Summer Memories (Part One)
Martha. An old-fashioned name for an old-fashioned girl. The moment I met her I admired her. She was one of three sisters. There was a “rebellious one,” a “baby-of-the-family,” and a “good one.” Martha was the good one. She was scholarly, respectful of others, a good actress (we met in drama class), and, oh, yeah, seriously pretty.
So shortly after getting my driver’s license, I asked her out. I begged Mom for the car keys and blew all my paper route money taking smart-pretty good girl Martha to a romantic movie (Doctor Zhivago) and a French restaurant with an unpronounceable name. I just knew this was going to be it, my first Love With a Capital L!
But the date, unlike the movie, was less than epic. Our conversation was strained–Martha seemed uncomfortable the whole time (I wasn’t exactly Mr. Smooth). And then, during the final make-or-break “well, goodnight” moment… Let’s just say she kissed like my grandma. We didn’t go out again.
A year passed.
I’d spent the first few days of spring break with a friend’s voluptuous blond cousin, who was visiting from Texas, and the moment she left had booked a flight to visit her in Amarillo. I was deeply in lust. But the next day I drove to Newport Beach to hang out with our high school drama gang. One of whom turned out to be good-little-Christian-girl Martha. She was still smart, still good, still pretty; plus, she looked amazing in a bikini. But she wanted nothing to do with me. She’d heard about my infamous girl from Texas fling and decided I’d turned “shallow and worldly.”
Then the famous “Summer of Love” arrived. I organized a day-trip to Catalina Island for our drama group. Most brought dates. Martha came with a soft-spoken non-drama type named Ted. I was due to visit my fling from Texas next week, so I didn’t have a date. But Catalina (just 26 miles from the SoCal coast) isn’t called “the island of romance” for nothing. The beaches and bayside walks are made for lovers…
And for teenagers in love with love.
(To be continued)