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Old 09-26-2013, 11:57 PM
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Default Snakes In The Grass

The first summer we all had moved to Pembina Drive, back in 1959 was a time of discovery. Jerry and I, at twelve, were the oldest ones in our group, which spanned close to three years. Each day it seemed that we’d learn something new about each other, on our way to becoming close friends. I noticed that Jerry was becoming interested in girls, and while I liked them too, it was only as playmates.

Among the girls in our neighborhood that summer were Patsy, who lived across the street from me, Peg, her kid sister, who was a bit too young for our group, Jerry’s step sister Mil, and JoAnn, a pretty blond military brat who had last lived in Florida. I sort of liked Mil, but Jerry was really taken aback by JoAnn. It didn’t take long before we began making pests of ourselves.

Every afternoon, we’d gather under Mil and Jerry’s carport, to joke, to tease one another, and to listen to 45s on their record player. While the girls might dance together, none of us fellows ever joined in. After supper, we’d all meet in the circle at the top of the street, near where Patsy and I lived. This time, our music came from an aqua and cream portable radio of mine, which I was very possessive of, no one else was allowed to touch.

That first summer seemed almost magical, and as the weeks passed our bonds grew stronger. Our parents, much to their credit, may have realized how special that summer was for us, and none of us had curfews. Since we were too young to have jobs, and since the summertime weather in Cincinnati can be sultry, we usually slept days and stayed up all night. Once we had talked ourselves out at the top of the street, Jerry and I would sit and talk on my front steps. The girls usually would hang out in Patsy and Peg’s basement.

Either from boredom, or maybe out of curiosity, one night Jerry and I decided to sneak over and spy on the girls. Laying like a pair of snakes in the grass, we watched and listened while the girls danced and listened to records. To our disappointment, we were not among their topics of discussion.

Although the girls seemed oblivious to our spying, and didn’t say a word about either of us, Jerry and I continued to sneak over nightly. Besides being dumbfounded as to why girls always dance together, it was the best show in town at 2 AM. One night when we got into position by the basement windows, the girls were missing. As we wondered where they could be, we heard some giggling in the direction of Patsy’s back yard.

Crawling behind heavy bushes near the back yard fence, we saw that all four girls were taking a late midnight swim. Splashing and laughing, they were having the time of their lives. From a distance of maybe seventy-five feet, we really couldn’t tell who was who, except for their voices. In our imaginations, Jerry and I convinced ourselves that they were skinny dipping. Even though we knew that they weren’t naked, we allowed ourselves to believe what we wanted, and thus was born one of our more memorable nights.

Eventually I mentioned that midnight swim to Patsy, and whatever the truth really was, she claims they were all wearing bathing suits. While they didn’t know we were spying that night, they had noticed us watching them many other nights. They decided to ignore us, simply out of spite.

Art Linkletter once noted that Kids say the darndest things, and he was right. But Jerry and I, that summer of 1959, also did some of the darndest things. Why, I’m not exactly sure. Was it puppy love, or simply curiosity, or maybe just our way of bugging a bunch of girls we knew. While we’re older now, and maybe even a bit wiser, sometimes we still do the darndest things.

A few of us have remained very dear friends over the years, and we play the Do you remember? game every time we talk or happen to have a reunion. While we can never recapture those innocent days of that summer we first met, they do help us to keep the Good Old Days alive in our hearts.
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Old 12-12-2013, 02:01 PM
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I missed this one. Absolutely wonderful.
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