Well, I haven’t been feeling especially well this week. And I’ve subsequently been slacking on reading and commenting on all of your blogs. As well as not writing so much here. I have to admit.. even though it’s taken all of my energy just to get through the week, I’ve really missed both the writing and the reading and sharing of your blogs.
I’m still not quite myself yet.. this virus has taken the oomph out of my usual vibrant self. And for those of you who know me well, I usually have socks or something on my feet, I’m actually sitting here typing barefoot! So this has literally knocked my socks off. In that light, I’ll post part of a story I wrote in my one and only Creative Non-fiction Writer’s Workshop.
Purple Hot Pants and Go-Go Boots
It was 1972 and I was fourteen. And as my niece Heather would put it, I was ‘fixin to fall.” It was almost summer and school vacation was within sight. However, I was terribly distraught. The boy I’d had a crush on for most of the last two years, had recently moved away. History seems to repeat itself in my life. His parents had bought The Betsy Ross Resort on a lake in Central Minnesota. It seemed like cruel fate had stepped in just as I had gotten boobs. I was sure that Scott would have noticed. I had done everything I could to help that along.
Scott had lived on my block, two houses down. He was blonde and had beautiful brown eyes. He was the cutest! Every weekend, he’d have a group of his friends over and they’d play football in his front yard. All of us girls in the neighborhood would walk past his house over and over, talking and laughing to get them to notice us. The whole neighborhood knew about my crush on Scott Pinke, It didn’t help that I’d etched I love Scott in the wet tar on our street in front of my house! And of course, my kind and loving little brother, came by just as I’d finished writing it and announced it to the world/ I didn’t show my face all that weekend, in fact, I was afraid to go to school on Monday. We rode the bus. The whole neighborhood rode the bus, Scott rode the bus. I even walked to a different corner so I could get on without being seen. It didn’t work. He was looking right at me when I stepped into my seat. I felt my face turn red with the fire of embarrassment. I swear my short stature shrunk in plain sight. I wanted to be invisible; I tried to be. I could never admire him from afar in quite the same way again. He was so beautiful it was hard not to look at him anymore. I thought if I didn’t look at him, or talk about him anymore, that everyone would forget about the tar. I tried to forget how much I loved him. How horrible could life get?
I think my Mom felt bad for me. Somehow she must have known what a broken heart felt like. So a few weeks later as the school year ended, my friends Debbie and Dawn asked me to go on a vacation with then for a week and I was elated. I begged my Mom to let me go, and she actually agreed. She took me shopping and I chose the coolest stuff. I tried on a pair of hot pants. They were super short, and best of all they were purple. You know, purple, Donny Osmond’s favorite color. I got a matching top too. I thought my Mom had lost it completely when she agreed to the white go-go boots. I can still feel that white plastic sticking to my calves today, man I looked great!
I could hardly wait for the trip. School was finally over, and the packing began. I put the go-go boots and hot pants in my bag first, just in case I should run out of room. I am a planner. It was a long drive to this lake. But we had fun playing car BINGO. It passed the time as we searched for blue motorcycles, and no passing signs to fill in our bingo cards. Debbie and Dawn’s mom was always clicking her gum so she taught us how to click Doublemint gum too. We clicked for hours until we finally arrived late at the cabin. Everything was so dark; you couldn’t even see the lake. We got settled in and we woke as the sun was coming up through the fog on the lake. The air was cool and crisp, but there wasn’t a breeze at all. We got jeans and sweat shirts on and gulped down some breakfast and headed outside to explore. Mostly exploring for boys. There weren’t any. God knows we looked. No use wasting a good lake though. As soon as it got warm enough, we swam. All day every day we played in the water. We took turns swimming with our ankles crossed like mermaids, and even went out on a rowboat without tipping over. The days sped by.
But on the last day, we went to a stock car race. It was the loudest thing I had ever heard. I couldn’t hear a single thing once it was over. The smell of burning rubber and the sting of the smoke and dirt from the racetrack in my eyes made me regret the adventure. The best part was that I wore those hot pants. And there were BOYS everywhere! I felt like Debbie and Dawn’s parents had been holding out on us. Those boys were more interested in stock cars though, than they were in three teenage girls. The hot pants hadn’t worked at all.
I got home late the next morning. My Mom was busy talking with Debbie and Dawn’s mom about the trip. My sister nad brother were getting ready to go to the summer library day at the school. The three of us had to hurry to get back in time to have lunch before the city pool opened. Summer is such a busy time.
My brother learned to whistle that summer. We always knew where he was. He’d whistle in the bathroom, on his bike, even in bed at night. Brothers are dumb. At least he was good for sports. He’d get other buys together for soccer or kickball or baseball at the school field. Notice I didn’t say he was good at sports. He was still considered a little kid. But, he was good as a boy magnet for us girls. So he had great value.
As my Mom was finishing her conversation, the telephone rang; it was Nancy Johnson’s big sister. She wanted to talk to my Mom. Nancy Johnson was a classmate who lived at the end of my block. Her big sister used to baby-sit us when we were little. It was hard to interrupt two mom’s talking. You just had to kind of sneak it in that she had a phone call waiting for her.
Nancy Johnson’s big sister wanted to know if I could go along to visit at the Betsy Ross Resort. She was taking the Greyhound Bus to Alexandria to visit her girlfriend Nadeen, who just happened to be Scott’s older sister. And Allison, Scott’s younger sister wanted to know if I could come along on the bus to visit her. What? Was the world coming to an end? Was this the miracle it seemed? Could it even be possible? My Mom told her that I’d just gotten back that very morning from a trip. My God, was she going to totally end my life? She wasn’t going to let me go. Let the begging and pleading begin! It was tough, but I was desperate. I let it all out. All of the best ones like … “Mom I HAVE to go” and “Please, I’ll do ANYTHING!” I meant that one. “Please!” Then the skies parted.. the angels descended from the heavens and she said, “Oh I suppose” as only mothers do. Of course I put those hot pants and go-go boots in my bag first.
** The Sequel to Purple Hot Pants and Go-Go Boots is titled “The Betsy Ross Resort”.