My Most Enduring Summer Crush, Part 2

Image by Kimberly Stevens from Pixabay

(Did you miss the first part of the story? Read it here: PART 1).

As I mentioned previously, Chuck’s father held an important position as a Mason. I never knew what exactly because a question such as that would not have been important at the time. Chuck himself was in some rising position in DeMolay. I never knew his sister as she was older, but she was involved in some capacity in the Rainbow organization.

By this time, Chuck knew I was common folk. He probably rightfully assumed we did not have a lot of spare money lying around. When he invited me to the formal dance at the DeMolay conference, he suggested that if I should need a gown, there were several gowns in his sister’s closet I could borrow. This wasn’t necessary because I had older sisters of my own. 😉

Redacted clipping about the escorts for the dance. It reads like it was from the 1950s instead of the late 1960s.

Once my parents said I could go (I was only 14 or 15), I learned the conference would include young men from outside the area and they would be looking for dates for the dance. He suggested I should invite friends to attend and they would be matched with a date for the evening. I chuckle when I think about this, because most parents today would not allow their young daughters to go on dates with boys that were from outside the area and likely to never be seen again. But those were different times. Both my sisters and a couple of their high school friends agreed to go.

We arrived at the University of Akron in the early afternoon. I wore a cute pair of culottes and a summer top. Chuck said he would have on an orange turtleneck (I mistook a mailbox for him across campus – I don’t think I ever told him that.) Our dresses were stored in a room until time to change for the evening.

There was a hustle and bustle of local girls preparing for the evening. I wore my sister’s long sleeveless royal blue gown with a draped back and a slit up to the back of the knee. Elbow length white gloves with lace buttons completed the look. The gown was very form fitting and I felt like a million dollars.

We met with Chuck’s parents and I was so impressed with his father.  It was my first time seeing him outside of the campground. He was dressed in a tux and sported a mink bow tie. I thought that was the height of elegance. From there, Chuck wanted to take me to meet his friends.

What I did not know was that his friends were razzing him for dating someone with a name like Margaret. They obviously teased him about how I must look with an old name like that. When introduced to the ‘guys’ one of them confessed all this to me. He then said I was very pretty. I didn’t know what to think. Then he apologized to me and to Chuck for judging me prematurely. What a jerk to judge anyone for how they looked. I was not impressed.

I did not spend any time with my sisters and would not find out until later how disappointed they were in their blind dates for the evening. Chuck and I snuck away and walked through one of the campus garages until a campus police officer chased us out. I was running and laughing – all in a long formal and heels. And yes, I did split that slit a little further up the back of the dress.

I remember at one point in the evening he asked me what my favorite song was. I replied “Do It Again”, by the Beach Boys to which he replied “You have to do it once before you can do it again.” (Get your mind out of the gutter, he was talking about a kiss.) Corny, maybe, but it got him the kiss!

We would go to a few other DeMolay dances and date for a few years. By the time we were juniors or seniors in high school, the flame of young love had diminished and we each moved on. Even years later when my mother got too sick to watch after our cocker spaniel, Whiskey, Chuck took him. He was a good guy who left me with a lot of great memories.


My Most Enduring Summer Crush, Part 1

Photo by Joyful on Unsplash

My family and I spent a few summers camping at a local campground when we lived in Ohio. We would pack up the tent and supplies and head to Hickory Hills. Being tent campers, we were relegated to a certain area near the back of the campground. It was here I met my most enduring summer crush.

While mom and dad were busy setting up the tent, I was free to roam the campground and scope the place out. It was on one of these meandering walks, I caught this handsome young guy about my age – the ripe old age of 13 or 14 – sitting by a pop-up camper in a nearby campsite. We casually exchanged glances and a sheepish smile.

My walks around the campground became more frequent and I became a little braver. On the third or fourth day, I decided to speak to him as I passed. I tossed up my hand in a friendly wave and said “Hey, Charlie”. Now I had no way of knowing his name, but I had seen a film (cannot tell you the name of it) where someone had an invisible friend named Charlie. I thought I was oh, so clever and cute!

I won’t say I was smooth and aloof because I am sure my visits near his camping space became predictable. I continued to address him as “Charlie” and wave and he would smile and wave back. After several days of this, he finally spoke to me.

”Hey. Can I ask you a question?”

Are you kidding? Ask away Prince Charming. I responded rather sheepishly. “Sure.”

”How did you know my name?”

What? His name was Charlie? Well, that was rather fortuitous.

From there we talked and hung out together. I explained about the movie. I found out his name was Charles, but everyone called him Chuck. I met his father (his mother was far too refined to spend much time camping) and he met my parents. It did not take long for us to become an item.

We were just kids who spent our summer camping. We spent countless hours listening to the jukebox in the pavilion by the lake where all the kids hung out. What great times we had. I can still hear Creedence songs lofting through the still night air. We experienced wonderful freedom without fear. The trust our parents had that was never broken. And of course, that first summer kiss.

We continued to date after we left our summer at the campground. I would learn later that his family was rather “well-to-do” compared to mine. His father held a high position as a Mason and my crush was an important member of the local DeMolay chapter (I knew nothing about either).

Come back Friday to read Part 2 about my first formal DeMolay dance.