Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dating a witch

Here's another short exerpt from my upcoming book on growing up in the '60s.  (You can bide the time until it's released by getting my other book.  Order now!)  This is the perfect post for June 15th (you'll see why).   It's 1967.  I've just gone out on a date with Eleanor.  During the date she casually mentioned that she was a witch. 

Eleanor was extremely cute. Huge blue eyes, a slight over-bite (which works for me), svelte figure, and a Dorothy Hamill wedge haircut.

Afterwards we went to Sambo’s for dessert (yes, there was an actual coffee shop chain named “Sambo’s”) and I followed up on the witch thing. Her months in bed with mono required no further details (although I would hear them again… and again… and again). I asked, “So you mean you’re like Samantha in Betwitched?” “No,” she snorted, “that show is so unrealistic.” (Really? You mean you can’t wriggle your nose and turn someone into a hamster? Why isn’t there a disclaimer at the beginning of the show?)

It’s been awhile so I hope I can recall this correctly. Jesus blessed her by making her beautiful, but with the extra attention came people who would take advantage of her, or resent her. And so, as protection, since He might find himself preoccupied with other things (like seeing that the Packers covered the spread in the Super Bowl), He also blessed her by making her a witch. Her faith in Jesus was rewarded with an interest in the occult. And she now had the power to inflict curses (which she assured me she only did when absolutely necessary). I think that’s pretty much the gist. It was always my understanding that the Christian Bible strongly denounced any occult practices because they were the work of Satan, but why quibble?

She squeezed my hand as we walked to her front door and kissed me on the lips. Suddenly she went from major nutcase to delightfully eccentric.

Such are the concessions we make for a potential first girlfriend.

We started going out every Saturday night, usually to concerts.

Eleanor was what was commonly called a D.D.H. – damn door hugger. I’m surprised she didn’t fly out of the car whenever I took sharp turns (and there were a couple of nights I took sharp curves on purpose).

I would get my kiss on the lips goodnight. I would get to put my arm around her in the movies. And eventually we made out in my car. I was allowed to grope and pet but she always had to be fully clothed. I was never permitted to learn just how cold a witch’s tit really is.

At school she very friendly but not particularly affectionate. If I held her hand she didn’t pull away, but she never offered hers. She was usually surrounded by her magpie friends. Still, I would say we were an item… if only to the keenly observant.


The spring prom was coming up and I thought, okay, finally, here’s the perfect time to really make my move. Rumor had it that lots of girls lost their virginity on prom night – it being a special occasion and more importantly, curfews were relaxed.

So I rented a tuxedo, bought her the obligatory wrist corsage, and escorted her to the elegant Taft multi-purpose room for this gala occasion. It was my first prom and I couldn’t be more under whelmed. Overdressed classmates awkwardly milling about drinking punch or standing in a long line to get their picture taken. Missing this is what drove Janis Ian to madness?

After the prom I took Eleanor to Monty’s Steak House in Encino for a nice dinner (you can’t go to Shakey’s in formal attire).   Then we drove to a secluded spot up in the hills for a little amore. At first I stabbed myself on her corsage but things improved. We were making out, she was seemingly receptive, so I reached behind to unzip her dress.

And she stopped me.

She wasn’t ready to do that (at least with me). I lied and said all the right things – I really cared about her, respected her, she was the most beautiful girl in the entire world, I would pledge to a coven. No dice. But she said it was because of her, not me. And then she explained. I must say, I’ve been given the brush-off a fair amount in my time, but no rejection since Eleanor’s could even compare when it comes to originality. She said she couldn’t get involved because of her birthday. I said, “You have to be at least 16, you’re a junior in high school.” No, no. That’s not what she meant. Her birth date.

Eleanor was born on June 15, 1950. That’s the middle of the month, the middle of the year, the middle of the century. It was her lot in life to always be in the middle, always stay uncommitted.

Even at the time I thought, “Wow, that was impressive. She’s a fucking loon but that was impressive.”

We broke up after that. My birth date is February 14th. We weren’t compatible. I was meant to gun down gangsters in a Chicago garage.

Happy birthday, Eleanor.  

32 comments:

willieb said...

THAT is a great rejection story! Best I ever got was a girl in college who told me she couldn't have sex with me tonight, then pulled out a date book and told me we could do it next Wednesday. I agreed but we never got together again.
Are you calling this weekend's Mariners-Phillies games, Ken? If you are, we're calling them "The Four Aces" here in Philly. And don't make my wife's mistake: his name is Shane Victorino, not "Vic Torino." Good luck!

Matthew said...

Did she weigh more than a duck?

Roy said...

Sambo's in our area growing up (NE Ohio) became Denny's. Offensive murals gave way to simply offending customers.

Mary Stella said...

Who knew that numerology could lead to extended virginity.

Are you calling this weekend's Mariners-Phillies games, Ken? If you are, we're calling them "The Four Aces" here in Philly.

Unless ESPN carries one of the games, I won't get to watch the series here in the Keys. I'd love to listen to you call a game if I can catch it over the Internet. I trust you not to fall into the cliche pit of most announcers from other teams. Seriously, they need to find something more to say than, "Philadelphia fans once booed Santa Claus."

Philly fans might be tough but we show up. This week the Marlins get to experience what it's like to play in front of a crowd.

Wes Parker in Iowa said...

Nice story....Had forgotten about Sambo's...used to frequent the store in Reno when I was in grade school.

Stef said...

She's nuts. The middle of the year would be July 2nd. - 182 days before, 182 days after.
It probably was just you.

RCP said...

“So you mean you’re like Samantha in Betwitched?” “No,” she snorted, “that show is so unrealistic.”

Thank you. Thank you! What a pleasure to begin the day with laughs.

My birthday is February 15, which means, uh, nothing. By the way, Ken, your memory is amazing - how many people can remember where they ate (much less were) in 1967?

kingvermin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard Y said...

I remember Sambo's and I mistakenly thought as a teen it was called 'Little Black Sambo's'only because the wall paper inside was of the nursery rhyme based on a South Indian boy being chased by tigers.

GRayR said...

Great story Ken,
Now that this is one of 'those' blogs, I am nervous to post a comment. What if someone famous reads this and is offended... Oh to hell with 'em.

Is this why you wrote this post Ken, this line:
"I was never permitted to learn just how cold a witch’s tit really is."

I snorted when I read that. My Friday question is: Have you ever written a script just for one great line? It sure seems that my wife and I have seen this phenomenon on the boob tube.

Gary

AlaskaRay said...

Ken Levine wrote:
>>And she now had the power to inflict curses (which she assured me she only did when absolutely necessary).<<

So that's what happened to you. It explains a lot. ;-)

Ray

VP81955 said...

Based upon what you learned, Ken, I'm surprised you didn't freelance a "Sabrina" episode or two.

P.S. Enjoy D.C. next week, Ken. Life is good, Zim (Ryan) is back, and Zimm (Jordan) is evolving into one of the NL's better pitchers. Johnny Holliday and Phil Wood await your arrival to talk both baseball and rock 'n' roll.

wersathf vesle said...

There is one Sambo's left:
http://www.sambosrestaurant.com/610/510drivein.htm

Ken can go there for his next prom, too - it's nearby, relatively speaking.


I really think you're groovy
Let's go out to a movie
What do you say, now, Elenore, can we?
They'll turn the lights way down low
Maybe we won't watch the show
I think I love you, Elenore, love me

Janet T said...

ok I was going to say, the last time I was in a Sambos was in Santa Barbara, years ago.................now I know why- it is still there

Great story Ken.

Mac said...

Great story. I've been rejected in numerous creative ways, but incompatible birth dates is a new one. Why are the beautiful ones always witches?

Jason said...

So you guys are friends on facebook now?

Cap'n Bob said...

I recall going to Sambo's and the East Indian boy was a mascot. The menus had the story of Sambo. He was chased around a tree by tigers until they turned into pancake batter. Yes, he was called Little Black Sambo, which I guess was too much for the p.c. crowd. But he wasn't African, he was Asian.

Scott said...

Enjoyable story to read- and uncanny, at least for me, as June 15th is my birthday, too! I prefer to stay on the SIDE of the universe, though.

Happy birthday, Elanor, wherever you are. And happy birthday to Ken's old buddy, Wade Boggs, as well!

-Scott from Marina Del Rey

Scott said...

"And don't make my wife's mistake: his name is Shane Victorino, not "Vic Torino." Good luck!"


-Ken is a Dodger fan, willieb. Regrettably, he is all too familiar with Shane Victorino.

jbryant said...

I bet I could've scored with the witch -- my birthday is Halloween.

The Sambo's in my Kentucky hometown also became a Denny's. Cap'n Bob: I always thought the tigers turned into butter -- which was then put on the pancakes.

cshel said...

Love that story, Ken. It always cracks me up to hear what a guy will tolerate just to get lucky. : o

The children's book was called "Little Black Sambo", but the restaurant was just called "Sambo's". The tigers did turn into butter. Because of that story, as a really young child, I had terrible recurring nightmares of being chased by tigers through the jungle at night. I still have an old Sambo's menu and a couple of wooden coffee tokens that I got when I was a kid. It's funny to see the prices - pancakes are like 30 cents - or something like that. I haven't looked at it in a long time. : )

te said...

Because of that story, as a really young child, I had terrible recurring nightmares of being chased by tigers through the jungle at night.

Not an African jungle, unless the tigers had escaped from a zoo. There are no wild tigers in Africa -- I probably knew that in the third grade (as, most likely, did Cap'n Bob, you, and many others), but some folks just want to be offended.

Sambo's was (like Kinko's) founded in Santa Barbara. I've eaten there a few times myself, though not since the '60s.

Mary Stella said...

I really think you're groovy
Let's go out to a movie
What do you say, now, Elenore, can we?
They'll turn the lights way down low
Maybe we won't watch the show
I think I love you, Elenore, love me


Gotta love The Turtles. The chorus is my favorite part.

Elenore, gee I think you're swell And you really do me well
You're my pride and joy, et cetera


I read that the entire song was never intended to be taken seriously but the band wrote it in protest, with screwy lyrics, after intense pressure by the record company to do another Happy Together. Joke or no, the song was always damned catchy.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ken,

Boy do I remember Sambo's. There was one right across the street from Temple Emanuel in San Jose. All my Jewish friends and I would try and cut our Sunday school class and go there. But most of the time we would go there - we, being Les Saunders, Mark Rosenburg, Ed Baum, Sheldon Cohen and Randy Silverman - would always go up to the cash register counter where they had all of the candy bars and such. My sweet drug of choice was a pack of sour cherry cough drop-like candies, wrapped in little wax paper. I can't remember the company that made them, but I bought a pack every week before Hebrew School. God, they were sooooooo good! If I had one right now, I'm back in Mr.Bogomelski's first year Hebrew school class. Everyone at Hebrew school would load up with candy from Sambo's,and take them to class. That was the "in" thing to do, go to Sambo's across the steet and buy candy.

It was those sour cherry candies wrapped in wax paper that got me through god-awful Hebrew school and finally Bar-Mitzvahed in 1969.

And I'll never forget my first Jewish girlfriend, Marsha Wandell, god-bless you darling wherever you are in the universe. Just a stunning girl, and blond hair for a Jew, not bad, ehh? She swore to me that we would get married in the future. Never put out for me. Teased me for a couple of years. Yeah, I was a horny teenage goddamn schmuck, so I had to hang in there for a while. Thought I would finally get lucky by my senior year. NOT!!

Copyboy said...

Yes, but in the middle of the garage? Wow! Great blog! I made you new blog of the day.

temis infante said...

Anon: the cherry cough drops were likely from the Smith Bros. I recall eating those things like candy all thru Jr. Hi. It's a wonder any of us had any teeth left by HS.

Bring on those big, bad Fillies and Vicky Torino. Can't wait to see how the Big Money Players perform in a real baseball park. And yes, we all still love R-a-u-u-u-u-u-l & Jamey. I know, the Philas have the best record in baseball so it's going to be interesting to see how the M's hi-quality pitching stacks up vs. that bazillion dollar staff of the Phils. Which Phil was that team named after? Phyllis George?

Debbt G said...

I waitressed at Sambos in the Valley when I was 15. Loved the pie. I think it was in Canoga Park. New management came in and fired me for being underage. In college, I got a check from a class action lawsuit against them for sexual discrimination. Good times.

miles_underground said...

My birthday is April 1st. I'd like to say that means something, but it probably doesn't.

I have some friends that are pagans and I have to say, on the whole, they're no weirder than Catholics. That said, I live in the South so as long as you're not waving snakes at me you're aces in my book.

Word Verification: dedlyga. I have no idea what it means but it's probably the title of Lady Gaga's next album.

Bob Summers said...

Proud of you for going for it. Nothing worse when you don't do something, then they complain because you didn't.

WV: obong, which is I'm sure what you consulted later.

Paul Duca said...

To be honest, I never understood what was so insulting about "Little Black Sambo". Four tigers want to have this little kid for breakfast, he outwits them all and winds up having THEM for breakfast. I can't see how that's offensive to anyone.

Paul Duca said...

To be honest, I never understood what was so insulting about "Little Black Sambo". Four tigers want to have this little kid for breakfast, he outwits them all and winds up having THEM for breakfast. I can't see how that's offensive to anyone.

Jeffrey Leonard said...

The Janis Ian comment killed me...