Summer Of '64

Ever since I was a young child, I was glad that I was a boy but I had a very strong affection for anyone female. I thought girls and women were superior beings and I loved them all whether they were; big or small, pretty or not so pretty, fat or skinny, old or young. When I entered elementary school, I was fond of all the females in my classes including my teachers but at the same time I was sort of scared of them and slightly uneasy in their presence.

Each school year, I developed a strong crush on at least one girl in my class and I spent my time in unrequited "puppy love" with her. My crushes changed often and sometimes my objects of affection could rotate on a daily basis.  However, by the time I reached the 6th grade, my crushes began to last longer, in fact, it was then that I developed a strong affection for a sweet brown-haired girl named Charlotte which has lasted almost 50 years!

While in the 6th grade, I rarely spoke to Charlotte but my eyes were always on her, but as we entered our 7th year of school, I did have a few conversations with her.  Our talks were usually short and punctuated with nervous laughter followed by periods of awkward silence.  By the end of our school year, I knew Charlotte well enough to call her a friend. 

During the summer break between my 7th and 8th grade there were many historical events taking place around the world.  For example, the Gulf of Tonken Resolution was passed by Congress which greatly expanded the U.S, involvement in Vietnam, and back home Dr. Martin Luther King was crusading for voting rights on behalf of disenfranchised African-Americans. However none of those events interested me because all I had on my mind was Charlotte.

It became my habit to ride my bike past Charlotte's house each day in hopes that I would see her outside.  The first few times that I rode by her home, I didn't see Charlotte but I got a twinge of excitement just by seeing her house.  But one day as I rode in front of her home, I saw Charlotte reading a book while sitting on the front door step.  When I caught sight of her, I thought my heart would jump out of my chest and in my panic, I decided to ride on by without speaking to her but just as I got even with her house, Charlotte looked up and flagged me down and she said, "I have a bike, do you mind if I ride along with you Ron?"  I was somewhat stunned by Charlotte's inquiry but I did manage to say, "OK, let's go."

Charlotte had never ridden her bike outside of her neighborhood but I routinely rode my bike all over town, so I led Charlotte on a long ride from one end of the city to the other.  After about an hour of constant riding, Charlotte asked if we could stop and get something to drink.  I agreed and we stopped at the Dairy Queen to purchase some refreshments.  We looked through our pockets and found $1.45 and with that tiny sum, we bought two corn dogs, two orders of fries, two cokes and two Dilly bars!  It was 1964 and food was very inexpensive then.

As we ate, I hoped some of my male friends would see Charlotte and me together and assume that she was my girlfriend but I didn't see anyone that I knew on that day.  As soon as we finished our meal, Charlotte and I took off toward her house and to my delight, she invited in.  There we spent the rest of the afternoon watching TV, listening to records and playing a juvenile card game.  At about 4:30, I started to leave but Charlotte begged me to stay for dinner which I reluctantly agreed to do.

It was almost dark when I started home and as I pedaled my bike toward my house, I reveled in the thoughts of all the wonderful things that had happened that day. I had discovered that Charlotte's incredible beauty was exceeded only by her goodness, sweetness and kindness, and I couldn't imagine any other girl being more special than her.  

The next morning at approximately 10:00 AM I was still reveling in all the joyous things that transpired on the previous day when I heard a knock on our door and when I opened it, I was thrilled beyond belief to see Charlotte with her bike.  She looked so beautiful that she nearly took my breath away.  Then in an enthusiastic tone, Charlotte said, "Let's ride!"  Without a moment's hesitation, I grabbed my bike and off we went.  First, we returned to the Dairy Queen although we had only enough money to purchase a couple of ice cream cones and 2 cokes.  After we had finished our cokes, we used our cups to catch minnows in a creek which flowed past the Dairy Queen.  

In those days a creek was a source of entertainment for children and it was like an amusement park for Charlotte and me on that day.  We spent more than an hour catching minnows and exploring the stream.  At one point, the creek flowed into a still pool which appeared to be about 4 feet deep and across the pool laid a large log which made a perfect bridge. Upon seeing the log-bridge, Charlotte felt compelled to cross it although I warned her that she could easily fall into the water.  But Charlotte paid no heed to my warning as she cautiously stepped on the log and crossed the wide pool without incident.  I certainly couldn't let a girl outdo me so I quickly began to cross the stream as well.  Unfortunately, my sense of balance was not  as keen as Charlotte's and half way across, my footing became unsteady and I fell into the deep pool!

Charlotte tried to control her laughter as she saw me standing in the midst of the pool in my soggy jeans, shirt, shoes and socks.  She was a very thoughtful person and the last thing she wanted to do was laugh at my misfortune so instead of laughing, her lips bore a large sympathetic smile.  In my embarrassment, I didn't know what to do.  I felt like crying but I knew I was too old for that so I just laughed instead and as I laughed, Charlotte began to giggle too.  Over the years, my soaking in the creek has been a source of great amusement for both of us and as time has tempered my embarrassment, it has become one of my fondest memories.

Charlotte and I were inseparable during the summer of "64, we rode our bikes every day and we even went to the movies together.  At our local cinema we saw two Elvis films and three or four Disney pictures during the course of the summer.

One day Charlotte and I decided to go to the public swimming pool in our town.  As we rode our bikes to the pool, I wore my swimming trunks with a tee shirt for a top and Charlotte wore a pretty sun dress as a cover-up.  As we staked out our pool lounge chairs and placed our towels on them, Charlotte began to remove her sun dress and when I saw her wearing only her bathing suit, my jaw dropped!  Charlotte had recently undergone a pubescent make-over of her body and the sight of it stirred some unusual feelings in me. These new and strange feelings were a mystery to me but they seemed wonderful nonetheless.
 
The summer seemed as if it would last forever back in May but by August, our perfect summer break was quickly coming to an end.  In the 7th grade, boys and girls can be friends without any expectations or strings attached and with the passage of time, Charlotte and I began to drift apart.  We still remained close through high school although we never dated.  

Today I  look out my relationship with Charlotte in a philosophical way.  No matter what has happened since, I still had the summer of "64 so I encapsulated those wonderful memories and kept them tightly sealed in a place close to my heart.  Even 50 years later, I can retrieve those great memories and play them over and over in my mind and each time I think of Charlotte, a big smile comes to my face and joy fills my heart.

rhking rhking
61-65, M
2 Responses Dec 4, 2012

Ron, Ron, Ron. My Goodness! What a wonderful, well-written story! I really do love your stories. You have a unique way of describing places and your feelings, that I feel as if I'm floating above you and Charlotte and observing the two of you.

I am anxiously awaiting more and more stories from you! I'm so glad we met on EP. Your stories are lovely and give me an opportunity to let my life wander away and share yours. Bravo!

Boy Oh Boy Ron.....you sound like me when I was a child....lol. I'm curious. Is there more to this story? Here's me hoping that there is. Love, Joyce