Just before Christmas a boy brought Mistletoe to school. I borrowed it during lunch and put it over Jean’s head. She ducked away and the chase was on. We moved about the class room for a while but she would not stand still and let me kiss her but didn’t get mad either.
Finally she ran into the supply pantry and I followed her shutting the door behind me.
She stood looking at me and the Mistletoe like a Gazelle in the Serengeti plains of Africa that was about to be devoured by a lion.
I slowly approached her expecting a last minute bolt for the door. She remained motionless with her hands behind her, holding on to the edge of a shelf. I put the Mistletoe over her head. She did not move, but looked away and closed her eyes. In my delusion, I told myself she was saying do whatever you want to me, I surrender.
I’m sure she had mixed feelings and was nervous that I might go too far but I didn’t. She may have been glad to just get it over with. I’ll never know because I wasn’t mature enough to just talk to her.
I kissed her on the check once and told her I owed her a candy bar the next time we went to the store. I was happy and learned a lesson about twelve year old girls, at least this twelve year old girl. You want a kiss, don’t try it in front of others.
Playing hide and seek at someone’s house after dark was one of our favorite things to do. It wasn’t the game per se, it was kind of a group date that cost no money. If the girls didn’t show up, there would have been no hide and seek.
One of Sandy’s neighbors, the Silver family, often had relatives and friends visit from Pittsburgh and had no issue with the kids who lived in the area coming to play and eat their hot dogs and cookies.
The group of kids that gathered were mostly in junior high but there were a few tenth graders mixed in plus Sandy who was basically a woman. After dark it was time to play hide and seek. It was a perfect place to do it. Silver’s house abutted two other homes and a trailer so there were lots of bushes, sheds, sweet corn patches and other places to hide.
One weekend Miss America showed up. Her name was Penny and she was a cousin of the Silver’s daughter with looks that could not be ignored. A grown man would walk into a parking meter staring at her. She came to the Silvers every weekend that summer.
She was 5’ 6” tall with a Marilyn Monroe body, long blonde hair and blue eyes and used just a touch of makeup. She always wore a modest mid-length dress that accentuated her figure without actually showing anything. She was movie star ready in every way.
All the boys and two of the neighborhood men were constantly trying to get her attention by flirting. She made hide and seek a little crazy. Everyone wanted to find her or hide with her hoping to hold her hand, put their arm around her, smell her perfume or somehow get a kiss. None of that ever happened of course, but you can dream.
One Saturday the Silver’s invited me to go with them to Pittsburgh for Penny’s birthday party. Of course I said yes. When we got there the party had already started. The adults were into the liquor and everyone was dancing.
I was surprised at how dressed up everyone was. There were a lot of very attractive woman who were way too old for me. As the son of an alcoholic, I knew something about intoxication. Many of the adults definitely had a buzz on.
A woman in a low cut dress started to dance with a drink in one hand and the other on her stomach. She was smiling at the man she was dancing with and acting very provocative. At times she would bend forward and shake her shoulders exposing a lot of cleavage.
I liked what she was doing but not everyone was enjoying the action. A man came out of nowhere and escorted her out of the room. The room got very quiet. The show was over.
As soon as I finished a glass of punch and sat the glass down, Penny took hold of my hand and pulled me onto the dance floor. I was dumfounded at first but tried to dance the best I could so I wouldn’t embarrass her or myself. We did the twist to a Chubby Checker song. We twisted in sync and she rocked back and forth with her face sometimes coming within a foot of mine. I started to sweat which made me mad at myself. She didn’t say a word but kept looking past me and around the room like she was searching for something.
After the dance, I got to put my arm around her waist for a moment as I escorted her off the floor. I expected her waist to feel soft but it was very firm and her perfume was uncharacteristically aromatic. I’m sure the dance was no big deal to her but it was heaven to me.
Later that evening, as I was waiting for the host to put a slow dance on the record player so I could ask Penny for a second dance, a boy I didn’t know said I should be careful as Penny was fighting with her boyfriend and was using me to make him jealous.
He pointed the boyfriend out. He was bigger and older than me so I tried to fade into the crowd as far away from Penny as I could. I left with the Silver’s at 11:00 PM and saw Penny two more times that summer. She never really noticed me or mentioned our dance. The last time I saw her was the weekend before school started. She introduced her fiancée to everyone.