This photo of my hometown team was taken a few years after I graduated. It was taken in the school auditorium. I’d recognize that floor anywhere. I’d come in close contact with it the one year I played girls’ basketball and another time when the school principal threatened to make me scrub it with a toothbrush when I walked across it with street shoes after a school pep rally. The auditorium was named for this longtime teacher and coach, Harold Thune, but the auditorium floor was named for Jerald Applebee, who was coach from the time I was a Freshman in high school in 1960 until a few years ago. I swear, this is true.
I don’t do sports, nor watch them, either. A one block jog? I’d need a breather. At volleyball, I don’t excel. Touch football is a sort of hell. For passing time, by hook or crook, Jog on alone. I’ll read a book!!!
Sitting up past midnight, we search our mind for facts, parting long grasses of the past for long-forgotten pacts of secrets kept from parents and long-forgotten games: “New Orleans” and “Send ‘Em” *. We comb our minds for names.
Of talents left to childhood, like flips off monkey bars. Adventures dreamed on rooftops and the back seats of cars. Favorite childhood dresses and jokes pulled on our folks. Afternoons in Mack’s Cafe, sipping on our Cokes.
Hot beef sandwiches at Fern’s and running up the stairs to avoid Mom’s fly swatter aimed at our derrieres. Childhood dramas staged in trees or in our backyard lawn. Teenage slumber parties that stretched out into dawn.
We journey through old albums, searching photos for any tiny detail that will open up a door. Each time I come to visit, we remember a bit more on these safaris of the mind that we both adore.
*These are the names of childhood games. Did anyone else play them?
When I was young I had an idea I could be exotic, but when in fact I tried, I found my goal to be quixotic. For even though I thought that I could be like Theda Bara, My skirt rode up, my nylons ran and so did my mascara. I spent a fortune for “vamp” clothes, but had no place to wear them, and they were so tight and scratchy that I could hardly bear them. This is what finally prompted me to settle for what’s normal. Exotic’s harder than it looks, as well as way too formal!!!
Seated at the movies in the last row of the balcony, I couldn’t hear the dialogue and the man in front of me was so tall that captions, too, were impossible to see. But all of this, indeed, was just a part of serendipity that played out as I exited the door they’d marked “Emergency” that led out to the lobby where I’d decided that I had to flee. There I found a bench and with a paperback upon my knee, I passed five minutes during which I read with such intensity, I didn’t even notice a man exiting to go to pee, until he left the Men’s room, and I looked up as he passed by me. He was a very handsome man—the very one who formerly had blocked my view but who now sat beside me and delightfully soon engaged my interest with his wit and his sincerity. And that is how our “he” and “me” quickly turned into a “we,” and also how, ultimately, you two children came to be!