A Listing of Characterizing Events (in no certain order) in My Life

    • I remember being born. (Explained elsewhere on my web site and on another WordPress blog.)
    • I invented a game of scrimmage football, played on any vacant lot. One kid, standing with his back to the other kids, throws the ball over his head to the gang behind, who catches it and runs through all the kids without being tackled.
    • At the age of twelve, or thereabouts, I and my three younger brothers went alone to Chicago for the day and ended up on a boat going from Chicago across Lake Michigan to Grand Rapids, MI, and back to Chi. We spent all our money (50 cents) gambling on a slot machine. We had our train tickets back to South Bend —the fare was 6 cents round trip per child— and we got home to a very permissive mom very late, in one long day.
    • I earned some change selling fruit and vegetables door-to-door off a truck from the House of David which came down from MI once a week in the summer.
    • I ushered football games at Notre Dame stadium a couple of years.
    • Actually, with the armed forces in Europe, I had my full season of football. We “USFA Travelers” went to every far corner of the occupation zones, Vienna to Bremerhaven. I played “quarterback”, first team. I did ALL the play-calling. I also played on defense, the farthest away from that action to stop any play that gets past the other players on defense. They did not want me to get into the thick of defensive play. I had one spectacular interception; I ran it back for 30 yards. I can still hear that ball as it hit my shoulder-pads. A truly wonderful memory.
    • I remember Fred Snite in an iron-lung being backed into the football-field runway, Notre Dame Stadium, to allow him to see a game from the end-zone, looking in a mirror above him.
    • Someone had a garden of beautiful vegetables in a lot on a corner next to our house. I would once in a while pick some cucumbers, put them in my red wagon and go door-to-door selling them. (My allowance was ten cents a week, from Mom, not from Dad, a tightwad. Tho it was the depression.)
    • One Christmas I got a green wagon that had head lights!
    • I once took baton-twirling lessons from Blaine Gamble, the drum major of the high school band. I never got the hang of rolling the baton over the back of my hand.
    • I can see today the sight I caught just as I heard a crack across the street when Mrs. Fagan fell out of the top of her cherry tree. She subsequently died.
    • Bob Fagan was tough. I witnessed him in a huge fight in the dust of the Battell school playground. He whupped a big bully, in a dusty circle of a great number of shouting students. Bob’s father ran the shoe-repair store downtown. His father was my Sunday school teacher at the Baptist Church. I was proud to know Bob as MY FRIEND. (Oct.,2014: I just read in the Mishawaka High School newsletter that “Fagie” has died. How well I remember him. It gets us all. Much admired was he, by me. That newsletter is the very best! In the nation. My unqualified judgment. You should be so fortunate.)
    • I never got bullied. My brother did.
    • I won a blue, box camera as second prize in an amateur contest in grade school (4th grade). I imitated Joe Penner (“Yuck! Yuck! Yuck! Wanna buy a duck?” or something like that. Also, I imitated the instruments that played in Tchaikovsky’s “Waltz of the Flowers”. There were other parts of my act. First prize went to Rocco Germano, Miss Koch’s prize violin pupil in grade school. He went on to become first chair violinist for the South Bend Symphony. I could never use the camera. It came with no film. It was the depression.
    • My Dad had a violin. I sat with it two times in Miss Koch’s violin instruction group held after school. I sat far away in the back. Then I dropped out. But that fiddle, a copy of the Stradivarius (sp). Can’t remember the date, possibly a 1914 copy a I read it, which was quite hard to read inside through the violin fancy-carved-curve on the top side, which must have a fancy name known only to the experts. I continue to kick myself in the rear for doing that–makes me kick myself every time I think of it, that I sold it!
    • I was a “robin redbreast” in one of Miss Koch’s operettas. Mom made the costume, of which I was very proud.
    • I once drove a “Tin Lizzie”, a Ford Model T. The family of an acquaintance ([?Something?] Brown, I think) owned one. Flip on the magneto (?), located on the steering wheel, along with other levers for other functions like engine speed — there was no starter — and go to the front of the car where the radiator was and down below was a built-in crank. Give it a crank, and watch out for kick-backs! A source of many injuries.It was domiciled in the Mishawaka hills south of town. We got in it and took it for a spin. Coming down out of the hills into a flat city was no problem. But when we drove it back into the hills, it did not have the power to make it up the hill. What to do? We turned it around and backed it up to get it back to its home. Reverse gears were more powerful than forward, it seemed.A car expert can tell me if my memory has served me well.
    • Going to the Senior Prom was a problem. I was a very shy person. I never went steady. I did not date. Maybe once or twice. I wanted to go to the prom, but who to take? My half-sister had a step-daughter (Kate Wallis). I asked her. But first I had to ask her to teach me how to dance. So we went to the prom, and I danced. My brother’s wife—they married at 18; their kids were almost like brothers and sisters to them. (My joke.)— once told me that several high-school girls had a crush on me. “NOW YOU TELL ME!” was my retort.
    • In the vicinity of the “tin-Lizzie” time and the “Senior Prom” time (circa 1943), I was reminded of another episode, that of my first kiss. I was “sweet 16 and never been”. I was riding my bike around on a calm, warm, full moonlit night, a few scattered, misty clouds scratching the moon, a mile from home. (My memory of this has some holes, but I remember the setting perfectly.) She was sitting on that slab of cement encasing the front steps of her house. I stopped and engaged her in conversational small talk. I knew her from school and had always admired her from a distance — ’twas ever thus — with her light sandy-reddish hair over a cherubic face. Very, very pretty, as moonlight will have it. We sat and talked a bit. I, on impulse, leaned over and kissed her lightly on her lips. She set my lips afire with a strange, new experience, lasting five moments. – — – I never got with her again, but I always admired her from afar, and smiled on passing in the school hall. Where are you now, Patty Airgood? (p.s., I recently found out in our alumni newsletter that she had passed away. I put that reminiscence of mine about her in the Newsletter, not identifying myself by name. Beautiful moments like that stick in memory, flushed with all the colors of an evening’s moon and shade, finely detailed. What a fun-filled mental drift! One who appreciates the art of kissing, always wants to get back to that “virgin” expression, not the heavy and too hot of a long history of doing it. But “touching”, dramatic, without extreme eagerness and heat, telling sincerity of emotion, not heat of sex, individually tailored just for her, not a copy of the hundreds in memory, avoiding at all costs the smash-mouth sort of too much experience doing it. That was my first kiss, and I wanted to return to it. But my woman is now gone, after 54 years. I do wish I could have that sort of “virginal” kissing experience again. I miss it. It would mean “loving” again. True attachment. Blazing comfort in relationship. Being side by side. Glances, of knowing. That cushy comfort of lips meeting meaningfully, hers and mine together, longingly to stay that way. Love. Mine for you, only. You for me, only. That way of doing tells me it excludes all others and I am inside that exclusive circle of the one and only. AHHH, knowing.)
    • I, now, the widower, alone, with two sons and their families, my only social outlet. Reminiscence in old age. Limbs of support severed.
    • My last “kiss” being a squeeze of my hand by my dying wife, her last gesture of her love for me. My word at that moment was, aloud, to her, simply, “eloquent”.
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Valentine’s Day: Reprise the First Kiss — Try It!

Discuss with your most significant other your first kiss, as a Valentine’s Day event. Where were you at that moment and when was it? How many details can you recall? Was it day or night? Was it in a car or home or park? Calculate the number of years (or days, or weeks, or months) ago that was. What was the nature of your anticipation, confident, uncertain, defeatist? Did you know it would happen, was it a spontaneous surprise, or were you oblivious to such a happening.?

The Reprise: Act it out!

Now act it out again. Find some place in your home that replicates the site of your first kiss. Let’s say it was a couch. Now go to a couch. Let’s say you sat side by side. Sit on the couch side by side as you did those years ago. Or do whatever you were doing then.

Arrange your position, arm placement, and so forth. Let’s say you looked at one another in a certain way. Do you remember what you may have been thinking at the moment?

Let’s say it went something like this:
heads turned toward one another;
one of you turned first because something happened to invite a kiss;
you or the other made the first lean-in together;
the eyes closed, but not entirely;
the lips touched (no tongue) delicately, and it was
simple,
sweet,
sincere,
spontaneous,
slow,
very,
very,
very slow;
or was it quick,and hot!
What did you feel?
How excited were you?
Did you know then that this person was the one?
Was it love?
Or something else?
Or did that take some time to grow?

Or maybe your union began with a “wink”, which is a long-distance kiss. Or maybe the relationship of your life began with a very hot look in the eyes over the distance of a crowded room, the look of an invitation.

Just a suggestion. Try it. I hope it works. It would be interesting to know what the results were, and to know what changes in the scenario above could be made.

Have a happy Valentine’s Day!

PostScript

Come to think of it! This “Reprise” idea would make a great number in a Broadway musical, a love song, starting comically and turning romantic, and then perhaps funny again at the end, but turning sweet.

Published in: on February 12, 2011 at 11:28 pm  Comments (18)