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.