Friday, March 21, 2014
And the Shy Guy Dreams He was Don Juan
A funny thing happened at puberty when I suddenly recognized I got feelings around girls I never got around boys; I turned shy.
I found it difficult to talk to girls.
Of course I also had a pretty low self-image of myself, which didn't do anything to boost my confidence. I was tall, certainly a plus, but with a slight stoop and I was bony - skinny, and to make matters worse it was at this time I began wearing glasses. I had a crush on Mary Jane, who wore glasses, but I saw only her beauty. I saw no beauty in myself. My adolescence transformation was caught somewhere between Dr, Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
I never dated in Junior High. I didn't even go to the Junior High dances.
Midway through 1955 I escaped Downingtown, but that makes for a different story. My parents bought their first and only owned house. It was just on the edge of a small village called Bucktown. It was basically in the country. My parents purchased the home from a man named Sox, who they had some previous friendship with and sometimes went to auto races together.
Whose birthday and where are lost to history. I know I went to Boyertown with my parents on the previous Saturday and purchased a sport coat. For some reason, also lost to history, I came home from Boyertown with Richard Wilson's family instead of my parents. (Richard Wilson had become one of my best friends after the move to Bucktown.) Things must have worked out aright at the party because I began dating Helen fairly steady for a few months.
I don't know what happened, perhaps it just petered out as such things sometimes do or maybe she met another guy, but she disappeared out of my life before Spring of 1957. For the next year or so I was somewhat adrift and bereft from female companionship. It wasn't that I didn't wish to have a girlfriend; I was just too shy to approach them and ask for a date. I couldn't even go up to girls at dances and ask them to dance.
You might ask, why did I go to the dances, then, and I went to many. The reason was simple, my friend, Richard (pictured right) wanted to go to the dances and I had a car and he didn't. He had no problem getting girls, so once there he would disappear onto the floor with a string of partners and I would lean against a wall or hang about the refreshment table.
There was one respite during that long and lonely year. In August 1957 my parent decided to go to Wildwood, NJ for a week. They took me along, which was unusual because I cannot remember any other of their vacation trips that they ever took me. Perhaps to keep me out of their hair on this trip, they also invited Richard along.
Richard and I certainly did leave them alone. We were swimming all day and out carousing the
Boardwalk until it closed at night. I barely saw my parents at all.
Then on the first full day there, Richard comes back from a refreshment stand with two girls on his arms, Jeannette and Marilyn. They were sisters. Jeannette was the same age as us, while Marilyn was a couple years younger.
Richard was interested in Jeannette, but sometimes things are fair and she preferred the gentler gentleman, me! The rest of the time in Wildwood the four of us were together constantly. This included dancing at a Dick Clark Hop at the Starlight ballroom on the boardwalk, where Jeannette and I almost won the spotlight dance.
I liked Jeannette very much. She had these dimples beneath her eyes and a nice smile. Unfortunately, even though she also lived in Pennsylvania, it was a fair distance from my country home on the Northeast of Philadelphia in Langhorne. I visited her home a couple times, but for the most part it was a letter writing romance.
Meanwhile, at home, I found myself becoming depressed about my abilities to attract the opposite sex, constantly moaning and groaning to my mother that I would never have a girlfriend. I wouldn't either for nearly a year and then things got complicated and interesting.