Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Slip-Sliding into the Sixies, and did I mention Sex?

Good grief, Charlie Brown, we had entered the 1960s. Initially the transition was pretty seamless. The world was at peace and everybody sort of expected it to stay that way. Of course, 1960 was the end of a decade, not the beginning of a new one.
A new President was sworn into office in January. of the first month of the real first year of the new decade. He brought youth, relatedly speaking compared to Eisenhower's older age and more stodgy leadership. It seemed to infuse the country with more energy and people were enamored by his quick wit, his wife's good look and his distinctive Boston Accent.  The 1960s appeared to begin with a lot of promise. They would, instead, turn tumultuous.
Meanwhile, Lois and I were winging it into 1961, and as a matter of record, we had become officially engaged the previous fall. Since we haven’t touched upon it lately, let’s talk about sex and where we were on the carnality scale as we began the countdown to our marriage in September.

I was a virgin and still fairly naïve and uninformed about the nuances of sex. Given my, let's face it, obsessive behavior toward certain secret activities,  I was dreadfully lacking in knowledge about "the pleasures of the flesh". I had no practical experience, no guidance, no mentor and very little theoretical training. What slim knowledge I possessed had come from one dated sex manual, a thin one at that,  and many, many, many “girlie” magazines.
By 1961 I was not buying those more raunchy titles from “Ratso Rizzo” at the Farmers’ Market. I’m not even sure he was still operating. I was purchasing the more mainline, slicker, if duller magazines sold at the local newsstands, such as “Swag”, “Cavalier”, “High Society” and also “Playboy”, which had finally made it onto our local racks (no pun intended). My only images of the naked female form  came from pictures, still hiding the naughty bits behind potted plants or the air brush.  These magazines were not very informative about human sexual diversity. If they wrote anything it was usually fairly commonplace, mundane and sometimes brutal; that is, it didn't much stray from the "missionary position" and the male was dominant.
I understood the basics, certainly.  I understood the basics of the automobile engine, too. Fuel,  air and electricity compressed in an confined chamber by pistons going up and down in what were called strokes, until the pressure built up into an abrupt explosion that turned a crankshaft that in turn moved us forward. Understanding the concepts of internal combusion did not make me a mechanic. I wasn't about to go tear an engine apart and rebuild it. Knowing the basics of the human reproductive system didn't make me a Casanova.   I had experienced plenty of explosions at the end of strokes because I had developed an intimate relationship with my right hand.  I had many an eyeful of near naked ladies, but I was like the dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do if I ever caught one.

Lois was also a virgin, but she was far advanced of me in the gradations of sex. No, she had no more practical experience than I, but she had not been lying about perusing photos of Beefcake in magazines either, although in all fairness, there was precious little available of that nature then. There was no Cosmopolitan as it would become in a few years under the hand of Helen Gurley Brown. In 1961 it still was under the banner of “Hearst International”.  There was still a lot of emphasis on quality fiction and little of the sex features that would eventually dominate. By the 1960s it was also tanking.
“Playgirl” didn’t even yet exist.
If a woman wanted to drool over some man her best available source might have been publicity shots in "Photoplay", "Screen Stories" or one of the other fan magazines. If something more scandalous was sought, they could subscribe to "Confidential Magazine". None of these were comparable to the men's magazines I was salivating over.

But Lois took a more intelligent approach to the subject of sex, which was something she wanted to know everything she could about. When she headed off to the library to do research and reading for school, she would wander into the Sexual Materials Section and study the volumes there. It is a wonder she hadn't wandered over to the physical experiment side because she had a hefty interest in the subject. She had one very strong admirer in a "bad boy" type, but her parents chased him away and then the fellow her mother constantly tried to foist off on her was gay.
Her mother had insisted she would never smoke and never drink, and I am certain laying with a man not her husband was on the list. She started smoking in Junior High School, probably had her first drink by High School, but did manage to avoid the most dangerous of all. This may be attributed to her going into class early and overhearing clusters of boys killing time discussing the "easy girls", telling stories of these young women and bragging about their supposed conquests. She said, "I didn't want to be like one of those girls." She had respect for herself and like me felt sex was for after you married.

During the time we were engaged, she would write me many letters at the end of the work day, especially on Fridays and pass them to me. This one if fairly typical:
Dear Darling,
I really don’t know how to start this, but I just got off the phone and after taking about you to Ev [Her best friend, Evelyn Weinmann], I find that I miss you so much I want to write to you. Maybe this can take away some of the loneliness.
Oh Larry you don’t know how anxious I am for our wedding day to come. I miss you so much each night it’s getting unbearable. At this moment I’d give anything to look up and see you standing beside me and be able to rush into your arms. I don’t think I’d ever allow you to let go of me.
I don’t know what I’d ever do if you would leave me. It hurts just having to leave you for a few hours each night. It is unthinkable of what it would be like never having you around me and never being in your arms. Larry you don’t know how much you mean to me and how much I really do love you. It’s more than you can imagine. Friday night I felt what it was to really really want you. I know that we must not get too carried away in the future, but I am not ashamed to admit that I enjoyed what went on Friday night (such as it was). I’d certainly never be ashamed to admit that I love you, want you, and need you with every fibre of my being. I hope you don’t think this sounds corny. (Dick Clark says that you should never be ashamed to admit a feeling of genuine affection for another person, and I can’t think of a more genuine feeling of affection than mine for you.)
Well, I feel a little less lonely now. I hope you don’t get sick reading this letter, but I wanted to write you. Let me close by saying that I love you more than anything and want to make you happy.  You are truly a wonderful person and deserve every good thing.
I love you. Lois Jean.
Most were similar in nature, but shorter. When I recently mentioned the similarity of her letters as being nice and flattering, she interrupted to say, “They were Monotonous”, and then she accused me of mocking her. I was not mocking, simply noting that her letters basically said the same thing:

How she was lonely for me.
How wonderful I was (which is fine, nice to hear, even if I don’t think I’m that great.)
How she couldn’t wait for the work day to end.
How she had to close because in was late afternoon and closing time.

Today was the first afternoon in a week and a half I can scribble you a
note. Well darling only one more day of this place and I can see you again without the audience in back of us keeping notes on what we do. Oh Larry I love you so much I wish our wedding was six weeks away instead of six months. I miss you so much I can hardly stand it. I feel so lonely without you as if the main piece was taken from my life.
Well it’s time to get out of here.

I love you, Lois.

There was some variation, such as where she wrote of the discussions going on in her office or made the remark about my fellow workers spying on us, but often such asides were missing. Most of the time these notes didn’t convey our growing passion. The one sited above does where she wrote: “Friday night I felt what it was to really really want you. I know that we must not get too carried away in the future, but I am not ashamed to admit that I enjoyed what went on Friday night (such as it was).”
You maybe can read between the lines. Sex was sneaky in the sixties. It was a bit more talked about than in the ‘fifties, but a lot of it was semi-hidden. There was a growing field of sexual subliminal messages being tucked away in the advertisements at that time. The so-called "sexual revolution" had not yet germinated.
I understand her diaries were a different story  with nothing subliminal at all and I wish I could read them, but unfortunately she shredded them. 
How could you shred them?! I am upset about anything I ever wrote being destroyed and gone; how could one shred their diaries!
She says they were too graphic and she didn’t want the kids to read about our escapades. If you remember the instance of the inside-out leopard skin capris, then you know the longer our engagement went, so did we, that is further and further. I believed then and believe now that sex should be preserved for after marriage, but sorry kids, we didn’t make it that far. My advice is people should keep their engagements short so they don’t reach a point when their love carries them away.
Our engagement was almost a year and that is way too long. Especially with all that hidden sex imagery around.

All I have is her letters and they leave a lot to be desired.
Hi Honey,
Well Friday is almost here and needless to say I am very happy about it and about being with you again. I hope the remaining 21 weeks go as fast as this one has. I’ll really be happy about it.
I’m really starting to get excited about the wedding. I’m still a little shook when I think all of this is really happening to me. It’s really like a dream come true. Then when I look at you and realize that in five months you will be my husband and will be with me for the rest of my life, I really get happy. Oh Larry you don’t know what you do to me. I’ve never been so happy and excited in my whole life. I can’t wait until I walk into that church and see you standing up there. I’ll probably start crying. (For the first time in my life). You’re so handsome to begin witth & on our wedding day you’ll be more so.
Well dear before I get carried away completely I’d better close. If I’m glassy eyed tonight you’ll know what’s the matter with me.  I love you very much,
Lois Jean.

Hi Honey,
Here are the erasers you asked for.
Gee honey I’m so glad to see you again. I missed you so much those two days. I can’t wait till next month so I can shop for my gown. Oh darling the wedding seems so near. I can’t wait. I love you so very much.
Well I’d better close. I Love you.

Your ever adoring fiancée, Lois Jean.

I did take advantage of her secretarial skills and she agreed to type my manuscripts for me so they looked professional.
To my wonderful understanding fiancé, I find as I type your book that I have never been so lonesome for you as I am right now. As I read the stories which will bring fae and acclaim to you in the near future I feel a growing sense of pride in your accomplishments and in you as a person. Oh Larry, I can’t help it. I was sitting here typing and I got so lonely for you I just had to write you. Maybe if I put my feelings into words I won’t feel so bad.
Darling your stories are fabulous. I really really like them. I’m glad you have confidence in your abilities. You have every reason. You’re very talented, ambitious and have a wonderful personality. All of these spell one thing: success! You’ve made me so proud of you. I still don’t know how I was ever so lucky as to get you for my husband-to-be. Whatever I did, I’d do it a thousand times over. When I think of our wedding day and life after that I feel so happy I could cry. You’ve given me so much happiness in the seven months we’ve gone together, I don’t know what I could ever do to repay you. I can’t put into words how much you mean to me.
Oh Larry, it’s only February and already I could almost cry every time I get home from sheer loneliness. I miss you from the time I leave you till the next time I see you. What’s it going to be like in July or August? Larry, Darling I wish you could get out of that department you are working in. It’s really a shame those guys keep bugging you all the time. I feel so bad about it when I see how it bothers you. I wish I could do something but of course I can’t.
Well Darling I must close. Thanks for putting up with me through this letter. I can’t help telling you my feelings for you.
I love you, Lois Jean, the girl who will be with you forever.

1 comment:

Ron said...

What a wonderful love story. You and Lois are one of the most perfectly matched couples I know. Your parents were too. Thank you for sharing this most personal part of your life.