This has been my most popular blog post. It was first posted in March 2012. It is still read every single day some where in the world.
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 and 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”.
The Betsy Ross Resort
I couldn’t believe I was on a Greyhound Bus without my parents. Just Nancy Johnson’s big sister and me. The other fifty people who were on the bus were all hot and had been riding for a long time. You could tell. They had that glazed look in their eyes. By the time we got to Alexandria, my eyes had that look too, only it wasn’t glaze. There were so many stars in my eyes that I could hardly see to step off the bus. I was ready for a hot summer romance. I had the clothes and I had the boobs. I was ready.
I didn’t know why Allison had chosen me to come there for a visit. We hadn’t really been friends. She hung around with my younger sister, Pam and Julie Feesl from across the street. I wondered if maybe by some fluke of nature, Scott had convinced her to invite me because he secretly liked me. It was too much of a stretch even for me to believe that. But Allison hugged me when we got there all the same, just like she had really missed me. She grabbed my arm and we took off for the house. The house was huge. We walked in what I thought was the front door. It was actually the door to the resort store. Where people could stock up on groceries and supplies for camping at the resort. It was cool. A pop machine right in your house. Allison grabbed a candy bar and told me to take one too. I felt like it was stealing, so I didn’t. She led me upstairs to her room and helped me unpack. She didn’t have hot pants. Anyway, where was Scott? I didn’t want to bring it up, they had read the tar too. So they knew. everyone knew. I felt very scared all of a sudden. Was this the biggest mistake I’d ever made. Oh God! That’s right God, it was a miracle remember? Yes, a miracle.
We went outside and she showed me where the guests stayed in the cabins near the lake. It was a great place. The beach was sandy and soft; the water was blue and shimmering. She showed me the barn. I hadn’t expected a barn. There weren’t any farm animals but there were a lot of straw bales. Allison and I spent time playing hide and seek there with the barn cats. As we left the barn, Allison showed m where she would jump on the milk truck when it drove by and she’d get a ride as he made his delivery. We walked around and around. It was then I saw him, by the big tree in the yard. He was swinging from a long rope tied up in a tree. He was still beautiful, tan and beautiful.
I felt sick to my stomach, like I was going to throw up. I was dizzy, and I could hardly pick up one foot to put it in front of the other. I hoped he hadn’t remembered about the tar. Of course he remembered. He looked over and saw Allison and I coming up the path. He kept looking, and he didn’t run away. He didn’t even look away. Oh, he noticed the boobs. Yes, summer had been good to me, I had begun to have a girlish figure, slimmer waist and larger bust. And he had noticed. Dreams do come true. Then he spoke. To this day, I can’t remember what he said. I just smiled and kept walking with Allison. Since my feet were working correctly, I had to just go with them.
Before long it was suppertime, time to sit with their large family. Fortunately Nancy Johnson’s big sister was there… it gave me confidence. It was hard to face their parents, they knew too. It amazed me that they had even allowed me, the brazen girl who wrote in the tar, into their home. They welcomed both Nancy Johnson’s sister and I, we said grace and then the food started coming around the table. I couldn’t see Scott from where I was sitting. I was grateful for that. They had shrimp, I wasn’t much of a fish girl. It’s amazing what you’ll do in the name of love. I never did throw up.
The next morning, Allison and I went out to the beach. Nadeen or ‘Dino’ as her friends called her, and Nancy Johnson’s’ big sister were heading off with an arm load of clean linens. They had to help clean put the cabins before new guests arrived. Allison and I didn’t have to help. So we played on the beach and swam. I wore a blue one piece swimsuit; it was side-less, another surprise from my Mom. One-piece suits were acceptable, two-piece suits were obscene. Apparently side-less was a compromise. I think there must have been something wrong with my Mom that summer. Letting me go on two trips away from home, and both hot pants and a side-less swimsuit. I bet the neighbors were talking.
After the cabins were all clean and ready, Nadeen and Nancy Johnson’s’ big sister came swimming with us. We played in the water all morning. They played games with us and we chased each other underwater. It was fun with the big girls. Finally it was time for lunch, we were starved. Later we helped Alison’s Mom stock shelves in the store. e went to the storeroom and got cases of candy and filled the bins. I was glad to be able to help too. Then we actually had to watch the store for a while and wait on customers that came in. We even took a delivery from the milkman, and we ate candy bars. What a life!
The sun was moving across the sky toward evening. Allison and I were in the yard and Scott came charging up on a moped. He asked if we wanted a ride. Alison said she could teach me how to ride, he said he could teach me. Allison went and to her own moped. I was at a crossroads, what to do? So I did nothing. I said I’d just learn to ride another day. Scott drove off and Allison followed. I waited on the step with the dog. I told the dog that I loved Scott… yup, he’d read the tar too! I sat there thinking about Scott asking to teach me to ride. I had actually felt kind of scared. I was all in love when it was safe from afar. Having a crush and actually having an opportunity were miles apart. I hadn’t thought about how to get past my dreams and fantasies and into reality. So I sat there perplexed. I don’t’ know where Allison went, but Scott came up again and asked me if I wanted a ride. I told him thanks but that I didn’t want to hurt Allison’s feelings. Since when did I have so much loyalty to Allison? What an idiot, yup, I was a planner!
The days kept creeping by. I wanted this time to last forever. I never wanted to go home. There were only a couple of days left before we would get back on the Greyhound Bus. It was Sunday, and the evening meal was over. The whole family was sitting in the living room watching The Ed Sullivan Show. It was then that Scott turned toward me during a commercial and said, and I quote,
“Would you like to go for a walk with me?”
Here it was, the moment I had waited years for. It had finally come. He wanted to be with me. He wanted to go alone with me for a walk. HE WANTED ME!
And I said, and I quote,
The entire room went silent. Even Ed Sullivan was shocked. Then a sound came in unison that I will never forget. The echoing gasp was holding back a family panic. Every person in that room was positive that Scott had a sure thing going here. Instead, I had defied the heavens. Even the angels were standing with their jaws on the floor in disbelief. I was to be damned for all eternity. I too was horrified at my own response. I couldn’t believe what had just come out of my mouth. I was in terror. I had really wanted to shout from the rooftops, “Scott, I love you and yes.. yes, I will go with you.” Just ask the dog.
Suddenly I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move. Scott was so hurt. And my very soul wanted to go after him as he sauntered out of the room, wounded. I couldn’t believe I had done it. It’s been well over thirty years since that day, and I still can’t believe it.
But I got my just rewards. I spent the next three days in a hell of my own making. New families had come to the resort. Some families had girls, teenage girls. Scott had asked one of them to go for a walk, and she could speak, and she said yes. My heart was breaking. Even the dog heard it. I cried and wanted so badly to go home. It tormented me to see him with that girl.
Nancy Johnson’s big sister and I were supposed to take the bus at the end of the week. But Scott’s older brother had come to visit his parents, and when he left to go home, I asked if he could take me home. I had been defeated in the worst way.
Scott, where ever you are. I do know how much I hurt you that day. Please know that I’m so sorry. For both of us.