The Writers Voice
My Life 1967-1973 - Part Three
Michael D. Holcomb
Bob and I got involved in the youth activities at Main Street Baptist Church and went to the Yale Baptist Retreat for a few days. Sometime in March or April Dad quit Tube Associates and took a job as a dispatcher at the Lisbon Fire Tower. We loaded up both cars several times and moved out to the fire tower. During this time I kept in touch with Vicky in Laredo and Sharon in Rantoul, Illinois by letter, always updating them on my new address. Both sent 9th grade school pictures to me and I always did the same.
The fire tower was pretty neat to climb up . You could see Leesburg and the lakes surrounding it. Keeping in touch with former girlfriends far away was alright but I was trying to find someone here. It was tough to impress the ladies being in the 9th grade and too young to drive. The ride to and from school was long and hot. A heavyset girl on the bus liked me. Her name was Brenda and I would run into her years later when she started cutting my hair on a regular basis. Anyway, relief was in sight… Bob was driving to school everyday as a Senior and I talked mom into making him take me too. Bob hated my guts for this and would treat me badly most of the time, especially in front of his girlfriend. I didn't care, at least it got me off the bus.
One night Steve and myself climbed up the tower on the outer legs. This was dangerous, but my climbing experience from the tower in Laredo gave me the advantage I needed. The stairway entrance gate was locked at night so if you wanted to see afar at night you had to climb up the hard way.
Steve's sister Susan was a year older than me and never really paid me
much mind except one day she asked me to walk with her down the dirt road to the
old barn. This is now a paved road connecting Highway 44 to Radio Road and it's
named POE STREET. At the barn she started kissing me over and over. I think she
was sort of in between boy friends and it was my lucky day. Anyway that's as far
Graduated from the 9th grade June 1969. I was studying the driver's handbook so I could get my restricted driver's license when I turned 15 next month. I would go up the tower and sit with Dad so he could ask me the test questions. During the month of June I got a letter from Sharon saying her dad was retiring and they were moving from Rantoul to Marietta, Georgia.
As luck would have it we were going to Decatur, Georgia in July to stay
with cousin Shirley. So I wrote back to her new address telling her I would be
up there next month and would like to see her. She wrote back and enclosed a map
showing the way from Atlanta to her house. Things were all set. I haven't seen
her since November of '67.
Cousin Jack had a date that night but got on the phone and arranged a blind date for me.
We piled into his 63 chevy and went to pick up the gals. The automatic transmission in his car would slip at times and here we were going through Atlanta traffic.
His girlfriend was average at best but my blind date was very disappointing. We took them to a walk in movie and she and I hardly talked. I quess I was pre-occupied that night thinking about seeing Sharon again after almost two years, but I would have to wait until tomorrow afternoon. Jack and I finally got the girls home and I chewed him out afterwards while heading back to his house. I showed him the picture of Sharon and said now she's a real girlfriend… No doubt he agreed.
Next day….Saturday July 12th, 1969……After breakfast we all loaded up into two cars and headed out for a day of sight seeing with lunch at some Civil War Battlefield Memorial Park outside of Atlanta. I had the map to Sharon's house in my pocket.
Cousin Shirley had already agreed to take me to her house right after the picnic lunch at the park.
Finally after all the sight seeing and the picnic lunch I was on my way to see Sharon. The map she had wrote out on a piece of paper and mailed to me last month was very detailed and took us right to her house. It was a new brick house on a cul-de sac. I was pretty impressed with the neighborhood. As we pulled up into the driveway, Sharon, her sister Janice and brother Mike all came out to meet us.
Cousin Jack was all eyes with Sharon approaching the car. She had really changed since the puppy love days of Rantoul two years ago. She was only 15 like me but I swear she looked 17. With her long brown hair and big brown eyes I couldn't help myself but I was playing as cool as possible.
We hugged and briefly kissed in the driveway in front of everybody. Sharon's mom came out and talked to my parents about the days in base housing in Rantoul in 1967.
After the meet and greet my parents finally left. They would be back around midnight to pick me up. Too bad for cousin Jack. Sharon didn't have time to arrange A blind date for him… Maybe this served him right after the arrangement he made for me last night.
As I've already said, Sharon looked fabulous. She had the skin tone that always looked tanned. She wore tight black shorts with a pink pullover. I had my trusty Instamatic camera with me so I proceeded to take some pictures of her. Brother Mike took several pics of us together. At one point Sharon said she didn't want all the pics taken in one outfit. She went inside to change and came back out in a short green dress.
Needless to say a second roll of film was loading into the camera.
After the picture session we went inside to talk over old times. Sharon's brother Mike had done some growing up cause he wasn't the pest like he was before. He did want to test my strength by arm-wrestling with him a time or two.
Around 5 that afternoon Sharon's mom left to pick up the old man from his golf game. They were going out to have dinner and some drinks afterwards with friends. Mike didn't stick around much longer. He left to walk up the road to his girlfriend's house.
Now it was just the two of us. Sharon suggested we go to her room and spin some records. We laid on her bed looking at photographs of us in Rantoul and joked about the make out sessions on the golf course late at night along with all the crazy things we did two years ago.
After messing around a little Sharon got up and locked her bedroom door and said she wanted to experience what it was like to go all the way. I told her this was my first time too. I remember her getting up after some heavy petting and getting an old blanket out of the closet and spreading it across the bed. With the lights off and the curtains pulled two virgins were awkwardly involved. Sure it was uncomfortable but at the same time enjoyable. I guess you always remember the girl your first time was with. Even after all these years.
Later that evening we went for a walk around the neighborhood talking about how we could see one another again. We lived 400 miles apart and neither one had a driver's license… just a learner's permit. I told her I would take a Greyhound bus to see her this Christmas. We decided to go steady through the mail. Of course we found out later on this was an impossible task.
Sharon's mom and dad came home and we talked for awhile. I knew her dad would kill me if he knew what took place earlier. Later Cousin Shirley and my dad pulled up in the driveway so Sharon and I had to say our final good-byes. On the way back to Shirley's house I could only think about Sharon. Cousin Jack asked about her and any possible friends she might have. Now I had to worry about him stealing her away from me because he lived only 30 miles from her while I lived in another state. This turned out not to be a factor.
Of course I told Jack all the details of having sex for the first time, and I remember not being able to sleep much that night.
Next morning I called Sharon as we were getting ready to go back to Florida. It was Sunday July the 13th, dad’s 42nd Birthday. I had asked dad if I could drive and he said no… maybe once we got close to Leesburg he would let me drive but that didn’t happen. I hated the trip south… I knew I was only getting further away from my girl… I felt she had turned me from a boy to a man in only a few hours. The trip home was long and uneventful.
Within the next few days I had mailed off the two rolls of film. It seemed like several weeks before the pictures came back in the mail… there was no one hour photography in 1969. I must of worn these pics out by looking at them.
Brother Bob thought she was gorgeous and kidded me for always having them out showing them to my buddies. He proceeded to tell me Sharon first had a crush on him back in 1967 Rantoul but he thought she was too young at the age of 13... this was of course a lie, he was just trying to torture me as big brothers do.
On July 16th the Delta Rocket carrying the Apollo 11 mission blasted off from Kennedy Space Center. I watched the launch from up in the fire tower. What a view it was. I was thinking what a joy it would be if she was here with me watching this launch.
Four days later July 20th the Apollo 11 Lunar Module landed on the moon. It was a Sunday early in the afternoon. The moon walk was to take place about 8 hours later around 11:30 p.m. Sharon and I had talked on the phone today and we had a plan for both of us to sit out in the lawn chair and stare at the moon tonight. This way we would be on the same wave length although many miles apart.
I received a letter from Sharon dated July 29th. This letter is still in my possession. I don't know how it survived because all the rest have been discarded a long time ago.
One remark in this letter she was saying how the Russians are denying the U.S. accomplishment of being the first to walk on the moon.
I was in a love trance, 400 miles from the girl I loved. Steve’s sister Susan told me one day that she could straighten me out by going back to the barn. Being of the male species there was no turning back even for dream girl so far away.
I would like to think I was a little more experienced this time around with Susan. I could tell she had done this before. Before summer's end she was back with her boyfriend and I remember seeing her getting into his car thinking how great it would be to have your own car along with all freedom it brings.
By late August Sharon and I were writing letters and talking long
distance at a rapid pace. Dad had a falling out with the management at Florida
Forestry and quit, which meant moving away from the site. We moved to Leesburg
just before school started. Summer of '69 was over - but what a summer it was!
In the 9th grade brother Bob gave me a ride to school most days, but now he had graduated and was going to Lake Sumter College. Now I was in the 10th grade too young to drive which meant catching the bus or walking the two miles to school. I rode the bus in the morning but usually elected to walk home in the afternoon.
Tenth Grade was a rude awakening for me. I was bogged down with Biology and Algebra homework every day. My mind was always 400 Miles away. When one of her letters arrived , I would spend hours reading every line and between the lines, looking for some hint of a breakup. This continued for the rest of the year.
December finally came and I was hinting around to my parents about me taking the bus to Marietta Georgia to see Sharon over the Christmas Holidays. She and I had it all planned out. But due to the turmoil that was about to happen at the ******* household it would nullify any chance of me staying with Sharon. You see brother Bob got his girlfriend pregnant and her dad was at the front door demanding the two get married as soon as possible. Bob dropped out of college and got a job and married her in March 1970. My parents were furious with Bob throwing away his education to be a family man, which explains why there wasn’t a chance of me taking that bus ride.
Sharon and I would not be together this Christmas as we had planned. We
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