Monday, April 27, 2009

First Date

It was 1961 and I was in the seventh grade at Olympus Junior High. I felt very grown-up when I was asked on my first date to our school's dressy night dance. (Yes, unbelievably in those days the school board allowed date-dances in Junior High.) It didn't matter that I hardly knew the boy who asked me, a skinny, geeky guy with thick horned-rimmed glasses. I'll call him Freddy.

I was going on my first date at the age of twelve.

My mother worked at ZCMI, a department store at the first Mall in Salt Lake City. She bought me a drindl-style jumper with a frilly white blouse and a new pair of black, patent-leather Mary-Jane shoes. I bristled at the idea of nylon stockings (I don't think I even wore a bra at the point), but knew it was part of growing up. Gratefully, she didn't allow me to wear high heels at that age.

The night of the dance arrived and Freddy's father drove. They picked me up at 7:00 PM sharp. As I slid into the large front seat between the dad and my date, the radio began to blare "On the Street Where You Live" from My Fair Lady. I was so embarrassed I wanted to cry and hoped that neither one noticed the irony except me.

The song droned on throughout our ride to the Junior High as Freddy Eynsford-Hill serenaded the lovely Eliza Doolittle. It was a song with which I was very familiar since we had an LP of the Broadway soundtrack. I thought we'd never arrive at the dance.

And oh! The towering feeling
Just to know somehow you are near.
The overpowering feeling
That any second you may suddenly appear!

The gymnasium was decorated with crepe-paper and the lights were low, but the dance was totally uneventful as we waltzed two-feet apart in a large circle. We didn't talk much. Neither of us knew what to say. The ninth graders were dancing much to close for comfort. ICK!

After the dance, Freddy's dad picked us up. (Had Mr. Eynsford-Hill been waiting in the parking lot the whole time?) Freddy's best friend plus date (J and B) got into the back seat of the car for a ride home.

Freddy asked his dad to take us to Paul's Ice Cream Parlor for an after dance treat. We went inside the parlor and sat at a table. Of course, Mr. E-H remained in the car.

None of us had any money except Freddy, but he proudly announced he was paying and we could order anything on the menu---as long as it was under 25 cents! J, B and I each ordered a single-scoop ice cream cone while Freddy ordered a giant banana-split!

We finished our cones quickly, then sat for twenty-minutes watching Freddy gorge, gobble, slurp and devour his gooey, yummy, decadent treat.

As I arrived home, I remember thinking, "I hope I don't have to go on a date for a long, long time!" Looking back on it now, it's a funny story. Then it was a painful event, something to endure like the dentist's chair.

What was your first date like? How old were you? Was it fun or agonizing?


PI said...

Poor Freddy. Let's hope he improved with age and experience.
I can't remember my first date - it was so long ago but one thing I learnt was the worst thing is going out to dinner with someone you hardly know. Much better to go for a walk where you can relax and get to know each other and then enjoy eating together - or not.

Travelin'Oma said...

My first dance may have been that same night. I actually fell in love, but not with my date.

I remember a ninth grade couple that stood and swayed in the middle of the dance floor. They were both gorgeous student body officers, and she had one long, thick blond braid that reached down to her hips.

By the end of the night I was head-over-heels with the dream of being a popular and beautiful historian at OJH. (I lost out to the reality of a popular and beautiful historian—YOU!) I'm sure the dream included swaying in the middle of the dance floor with a gorgeous ninth grade hunk. That never happened either.

I loved Paul's ice cream. My date didn't end up quite so fancy. We walked home without talking at all, and then at the door he said he had a joke. "Knock knock." "Who's there?" "Terrify." "Terrify who?" "Terrify tissue?" And then he quickly kissed me on the cheek and ran off!

Sheri said...

Marty, You are too funny--popular and beautiful historian--is this a joke? I can't believe you felt that way.

I wish we could go back in time and I'd hand you the historian job on a silver platter!

KM said...

oh dear. that was just hilarious to read. Ha ha! i can't believe you have such a clear and good memory! oh that's a classic. AND i'm very jealous sundae's were 25 cents. You can't even buy a piece of gum for that. Why wasn't i born decades earlier???

Leslie said...

I googled Paul's Ice Cream and found your blog. Very funny! I went to elementary school at Sherman on 23rd and 33rd...right across from Paul's. We used to go there after school and buy lime phosphates and penny candy. So fun! And that was the place where we went for treats after a special program at school. It all seems like a hundred years WAS a hundred years ago!