I Remember Sandy
It started back in Michigan with my first girlfriend, Sandy, when I was about 14. No, not about 14. Fourteen exactly. Its not as if I cant remember. How could I ever forget?
Sandy was not your homecoming queen type. Far from glamorous, she was a shy, some would say mousy girl, but very sweet, with a soft voice you could hardly hear. Her ears protruded somewhat, but I thought they were cute. I was probably the first boy who had ever walked her home from school. If she didnt have much to spend on clothes, I never noticed or gave a darn. Maybe she wasnt a knockout, but she was a lot more feminine than most of the girls who were. I couldnt have been happier if shed been Audrey Hepburn. In fact she was better. I didnt have to worry that Sandy might ditch me for some rich, suave Cary Grant.
She was a pretty typical girl of the time, the Fifties, who I guess had played with dolls and dreamed of getting married and having babies some day, just as I had dreamed of making Little League and, eventually, the New York Yankees. She was about as far from being a vamp as I was from being a wolf. We were both skinny kids. Somehow we wound up holding hands. Necking? Petting? Are you kidding? If you wanted that stuff, you waited until you grew up and went to the painted women of the big cities out East.
It was the age of Elvis, but I didnt dance, so we mostly stayed home and listened to Pat Boones version of Tutti-Frutti, or maybe Nat King Cole singing Walkin My Baby Back Home. A couple of real Fifties swingers, Sandy and I. That was before baby was pronounced bye-buh. Not that Id ever call Sandy baby; I let Pat and Nat say it for me. I think she knew what I meant.
Sandys family was so poor that she could only afford one falsie; not that she told me this in so many words, but she had a bratty little brother it was hard to keep secrets from. Falsies were what the Fifties had instead of implants. I tried to assure her that her goiter was barely noticeable. She tried to cover it up with makeup, if Clearasil counts as makeup. (Tip to guys: Later in life I found the line Goiter? What goiter? useful with the fair sex. It puts them at ease immediately. Elementary savoir-faire.)
Sandy and I never got around to discussing marriage. Or even going steady. I wasnt ready to settle down. Besides, I was already settled down, essentially. I was born settled down. And our chief ambition wasnt to set the world on fire. It was just to be normal. That was hard enough when that brother of hers kept taunting, Sandys got a boyfriend! Sandys got a boyfriend! (Tip to the girls: If you wish to project the image of an exotic woman of mystery, lose the kid brother.)
Sure, I knew the facts of life (by then I was well into puberty), but you didnt mention them around nice girls. Remember nice girls? They had to learn the facts of life by marrying guys who already knew them, I figured. We didnt talk about family values. You just behaved yourself or else.
One fact of life your parents never told you about was what was then called impotence (when people mentioned it at all), now known as ED. Not that Id have believed it anyway. In fact if my elders had told me about it Id never have believed another doggoned word they said. The very idea would have seemed inherently improbable. And a teenage boy could use a little ED now and then. The least of our problems. We prayed for it. And now they want to cure it?
In her unassuming way, Sandy taught me all I really needed to know about women. Even later, when I (inadvertently) encountered those painted women out East, I found I couldnt go too far wrong as long as I remembered that each of them had once been a Sandy.
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