CAMDEN I wrote a two-part piece in August titled “That Sunday That Summer.” I was surprised to receive so much mail from people who liked this simple story I wrote at age 16. Some cited their personal experiences of fleeting summer love. Others asked how and when the relationship ended. So here, as Paul Harvey would say, is the “rest of the story.”
We continued to date occasionally until Bob left for Texas A&M in 1959. He was a terrible letter writer so our communication was by date only— holidays and visits to see his grandmother. I left for college at Ouachita two years later. Early In November, 1961, he called me at Terral Moore. Wow! A long distance call. In two weeks he had a long weekend coming up and asked for a date for that Saturday. Another Wow! I told him that would be perfect because Ouachita had an afternoon football game. He sounded excited over the phone and even asked me our school colors (a corsage??) And the name of the best restaurant for dinner after the game. A third Wow! At the beginning of the semester, I sent him my address ( he requested in August) and a brief letter on my new college stationery. True to his old nature, he did not respond and I remained peeved until now. So, you see this long distance call came as a huge surprise. Now this news got around the dorm fast…
Brenda had a long distance call from a boy. He was a junior at Texas A&M. He probably looked fine in that uniform and shiny brown boots. He was taking her to the next home game.
Early on when roomies, suite mates and other dorm friends were getting acquainted, we had shared our former boyfriend stories along with our other past history. I especially mentioned Bob in talking with the Little Rock girls. A couple of class mates remembered him…mainly from the fact he had driven the black Jaguar. Of course I bragged about his fancy car when I spoke of him! So the story got around…Brenda had a football date with the “guy from Texas A&M with the Jaguar” and I was looking forward to showing him off.
The day arrived cool and sunny. I wore my new black and white tweed suit and black pointed-toe heels. We dressed up for football games back then. Girls wore “church clothes”and boys wore suits with skinny ties.
Before noon, my mums arrived. Corsages were different, too—no long streamers with cowbells and other tacky things hanging from ribbons that reached the knees. They consisted of one or two yellow mums (mine had two) embossed with a purple OBC in the center and encased in purple ribbon.
I became a bit nervous around 1:30 when my buzzer had not sounded. That is how we were notified we had a guest waiting in the parlor. There appeared to be a steady stream of buzzers sounding and girls, proudly dressed up and holding corsage boxes strolling down the stairs –but where was he? He’d sent flowers. Surely he planned to show up. 1:50 P.M. MY buzzer sounded! Girls who did not have dates were hanging out their windows, gazing at the parking lot, noting who was leaving, who they were with, what they were wearing, if they were leaving in a car or walking down the hill to the stadium. Terral Moore girls were looking for “Brenda’s Jaguar.” The day was so pretty. I’d heavily sprayed my hair, hoping he would have the top down. In the parlor, he hugged me and I saw he was nervous as he pinned on my mums. He was also talking very fast.
“I’m so sorry I’m late but my car broke down on the way home and Dad had to come get me last night.” (My heart skipped a beat) “So I knew I’d have to use Mom’s car” (not bad; she drove a Cadillac) “and then she told me this morning about an important luncheon” (heart skipped four beats in a row) “so at the last minute, I had to grab a truck from Dad’s fleet!” to get here. This last sentence was spoken as we walked out the door. There it was. (My stomach lurched and I thought I might throw up right there on the sidewalk!)
You see, his family owned a large Terminex franchise … thus, in all my game day finery, in front of God and a host of giggling friends hanging out dorm windows, I had to climb into a white truck with an ENORMOUS termite perched on top, ready to pounce! The romance began to fizzle out after this last date.
Brenda Miles is an award winning columnist and author living in Hot Springs Village. She responds to all comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.