This is the week of the reunion of the Brazil High School class of 1957. I've got a date and a plan.
Lucky me! I don't have a curfew anymore. I'll unscrew the porch light bulb before I go. Could be I'll rekindle the embers of yesterday's fire, at the end of a perfect day. Maybe not! I'm not too crazy about 100-watt light bulbs burning brightly yet today. Somehow they have got a way of taking the electricity out of magic moments that end a decent date.
In the spring of my life, when suitors brought me home after 9 p.m., they didn't hang out in our driveway and seek a long goodbye, if we were even a few minutes late.
No, the guys were too busy looking at the images peering out from behind the window blinds, taking head count and praying there was no firepower behind that white enameled door, behind the screen.
A couple times the blind fell and that really gave their jaws the jitters.
At night, our old front porch was the airy bedroom of several mouthy beagle hounds. Ten times as many antsy canines displayed their vocal abilities from the kennels out back that, of which, then woke up the other barnyard sleepers; setting in place what sounded like a rebellion. Sometimes that caused the young gentlemen's legs to shake in their loafers and sent them sailing up Elm Street never to look back.
My big brother, the protector, thought he knew how to play his game, when it came to my dating. He observed the subject closely from the get go. If his findings weren't favorable, the moonlight gambler laid the cards on the table. Quickly and quietly, so that only our father could hear, Johnny culled out the spades from the pure of heart. Then it was up to me to fold the game, whether I drew a good hand or not.
One day in August of 1957 while trailing, not so quickly, but quietly, behind my brother and his girlfriend from Coal Bluff, around the length and breadth of the Vigo County Fair grounds, I came across a sailor amid the crowd.
We made eye contact. Judging, by his generous smile and well-chosen words of small talk that followed; the well -groomed young serviceman didn't appear to be a spade to me.
My brother was too busy entertaining the girl and watching the peacock plumage printed on her long full skirt move, to notice or take notes. I did. The little swab was grinning like a Cheshire cat and winking as if, he had been speared in the eye. I suppose I read something into that.
The panda bear that he won and laid in my arms was a point maker too. I dig Fred out of the cedar chest every now and then and visualize the picture. This year the bear turned 50. It has been a well-loved bear by four generations of the family. My children and grandchildren, great-grandchildren and I can attest to that.
We exchanged addresses and went our separate ways. He went back to his ship, the USS Des Moines, which was anchored at Norfolk, Va. During that space in time, I continued my schooling at Smart Appearance Beauty College in Terre Haute.
Paul and I corresponded regularly, until November of the same year, when he was called home on emergency leave to attend the funeral of his oldest brother, Lowell Max. While Paul was home on said leave, we saw each other again. I introduced him to my friends, but since I didn't want to add anymore steam to our worn out wallpaper; I didn't take him home or speak of him until…
With little time to spare and two pure hearts beating in unison, we decided to march to the tune of a different drummer, throw caution to the wind and elope. We agreed that we could do that sooner than later. Since state board was only days away, Dr. Kunkler had already given me documentation of the results of my mandatory blood test. That could serve a duel purpose. Everything fell in place, quickly and quietly.
I left the house on the morning of Nov. 15, 1957, just as I did every morning since June of that year; I was wearing my crisp white uniform and toting the tools of my then chosen trade in my Samsonite case. However, I wasn't going to school that day or ever again and more; I had other fish to fry. A young man, with honorable intentions, was waiting to marry me.
The bus - ride that day seemed unusually long. What if that little "Banty" rooster failed to show up and was just all crows? After all we only had three dates.
There is more. Our wedding day! Next week, catch the fur as it flew at the Lynch house that evening and more stuff that I have to tell you, in Brazil Buzz. I just got warmed up and it's time to close the window.
I can be reached at 446-4852 or drop me a line to 613 N. Elm St., Brazil, Ind., 47834.