly we were packed into cars and out on 101, headed north.  I figured I had about twenty minutes to live so I tried my best to snuggle Carol.  This was difficult because her friend Tina was between us.

“Hey, watch it buster!”  Tina stated as my hand poked her in the side.

Oops, sorry Tina.

Finally we arrived.  There seemed to be a lot of cars in the lot so I said, hopefully, “It looks like a lot of cars.  What say we go have a soda?  Anyone?”

Silence reigned supreme until Carol’s voice piped up and told me to pipe down.  She dragged me from the car and firmly held my hand as if I might try to run away.  Hah!  Me?

‘Come on Tom.  You aren’t scared, are you?”

“Me.  No way.  Why, I’ll walk right in there and show you a thing or two.”  I said, fighting the urge to add ‘probably my ass going over my shoulders on the way to a three-point landing – nose, forehead and chin’.

“Sure looks like a long line to get skates doesn’t it?  Anyone want to get a soda?”

“Freeze, Tom,” commanded Carol, with a hand on my collar.  “You’re going to do this.”

That’s what I was afraid of – doing this.  With trepidation I faced the kid at the counter and told her my shoe size hoping that they might have run out.

“Eleven and a half left and nine right” I said with a straight face.

She broke up when Carol smacked my on the back of my head.

“Okay, Okay.  Nine and a half – both feet,” I told her.

She rummaged around behind her and slapped two boots on the counter and took my fifty cents.  I eyed them with suspicion wondering if there was any way I could make the wheels so they wouldn’t turn.  That way I could just fake it with gliding strides.

Over at the bench, Carol slipped into her skates and laced them up.  Not wanting to be a complete weenie, I followed her every move up to and almost succeeding putting a little yarn ball on the top lace.  Fortunately, I caught my mistake before anyone saw me.

“You go on ahead, I’ll be along in a minute,” I said, hoping she would do just that.

“No way, Ho Say, you’re gonna go out there right now,” she demanded, taking my hand and pulling me to my feet.

Well, almost to my feet.  One foot went out straight in front of me, the other went almost under the bench, and my ass went directly, do not pass ‘Go’, to the floor.  I smiled; maybe I’d broken a leg.  Hope spring eternal.

Nope, I hadn’t broken anything except smiles on the faces of others as I baby-stepped my way out and onto the floor.  Carol, ever helpful, pulled me along at increasing speed while telling me to ‘move my feet’.

Move my feet?  I could barely move air in and out of my chest, much less move my feet.  And, what direction to I move my feet?  I looked around to see what others were doing and saw that they moved their legs in a short stroking motion with a little flip of the toe of their skates just before they picked up that foot to bring it forward.

I tried a couple tentative strokes and immediately dropped to my hands in a push-up arrangement.

“Just checking to see what kind of wood this was.  Looks very nice.”

“Yeah, right,” Carol said, in a voice laden with sarcasm.  “Get off your hands and stand up again.”

I struggled to my feet in what would have been a hilarious sight if I’d been watching anyone else do it; frightening, in my case.  Arms jutting out, elbows bent, body struggling to stay vertical while those little wheels did their best to fly out from under me.

I had never been able to do any type of split.  I’m told that only girls can do that; boys just aren’t built right.  I proved them wrong in one move.  My right foot shot out in front of me, my left foot shot backwards and I crashed to the floor in agony.  Surely I had injured something important now that my dignity had already been lost.

Skaters simply swerved around me as I whimpered quietly without offering solace.  Carol once again lifted me to my feet, hanging tightly to my waist, and started pushing off with one foot while steering me along.  I began slight movements of my feet to assist her.  This lasted just fine until the straightaway ended and we had to make a sweeping turn.

As we entered it, Carol was hailed by another of our group.  She turned her head, loosened her grip on my waist, and I felt myself gliding rapidly straight ahead.

“Ahhhhhhhhh!”  I screamed, as I headed directly towards the wall.  “Look out I’m…”

I never finished the sentence because I had smacked flat against the far wall.  My vision started swimming, mostly because of the tears in my eyes from my nose hitting first.  I did vaguely recall someone (probably me) screaming something about dying immediately before the impact.

I rebounded nicely though.  I would probably have been awarded at least a 9.5 based on agility alone.  When I fell to the floor on both knees I held out my hands like a runner embracing the finish line.  I was certainly finished.

Passers by claimed I said something like “please mommy, I don’t want to go to school’ but I’ll deny that to the end.

Carol swooped over to me and, once again, helped me up to my feet.  This time, we held each other at the waist and she skated while I coasted.  It seemed a fair division of labor.  I got nervous as we approached the other end of the track, but we navigated the turn and struck out straight yet again.

By the tenth or twelfth circuit I felt I was adding some impetus to the two of us so I slipped my hand from Carol’s waist and simply held her hand instead.  We skated slowly around and around until the music stopped and a disembodied voice announced a ‘blackout’ dance.

I wondered what that meant until almost immediately the lights went out and three spotlights switched on and lit up a rotating glass-chip ball in the middle of the rink.  If anyone thinks that roller skates are disorienting, just imagine how bad they can be when you’re already ON them and the lights go out to be replaced by colored shafts of light that fly about the room.  It was years before the term ‘acid trip’ would be coined, but that’s what comes to mind.

“Turn around.  You skate backwards and I’ll push you,” Carol told me.

“What!  You want me to turn around and go backwards?  I’ll be killed.”

“No, silly.  I’ll guide you.  Now stop being a goof and turn around.”

I complied and she snuggled up close, put her arms around me, and started off.  I must admit that this had its advantages.  She was nice to be close to; was well rounded – both of them pushing nicely into my chest; and she seemed to enjoy it also.

Around and around we went.  I began to relax a little now that my imminent death was apparently postponed for a while.  Over time, I learned how to slide my feet, push off with my toe, and move along by myself.  Carol was close to me to help, but eventually all we did was hold hands and skate along.  We had a grand time until the light flashed twice and the voice said “last dance”.

Carol and I tightened our grip on each other and we sailed around the floor.  Sometimes she was in front, and sometimes I was in front.  I’d learned a lot that night – not the least of which was how to be a good skate.

T.O.M.

Frustration – Post Graduate

January 6, 2010

I awoke Sunday morning after tossing and turning all night.  I was reliving that awful scene in vivid color and stereo sound.  My inner voice kept laughing and taunting me with hindsight’s such as ‘you should have cut out when the third guy cut in’ and the like.  I guess what really burned my beans was that Molly seemed so willing to go along with the rest of them.  I had her pegged as a snooty social climber, but not willing to humiliate someone so badly.  ‘Just chalk it up to experience’ the voice mused, but I couldn’t let it go.

Throughout breakfast I plotted elaborate, highly detailed schemes for extracting revenge. As each one formed I would savor the satisfaction I would get from its implementation.  No matter how bizarre the scenario however I avoided anything that would hurt Molly.  I sensed that maybe she was being used just as much as I because I couldn’t get over the feeling that there were times last night that she actually seemed to enjoy my company.  With an exasperated grunt I pushed it all away mentally and faced the rest of the day.

My Sunday bowling league went okay, if you consider slamming three consecutive gutter balls ‘okay’.  I had a hard time concentrating but managed what would be called a good day’s score.  I kept expecting my buddies to start kidding me about my so-called ‘date’ but they never did.  Was it possible that they hadn’t heard yet?

One of the two Asshole Twins, Lloyd or Leonard, I couldn’t tell them apart, came over and slapped me on the back.  “How’s it going?” was all he said.

“As good as can be expected,” I answered warily.

Here it comes, I though.  Now it will get much, much worse for me.  However, he paused, punched me on the arm, pointed down the alley and walked away with a “keep it up” over his shoulder.  What the hell?  Maybe I should rename them to The Double-Entendre Twins – nah, too long.

After bowling broke up I was walking back home when Sheila and Big Bozo (who’s real name was Frank) approached with Simone in tow.  Simone smiled, showing a great many perfect teeth, while Frank asked if I wanted to grab a hamburger with them.  Now, I may not be the sharpest crayon in the box, but even I thought I knew when I was being conned.  Sheila just looked at me.

“Why would I do such a thing; especially with you guys?”

“Hey, come on man, it was just a joke.  Nobody thought Molly would actually do it,” said Frank.  “It was a dare.”

“She feels really bad about it now.  Come on Tom. Come with us.  She’ll be there,” added Sheila, meaning, I guess, Molly.

“Well, okay.  But if anything looks fishy, I’m outta there.”  When, my inner voice cried, ‘idiot, won’t you EVER learn?’  I mentally told it to shut up.

“Fair enough” said Sheila, and took my arm.

I fully expected to walk into the snack bar and have all the noise gradually fade away like a trite cowboy movie when the sheriff squeaks open the flappy doors, but that didn’t happen.  A couple of my friends noticed me, waved and then returned to their conversations.  We headed to the table with Molly, the other brother, and Slick (Artie).  Molly pulled out a chair next to her and motioned me to sit.

“I really hoped you would come,” she said, gazing into my eyes with all the sincerity she could muster. “That was a pretty mean thing I did and I apologize,” she added, leaning over and pecking me on the cheek.

Artie leaned towards me and further added in a low voice that he was pretty pissed off when Simone did that to him.  Aha!  Did this meant that my whole ordeal was just some prank?  A joke?  I guess now I was supposed to laugh and be big buddies with them.  I managed a rather brief smile and said, “Well, I was kinda at first.”

What a load of crap that was!  I had been plotting various ways to retaliate all morning and now I was supposed to shake it off?  Molly put her hand on my arm and I turned in her direction.  “Please, Tom, it would mean a lot to me if you weren’t mad at us.”

There was that sincerity in her eyes again so I just nodded and turned to the menu.  I considered just standing up and walking away without saying a word, but like it or not, I was still smitten with Molly.  No matter how angry I was, I just couldn’t blame her for doing something I’d done a couple of times personally when I was younger.  I could remember some of the hazing I’d done back in D.C. at Scout camp.  I hadn’t meant to hurt anyone, but I suppose I did actually.  I decided to forgive, but I personally wouldn’t forget.

“Okay, I can see my way clear to forget about it, but just to be clear I will not participate in doing anything like this to anyone else.  Right?”

They all nodded their agreement and we signaled to the waitress that we were ready to order.

Molly and I started out a bit slow but went on a number of dates over the next couple of months.  I took her to dinner downtown as many times as I could afford, which she enjoyed.  She was surprised the first time I spoke German to the waiter and asked me how well I spoke it.  I told her that except for some technical terminology I’d been told I spoke it like a native.  From then on, she would ask me to go with her, and sometimes her mom, to stores downtown to help buy stuff.  I got my first real introduction to a “women’s” store that way.  I didn’t have any idea until then what ‘getting ready for a date’ actually meant; other than my own experiences, that is.  No wonder it took so long to ‘unwrap’ a girl.

On one occasion, she and I went to a movie and spent the whole time in the back row making out.  This time there were no games, giggling, or running away.  She allowed me to unbutton her blouse and put my hands on her breasts.  When I began nuzzling her shoulder, she pulled my head down and guided my lips to the soft rise above her bra.  When I kissed it, she shivered all over.

That was pretty much the fullest extent of any petting we did.  She stuck to her principles and I either had to go along with them or just walk away.  I chose to stay because, as a person and not an object, she was nice to be with.  One by one, she divested herself of the ‘hangers-on’ and became more interested in group activities that the both of us enjoyed.  She and I joined the German-American Club downtown which opened the doors to diverse experiences such as plays and skits, cycling trips, river rafting, and one visit a North Sea beach.  We became, in every sense of the word, very good friends; but not lovers; although there was one time we both ended up in the same room in a Gasthaus.  But that’s another story.

Molly and I stayed together for around six months.  We went to movies, dances, the snack bar, and occasionally downtown to dinner.  The pace of our dating began to slow, falter, and then finally stopped.  I don’t think either one of us could actually point to a time where we decided that our interests were diverging.  We mutually decided to call off whatever romance we had.

We would smile and wave to each other when we crossed paths, but never dated again.  I felt a little hollow for a while, but bounced back when other interests took over.  I noticed a new face showing up near me.  It was attached to a girl named Virginia.

T.O.M.

Frustration 201

January 1, 2010

Our walk to the Base Exchange snack bar was uneventful.  We engaged in small talk for the ten-minute walk.  Overall, I’d have to guess that she talked around ninety percent of the time.  My responses were limited mostly to a quickly interjected ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

We pushed the door open and walked in to a noisy hubbub of music, chatter, clanking glasses, and loud laughter.  She spotted some of her friends sitting at a table and grabbed at my hand to pull me towards them.  I had already met everyone at the table, and most of them, both male and female, I could well do without, but allowed myself to be guided towards them.

“Hey Molly, Tom, how’s it going?”

I opened my mouth, but it was Molly who replied, “Fine. We have just enough time for a quick shake before going to the dance.  Are you guys going?”

Everyone indicated that, yes, they all were going.  One of the male-type people (I had immediately christened ‘The Big Bozo’) in particular put out his hand which Molly took so he could pull her to a chair next to him.  I bristled a bit, as I had to take the chair opposite the table from her.  What the hell, I thought; she was MY date, not his.

I already knew what she wanted so I went to the counter and ordered.  While I waited, I glanced back and saw her smiling and laughing at something the big bozo was saying.  My thoughts were only on how much fun we would have at the dance so I ignored the small voice at the back of my mind that kept repeating ‘you’re in trouble knothead.  She’s way out of your league’.  Against this, I argued ‘yeah, but how bad can it be?’

I suffered mostly in silence as the talk swirled around the table.  I learned who was going skiing, who had a new bunch of records, who was ‘going’ with whom, and all other bits of useless information.  Finally, Molly looked at me and said to the group “We’d better get going.”  En Masse, the entire group pushed back chairs and began putting on coats.  In one big gaggle we walked out the door and flowed towards the school.

So far, the evening was a total bust.  Not only had I really had a chance to get Molly alone much, but also now I was among a group of her friends that would surely monopolize her time.  My inner voice was getting louder, and yet I still ignored it.  After our coats were dropped off in the coatroom, I was able to cut Molly out of the herd and make her amble with me towards the edge of the room.  We found two open seats next to each other and began watching the activity from the sidelines.

There didn’t seem to be much dancing yet, but the music had started and we began tapping toes on the hardwood floor.  Since the dance was in the gym, the acoustics were not too great, but volume was the key, not quality.  As other kids headed for the middle, I asked Molly if she wanted to dance.

“Sure, let’s go”

About halfway through a fast one, I got tapped on the shoulder by Bozo.

“Can I cut in?”  It was not a question as he caught Molly in mid-spin and whirled her away from me.

Well, poop, I thought.  This isn’t going nearly the way I thought it would.  My inner voice agreed and added ‘like, wow, man’.

Molly came back to me on the sidelines just at the start of a nice slow dance and pulled me to my feet.  We started dancing and this time I was determined to keep predators at bay.  She nestled her head into the hollow of my neck and began humming the tune.  “Hey!”  I thought, “This might get better after all”.

Two dances later I was again cut in on by yet another person I had named Slick.  Slick had a high pompadour haircut and was dancing entirely too close to Molly for my tastes.  This was getting monotonous.

A couple of glasses of punch, several more fast dances and another slow one began.  We moved to the dance floor and were again wrapped in each other’s arms.  As we danced, I began to get an erection.  I knew without a doubt that she could feel it when she would bump against me, so I tried very hard to minimize contact.  I think she actually enjoyed my discomfort because I caught her smiling out of the corner of my eye.

‘Is that you?” she whispered as she nuzzled my ear.

“I certainly hope so” I replied.  Probably not the best time to crack wise, but it was the only thing I could come up with on the spur of the moment.

“I’m sorry.  Does this help?”  She asked, shifting her position slightly, which only added more pressure to the object in question.

“Not really” I said, trying my best to relieve pressure without being too obvious about it.  “Can we go sit down for a while?”

“Okay, if you want.  I’m sorry,” she added again.

“It’s okay Molly; don’t worry about it” I added, taking her elbow and moving her slightly ahead of me for cover towards our chairs.

I managed to get the two of us back against the wall without anyone laughing or pointing at my tented slacks and me.  I began mentally berating myself for wearing the tightest pants I own; what was I thinking!

Once seated, I arranged her light sweater across both our laps so I could ‘tend to my pressing problem’.  I was beginning to think that she was a lot cooler person than I had originally thought.  At first, she came on as a real bubblehead, but now, under these circumstances, she had a much calmer demeanor.

She scooted her chair closer to me and held one of my hands – as my other was busy – and then kissed me on the cheek.  Warning bells should have begun clamoring by now as this was very un-Molly-like.  If I had been using my brain cell I would have picked up on her intentions, but, no, not me.  I had almost finished adjustments, when, to my astonishment she reached under the sweater and put her hand directly on the ridge in my pants.

I quickly slammed the door on my little inner voice, turned off all of my situational awareness, and switched into lust mode.  I turned to look at her directly and found her already staring at me.  I think what finally put me into terminal tumescence was when she stuck the tip of her tongue out, slowly ran it over her lips, and squeezed with her other hand.

‘I know where we can go if you want.”

Did I want?  Did I want?  Of course I want.  My pulse rate doubled, my palms began to sweat, and my mouth went totally dry.  Here was what was arguably the prettiest girl of the class asking ME if I wanted to ‘go somewhere’ with her.  What a silly question.

Carefully, we got up and, using her as a cover again, I draped her sweater over my arm and held it in front of me.  As we started walking towards the exit, I felt as if everyone’s eyes were on me but when I glanced around, I saw that not a soul was even looking in our direction.  In a way, I was kind of disappointed. Here I was going to neck with Molly, and nobody I could brag to about it later.  With a gait just a little awkward, I escorted her from the dance and down one of the halls towards wherever she wanted me to go.

“Where are we going Molly?”  I whispered.

“Secret place.  Sheila and I found it last month.  You have to swear you won’t tell anyone.”

“Okay, I won’t” I promised, knowing full well that if it was a really cool place that I might not actually keep that promise.

We worked our way down one hall and over two smaller halls heading, I thought, towards one of the band rehearsal rooms.  I didn’t know of any place near there that would be private but I followed along.  I could hear my inner voice banging on the door to be let out, but I ignored it.  It wouldn’t do to have him ruining the mood.  I was fully capable of doing it myself without his help.

We did in fact reach band rehearsal hall number one.  Molly slowly opened the door, peered in, and took my hand to pull me in.  Once we got inside, she closed the door.  The only light was from a small bulb burning on the raised platform where the director stood during practice.  She kept my hand as she crept across the room and lifted a corner of a huge banner that almost covered the far wall.

Hidden behind the banner was a small, half-sized door with a pull ring on it.  She tugged at it until with a small snap it opened.  I looked hard, but nothing was visible inside.  I mentally mapped this end of the school and thought that this might be an area between the science lab and the typing room.  What it was doing here mystified me.  Mystified or not, I was as ready as ever to investigate.

Molly lifted a leg (showing a lot of sheer silky thigh), stepped over the threshold, ducked her head, and swing into the room.  She leaned back out, and reached for my hand.  Since I had moved a bit closer what she actually grabbed startled both her and I.

“Oops, sorry” she giggled and motioned with her fingers for me to follow her.

“Anywhere” I thought to myself; “I’d follow her anywhere.”

When I stepped over the sill and entered the room fully, she was standing below a small light on the wall.  The room was not very big, but had two larger doors on each side.  One door was definitely not in use because there was a huge piano pushed against it.  The other door was much larger, but had a twist-style lock on it which could be thrown from the inside.  I turned back to the hatch we had come through and could see that it was just an access panel, not a proper door.

“Molly,” I said, “how did you ever find this place?”

“A couple of us girls were in the band room last month and one of the windows was open.  A gust of wind came in and blew the banner a bit.  Sheila told me later that she’d seen a small door behind it.  After class, we peeked and there it was.  It was screwed shut, but she found a screwdriver and we undid the catches.  Now, we can open it when we want.  Neat, huh?”

“I’ll say.  It’s a perfect place to be completely alone.”

“Yeah” she said, and clicked the switch controlling the only light in the room.

Immediately everything went totally black.  I have a good memory, and now I was mapping the room as I had last seen it.  Molly was standing about ten feet directly in front of me, the piano was on my left and two small rolls of grey matting were on my right.  The little door was behind me because I reached back and touched it.  I also had very acute hearing and heard her stepping lightly to my right.  My head tracked the sound but I couldn’t see anything at all.  She giggled.

“Come and find me” she whispered, and then moved again to the side.

I did a Boris Karloff towards her with my arms outstretched and walking slowly.  I touched her shoulder, I think, but she dodged away again.  She must have been crouching down as she moved because there was nothing at shoulder height any more.  I turned towards rustling and again reached out.  This time I found smooth skin – an arm?

“Tag, you’re it” I teased and stood still.

An arm came at me from my left this time and wrapped around my waist.  When I turned towards it, she held fast and put the other one around me.  When she leaned in towards me I began to figure out what the rustling was.  She had unbuttoned the front of her blouse and her bra-clad breasts were poking me in the ribcage.  Oh, man, I thought.  This was something I had longed to see and couldn’t make out a thing.

She moved her head close to my neck and nipped at my collarbone with her lips.  This was the spark that ignited my lust again.  I shot to attention just as she pushed her hips against mine.  My erection was trapped against her firmly.

“Ooooh, that feels wicked and warm.  What are you hiding down there?”

“You know very well what’s down there Molly” I teased.  “The question is: what are we going do about it?”

Meanwhile, I had had enough of her breasts poking me in the chest and brought my hands up.  She grabbed them and stopped me before I made contact, telling me to wait.  Wait, I thought; wait for what?

More rustling.  This time I was sure she had taken off her blouse because she allowed my hands to complete their journey around her shoulders.  As I pulled her closer, they dropped down her back and encountered her bra strap.  While I was occupied in unfastening the clasp, she started a circular movement of her hips against mine.  I didn’t know if I could take much more of this without some serious relief.

The bra hooks finally opened (after I figured out there were more than one hook – who knew?)  It fell away to the floor and she pulled herself closer to my chest.  I could feel those soft breasts pushing against me as she slid her hands downward and rested them on each of my hips.

“So, now what can we do Tom?  How about this?”  She asked, pulling on my belt.

By now, the little voice had battered down the door I had locked him behind and was screaming in my inner ear “Dammit, Tom, she’s playing with you!  Listen to me.  She’s out to break you.”  I wasn’t listening; I was terminal and nothing short of all out sex was going to help me.  She yanked again on my belt, worked the pin out, and pulled it open.  This was followed immediately by my top button and soon the sound of my fly zipping down filled the air.

Oh, damn, she was really going to set me free here I thought, but she suddenly stopped and pushed against my chest.  This moved me away from her and, when I tried to follow, my pants fell down and tripped me.  Down I went holding my hands in front of me to break the fall.  I landed on both palms fortunately and did an impromptu push-up.  She had moved again because all I found was her blouse and bra.  She giggled in the darkness to my left this time.

I managed to pull my pants back up and stuff myself, painfully, back into them.  Where the hell was she now I wondered?  Standing completely still, I sensed that she was moving further to my left – over by where the rolled up mats were.  I moved quietly in that direction and reached out, low this time.

I touched her skirt on this try which caused another giggle.  Crap!  She WAS playing with me.  I reached out again with both hands and landed on each side of her hips.  I held tightly to the bunched up skirt as she turned to one side and back to the other.  When she did this I noticed that only she turned, not her skirt.  It was lying loosely around her hips and, as I moved closer, it began to slide downward.

Over the last few minutes my erection had waned, but now it popped back strongly and threatened to make an appearance without anyone’s help.  I was hit by so many emotions at once; I simply hadn’t the processing power to figure out what to do next since all the blood had drained from my brain.  Molly solved that by standing up straight and letting her skirt fall to the floor.  In a high-stepping movement, she managed to evade me again and danced away to the other side of the room.  This wasn’t my idea of fun at all.

“I’ll come back over if you promise not to grab me,” Molly’s voice from the gloom.  “Take your shirt and pants off and I’ll come back over.”

Now we’re talking.  I quickly unsnapped, dropped my pants to the floor, and kicked them away from my feet. My shirt followed them right away.  Her hand touched me on the chest and felt across it to make sure I had taken my shirt off.  Then it dropped to the bulge in my shorts.  In my mind’s eye I pictured her in front of me, wearing nothing but panties.  Things went a little crazy right then because for no reason she shouted “Now!”

The light popped on, brilliant after such a long time in total darkness.  A single pair of hands began clapping, followed closely by several more.  When I squinted out at them I found that there was a small crawl space over one wall and lined up on that wall were at least six heads.  Their hands hung over the edge and they were all clapping.  Molly stood before me, in nothing but panties and sported a satisfied grin.  I, on the other hand, was standing there in nothing but my shorts sporting a huge hard on.

Bozo, Slick, the Asshole Brothers, Sheila, and Simone were above me clapping like mad.  Molly had her hands to her mouth and was at least trying to stifle her laugh.  I had to give her that, but obviously I wasn’t going to give her anything else.  I was mortified beyond belief.  With as much dignity as I could, and that’s pretty hard when you have an erection to contend with, I gathered up my clothes, put them on hurriedly, and stalked to the little hatch.  I smacked it open and crawled through without a glance back at them.

Next:  Frustration, Post Grad

T.O.M.

Drive In Movies

December 21, 2009

My first exposure to a drive-in movie was after I returned to the States from Germany in 1958.  I landed in California a newly-minted, but savvy, driver; having gotten my International Driver’s License in Germany at age sixteen.  Unfortunately, the state of California had decreed that I must go through a driver’s education course before I could get my California license.  Even my dad thought it was outrageous, particularly because he had to undergo a road test himself to regain his US license.

Nevertheless, I pushed onward and endured several weeks of novice drivers that ground gears, screeched tires, slammed brakes, and generally turned my perspiration into a river.  I was ever so glad to have it come to an end and take the driver’s test – which I passed with ease.

Once my little VW convertible arrived from Germany (via the Panama Canal to Oakland) I was free to go cruising all over the area.  Since my car was totally unique (there wasn’t another like it in Northern California I think) I had what is now called a “chick magnet”.  Hardly a day passed when I didn’t have at least one pretty girl sitting in the car as we headed out for lunch, went to the library after school, or just cruised up and down Petaluma Boulevard all night on Friday.

My dad also shipped a car home from Germany.  It was called a Volkswagen Deluxe Bus.  It was black trim over red and had three bench seats.  The top slid back and let one stand up with the wind blowing your hair.  I had almost as much fun with his car as mine, but he rarely let me drive it.  Most of the time, he would tell me he needed it because he was “on call”.  This, I assumed, meant that he could be called to go down the base at any minute to resolve some difficult weather prognostication.

It was this very same bus that made me a hero to the general population of school as it would fit up to eighteen kids in it.  When, on Friday or Saturday night, the drive-in theatres would declare “carload” night an entire carload could get in for two dollars.  Most cars of the day would rarely fit more than six or, if they were really friendly, eight, but mine would take an entire football and a basketball team.

Drive-ins of the day would feature as many as four films a night depending on length of movie and weather.  Since California boasted good weather, we almost always got to see at least three movies every time we went.  The breaks between movies wasn’t very long, but gave a person time enough to grab yet another hot dog, box of popcorn, and a drink before the next feature.  If you were still in line, you could watch the beginning of the movie through the huge plate-glass window at the front of the refreshment stand.

Since my car was pretty tall, I learned right off that people wanted me to stay near the back of the parking lot.  This turned out to be a real boon as I could park perpendicularly between two speaker posts and put one in the front and one in the back and be assured at least one of them would work.  If both of them worked, so much the better.

Most movies shown at our local theatre were sci-fi and horror movies like “The Blob”, “The Fly”, “I Married a Monster from Outer Space” (which is a pretty good movie by the way), “Earth vs. the Spider” and “Attack of the Puppet People”.  I was a great deal more partial to some of the more romantic movies of the time like “Houseboat” (with my hero Cary Grant), “Bell, Book, and Candle” (with the delectable Kim Novak – but don’t tell my girl). As far as the more raucous movies went, a full busload of kids was fine, but for romantic movies my little convertible was just fine.  Just I and my girl snuggled up with a gearshift between us.

For the first movie we would leave the top down and chatter with our neighbors as well as watch the movie, but when the second movie started (which was usually the feature) the top went up for some serious necking.  Never believe anyone who says that serious necking cannot be carried out in a Volkswagen.  It can, and has, been done.  Many a warm California summer night has steamed up the windows of that little car.  And, yes, it is definitely possible to go from the front seat to the back seat without opening a door.

What better life could there be but to be a teenager, have a movie in front of you, a girl beside you, and a popcorn tub sitting on the seat between you.  If there is one, I couldn’t imagine what.

There existed a state of war between the theatre owners and the patrons.  They would try and make sure that everyone who got in paid their fee, and we would try to get as many of us in free as possible.  This led to a veritable host of methods for sneaking kids in without paying.  Each one attempting to get more kids in than the one before.  The old standards of stuffing a trunk worked a few times, but if the wait to enter got too long there was a distinct danger of suffocation.  The old ‘blanket in the back seat’ would hide maybe a couple of kids with others actually sitting on the back seat.  Since there was usually a very bright light shining on each car at the toll booth this one could be risky.

My favorite was a car that had a trick back seat.  It was a panel van.  Not one of the huge things you see now, but a really nice Ford delivery van built along the lines of a woody but with no back windows.  An enterprising teen had created a moveable back seat that dropped downward and let one move freely between the back bed and the rear set.  When this one got to the toll booth, the taker would first look into the back, count heads, and then move to the rear window.  As this was being done, the seat was dropped and kids poured from the back to rear seat – quietly, of course.  I don’t think this method was ever found out.

Usually, before the movie started and while it was still light, a local radio station was be broadcast over the speaker system.  In our case it was ever faithful KEWB from San Francisco.  Good old “Channel 91” would entertain us with songs that started impromptu dance parties down in front of the screen.  KEWB was the sister station of KFWB from Los Angeles and, if you were ever to drive between the two one would slowly fade out and the other would take over as you traveled.

Parenthetically, I might add that a description of a trip down to Tijuana to get one of my friends car tucked and rolled might be a good story also.

Finally, it was dark enough to start the movie and we would all head for our cars.  Great knots of girls would break up and stream back to their date’s cars too and the lot would get calm as we all watched. Once in a while, you would hear a car door slam and maybe a parting shot by an outraged girl, but mostly we behaved ourselves.  There was also a car patrol wandering around with flashlights to illuminate cars that showed any sign of nefarious behavior.

Periodically the film would break or the operator would blow a change-over and car lights would come on, horns would honk, and jeers erupt from everyone.  This was mostly endured stoically (if you noticed at all) and activities continued as they left off before being interrupted.

Teen etiquette dictated that one never approached a car whose windows were totally fogged up, nor did one get near a car that did not have at least one person in the front seat.  Lights of any kind were frowned upon except in an emergency – like trying to find a wayward bra.

All in all, a trip to the local drive-in movie was a real adventure.  I took full advantage of the times and weather of Northern California to see as many of those movies as I could.  I usually went with male friends to adventure, science fiction, or other non-chick movies but when a good romance was playing I hardly ever failed to take my girl.  It was an uplifting trip on gossamer wings.  A true American experience.

T.O.M.

Trip to the Worlds Fair – 1958, Part 3

October 30, 2009

Not very much happened the next day.  The girls and I were just about walked out so there was no real attraction towards trekking around the fair again yet another day.  We put on our swim suits, loaded up a bag full of the usual beach stuff: oil, sunscreen, a small transistor radio, and other items and headed down to the beach.

I call it a beach, but the sand was carted in from the North Sea and was pretty coarse; not enough to cause severe discomfort, but certainly nothing like I was used to in Delaware where we used to go during summer vacation.  If you didn’t have a fairly thick blanket, the stones would make you rather uncomfortable if you sat on one.  After clearing out the bigger ones, we set the blanket and sat.

My eye wandered across Arianne’s amber body in the near foreground which was certainly a sight until I focused on a more distant object – a small boat.  When I sat up quickly, Colombe asked me what I had seen.  I told her that there were small boats on the lake and maybe we could find where they were renting them.  They both thought that was a great idea so we packed up again and walked towards the edge of the beach.

We came across what appeared to be a small marina with different two and four-person watercraft.  Most of them were swan pedal boats, or otherwise foot-powered.  The guy did have quite a few simple rowboats, which were much cheaper.  We dickered over the pricing and finally rented a rowboat for three hours.  We dropped our gear into the bottom, stepped in, and paddled off.

I manned the oars first and took us to the middle of the lake.  There was a small, grass covered, island in the middle which looked like a nice place to visit so I made for that.  There were several other boats tied up or anchored near the shore of the island so we certainly wouldn’t be alone.  I stepped out and helped the girls ashore.  I moved to take out stuff, but Adrianne told me that it was unlikely to be stolen so I just took the radio.

It only took about 15 minutes to walk completely around the island and, since there wasn’t anything to see really, we loaded back up again and headed out into the lake.  This time, Adrianne and Colombe each had an oar.  They had a heck of a time coordinating their strokes though and much splashing, muttering, and jocularity ensued as we wove our way to and fro across the surface.  Colombe prepared to take a deeper stroke but the oar came out of the water and, since there was no resistance, flew out of her hand, jumped out of the oarlock and landed in the lake.  Her first reaction as well as Adrianne’s, was to lunge for the lost oar.  I shouted “No!” just as the both of them leaned way out over the side.  Gravity took over and we capsized immediately.  Adrianne managed to get “oh, merde!” out just as she went under.

The lake turned out to be only about four feet deep but it was enough to thoroughly soak all three of us.  Not only were we wet, but our little canvas bag got tossed over the side too and that held our identification, cash, and other papers.  I managed to flip the boat back over and leaned on the transom enough to spill most of the water back out. There was a tethered can under one seat so I helped the two girls in and hopped back in myself.  We were laughing so hard we could hardly speak as we bailed the rest of the water out.

Adrianne pulled out our ID’s and found that they were still dry.  The bag hadn’t been in the water long enough to soak trough.  That was good news indeed.  We spent some time squeezing out wet clothes and laying them on the seats to dry. I tried the radio, but it wouldn’t work.  I hoped that when it dried it would work again.  It was cheap, but had fairly good sound.

In a short while, Gus paddled up to us in a swan boat and asked Adrianne if she wanted to ride with him.  There was a short conversation with Colombe during which the both of them began gesturing.  Since it was in very rapid French I didn’t have a clue, but I had a feeling Gus and I were involved in the exchange.  Finally, they both said “OK” to each other and Adrianne pulled her stuff out of the bag, hopped over to Gus’s boat and they pulled away.

I asked Colombe what that was all about but she wouldn’t say other than that her sister was being ‘difficult’.  I wondered what that meant.  Later, she finally told me that Adrianne wasn’t very fond of Gus and that she really wanted to be with Colombe and me.  I had to keep asking why until she told me that Adrianne wanted to ‘be intimate’ with the two of us and that she didn’t want to share.

Well, this was a new twist I thought to myself.  How the heck did I get so lucky here?  I wasn’t what you would call particularly handsome so it must be that I was just available.  Colombe’s first response to our lovemaking made that pretty clear so maybe that was the reason.  In any case, I told Colombe that I was happy just being with her and if her sister wanted to be with us I didn’t mind.  Oh, that wasn’t a really good thing to say as she got a bit frosty and splashed bilge water at me with her foot.  So I hastened to add that she alone was better.  This brought a smile.

Our time ran out as we neared the marina so I steered us to the dock and we unloaded.  Colombe asked what to do now and I answered that I hadn’t a clue but I would go along with whatever she wanted.  She wanted to go back to camp and have a sandwich so we walked back to the tent.  We rooted around enough to come up with a loaf of French bread, a can of meat spread, some butter, and a jar of German mustard.  I made the sandwiches while Colombe went into the tent to change out of her damp clothes.  I went over into my tent and did the same.

Colombe wasn’t back by the time I returned to the table.  She must be taking her time I thought until I heard her call my name softly.  With a grin of anticipation I pulled the flap open and went into her tent.  She had the flap to her room closed too so I asked if she was decent.  She assured me she was decent so I opened the flap.

Holy cow!  She certainly was decent – and her sister as well.  Both Adrianne and Colombe were lying on the sleeping bag completely nude.  Adrianne giggled at my expression and motioned for me to lie between them.  Before I did that however, she wanted me to strip.  Never before in the annals of teenage lust had anyone taken their clothes off faster.  Nude also, I dropped facedown between them.  They both reached over and began massaging my shoulders and back.

Chattering among themselves they continued across my buttocks and down each leg.  I reached out for Adrianne’s breast, but she moved deftly away with a laugh.  She explained that this was to be for me, not them.  By now, I was drilling a hole into the sleeping bag so when they wanted me to turn over I balked.  I shook my head a couple of times while they tried again to get me to turn over.  Finally, Adrianne moved close enough to lift my shoulder enough to lever me over.  Colombe said “magnifique, n’est-ce pas?” and Adrianne agreed.  They chattered a little more and then they both started getting serious.  Adrianne moved closer to my head which afforded me access to her breasts while Colombe moved downward.  As I worked on Adrianne, Colombe worked on me.  Adrianne reached out and started bringing Colombe’s nipples to attention.  Soon, nothing was heard but heavy breathing as we continued stroking each other.

At some point, Adrianne had swapped with Colombe and she was attending to my erection while I began stroking them both.  Breath rate increased almost immediately.  When both of them started stroking me I lost control and began shooting all over their hands and my stomach.  When I wound down, they began working on each other.  Colombe went off first, followed closely by Adrianne.  It seemed to go on forever but finally they broke apart.  I was still sandwiched between them; and mostly breathless from the experience.

I had been right in the middle of their lovemaking and was still replaying the scene in my head as they began dressing.  I recovered my clothes and put them on also.  I thought to myself that if I lived through this trip I was really going to have some tales to tell – but, then again, who would believe them.  I certainly didn’t need my girlfriend, Virginia, hearing about my escapades so I became determined to never mention them to anyone.

The three of us were sitting at the table drinking sodas when our parents got back and asked us if we had fun all day.  All I could say was “yes”.  My mom looked steadily at me a moment and then nodded her head as if she understood.  What I didn’t know until I looked was that I had a small bite mark low on my shoulder that wasn’t quite hidden by my tee shirt sleeve.  “Oh, man” I thought, “She’s got me.”

That evening, after dinner, all seven of us just sat in camp and talked about all sorts of things.  I was between Adrianne and Colombe but I minded my manners and didn’t even try to hold either one’s hand.  I was going to be a good boy especially with my mom on my case.  I had a feeling she wouldn’t let any of us out of her sight tomorrow.  I was right.

T.O.M.