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I’ve written about parts of this previously. Yesterday, I was asked to think of the most magical, romantic summer and this is what popped into my mind. So, with a failing memory, this is how I remember that magical summer.

 

High school. Sophomore year. That was the best year I remember.  It was mostly because of Him. He was a year older but we shared a couple of classes and because all the teachers seated us in alphabetical order, I was always right behind him. He was cute. He had that boyish look and his sense of humor oozed. His smile was sweet, innocent, yet mischievous, and I loved it. We didn’t see each other outside of classes but there was an attraction; a chemistry that couldn’t be denied. He always joked with me or paid me compliments as we got to our seats. Mine was the last seat in the first row in Geometry. One day, as we were passing our homework forward, he grabbed my hand instead of my paper and he didn’t let go right away. He just hung on. The person in front of him had to turn around and grab our work from him. That broke the hold but then every chance he got, he would grab my hand and not let go. It was silly and it was kind of nice to have the attention. Well, it was more than kind of nice. Then one day, while the teacher was at the front of the class and students were being called on to demonstrate different geometry solutions, he put his hand back, reaching for my hand but he ended up grabbing my pencil. It was the only pencil I had and I really wanted to follow along with the demonstration at the front of the class. Besides, I wasn’t super good in geometry so I needed to pay attention and I really didn’t like getting into trouble and I was afraid I would. I quietly asked him to give me my pencil and he handed it back over his shoulder. I reached for it but he wouldn’t let it go. He just held on to it. Then as I nudged it away from him, he grabbed a hold of it again and the pencil broke in half.

By then, the teacher was aware of some kind of disturbance in the field but he was a really cool teacher so he just sort of looked back and went on. Then there was an effort to get me another pencil as He asked the other students around us if they had an extra pencil. No one did. So he said he’d have to fix it. How do you fix a broken pencil? Well, you ask everyone around you for tape and you try to tape it back together and while you’re doing that, you’re going on and on, just above a whisper, describing what you are doing to fix the pencil, srep by step. It took several attempts at cutting the right size piece of tape and getting the two pieces into just the right position to wrap the tape around them. By then, the teacher had stopped talking and was looking back waiting for him to stop talking. The whole class was looking at us and I was turning a deep shade of red and trying not to laugh at the narrative which was really very funny. Finally, the teacher asked him if he would turn around and pay attention and he had the nerve to say, “Just a couple more minutes. I’m performing surgery on this pencil.”  The whole class cracked up, as did the teacher who just said, “Alright then hurry it up so you can follow along.”

That did it. After that we were just about inseparable, spending our Nutrition Break and our Lunch Break together every day, sitting on the Library ledge, talking, laughing, and then walking to classes together. There were after school functions but we didn’t go together because my parents were very strict. We had to meet at the gym and part ways at the gym after the games so my parents wouldn’t see us walking together when they dropped off and picked up.

Then came summer. That was really difficult because neither of us drove yet (he would get his license later that summer and I was still a year away from getting mine) and we lived pretty far from each other. Neither of us had a bike either. So the end of school meant we would, most likely, not see each other until September. When he signed my yearbook, he ended his page long dedication by quoting the lyrics to that old song, See You In September. It didn’t end there. That summer, my aunt and uncle came to visit us in northern California and they talked my parents into letting me go home with them. They lived in southern California, near Huntington Beach. The plan was for me to go home with them and then drive to Mexico with them for their annual summer trip to visit my aunt’s family. I would be gone for over a month. I wrote a letter to my sweet young man and he wrote back, asking me to send him some sand. Well, I did. One afternoon, as my cousin Rosie and I lay on the sand at Huntington Beach, I wrote him a letter. My cousin had heard all about him during our late night confessions as we spent hours talking when we were supposed to be sleeping. Rosie dared me to send him some sand like he had asked me to. So I wrote the letter and finished it off with the lyrics to Sealed With A Kiss and just before sealing the envelope, I put in some sand, sealed it, and kissed the back flap.

When I got back home, he called and asked if I could go to play miniature golf with him. He had gotten his license! Well, my parents said yes but only if my little sister could go with us. So, embarrassing as it was, I called him back and told him of my parents conditions and he accepted. So off we went to play mini golf but only after my dad invited him in to see his gun collection. I found it not so funny that every time a boy came anywhere near the house my dad took out his guns to clean them and the boys always were invited to see the collection. So after the not so subtle gun display, we went off to mini golf where he managed to steal a few kisses while my sister wasn’t looking. Our magical mini golf night ended with a trip to Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour where we shared a huge banana split before he drove us home. When he walked me to the door and we said goodnight, he dared to kiss me again and I was in heaven. 

A couple of days later, while we talked on the phone, he informed me that his mom had not been happy about having sand spill all over the floor and he had to spend hours cleaning up every grain of sand to his mom’s satisfaction. That ended up not being so great because his mom soon put a stop to our budding romance by telling him that he was getting too serious about me and forbidding him from seeing me anymore. So, while summer held out promise, fun, song lyrics, mini golf, stolen kisses and sand, in hindsight that sand and the lipstick kiss on the back of the envelope might not have been a good idea because it garnered the attention of his mom.

Oh well! It was fun and it was probably the best summer I had for many decades. So, to the Pencil Surgeon who might be reading this, thank you for the best summer of my youth!

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