Black Lights and Beatles

You know that one song that whenever you hear it, it takes you back to a time and place when you were doing something so memorable, while it was playing in the background, that it is burned into your brain for eternity?

We’d seen the guys at the Iowa State Fair the summer before, where we’d gotten a ten-day job as waitresses in a temporary building with sawdust on the floor. They were from the other side of town, where all the cute guys seemed to live.
It was a black light party in somebody’s basement on the South side on a Sunday afternoon. Debbie had run into the same guys at the roller rink and had arranged the whole thing.
There was incense, tie dye, and strings of colored beads in doorways instead of doors. No one was drinking except for coca cola. We were all running on 100% hormones. I Want You by the Beatles played in the background.
Somehow I got paired off with a shy, dark-haired boy named Pat. He was tall, thin, and a good kisser. My bra glowed through my shirt under the black light. He took me to a couch in a dark corner where it wouldn’t matter. We only kissed because we were too innocent to do more, and we both needed the practice. We practiced, practiced, and practiced some more as the Beatles sang the Abbey Road album over and over. Our only conversation was hello and good-bye.
Debbie came home with hickeys, which she said felt like a vacuum cleaner on her neck while she was getting one (she had to wear turtle necks for a week). Phyllis came home with the promise of a date, and I came home with super-chapped lips.
I never saw Pat again, probably because he didn’t have a car, and I lived on the North side of Des Moines. But I will always remember our mutual rehearsal for future boyfriends/girlfriends.
Good times on a cold winter’s day in Iowa in the early 70’s!

Couldda Wouldda Shouldda

If I would’ve seen Patrick again, we would’ve found out that we had nothing in common except liking to kiss. Still, he would’ve saved up to buy a car to drive to the North side to see me. He would’ve been into sports, poker, and hunting. He would’ve turned out to be a good Irish Catholic boy, and his mother would’ve rejected me since I was neither Irish nor Catholic. I would’ve taken him to my proms, and he, to his, but eventually we would’ve split up to go to separate colleges. We would still be sending Christmas cards ever year, and I would be jealous of his family photos with his loving wife and all the children and grand children.

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