Part Seven in the series. The year was 1964.
"I Want To Hold Your Hand"
Sung by The Beatles
Song link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfsvE4j4ExA
The first of the Beatles songs we (in America) would hear turned giggling teenaged girls into mush. Who didn't want to hold somebody's hand? Especially Paul McCartney's in my case. Even the somewhat jaded me got jello-knees when on February 9, 1964 I begged my parents to let me watch them on The Ed Sullivan Show.
"Oooohhhh....the Beatles, cool it and let me listen!" My two younger brothers couldnt' have cared less about them. Apparently all of the girls in the audience didn't care about anything but expressing themselves. You could barely hear a word of the song for all of their screaming. But the endearing mopheads were singing and playing their hearts out. You could tell they were enjoying it. The camera shots of the pubescent girls in the audience tearful and in hysterics made my parents shake their heads in wonderment. They also had not understood the reaction when Elvis Presley appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and was shown only from the waist up. This kind of censorship would be impossible for kids to conceive of nowadays.
The sights, smell and sound of the girls' locker room also come into focus when I hear this song. I see myself fluffing my hair standing in front of the group mirror. Those God-awful bright blue Physical Ed uniforms. You must have seen them, the one piece, snap-front numbers with elastic around the legs? If not, be thankful, they were so unflattering, no matter what your figure. (I searched for a photo, but to no avail. I think anyone ever pictured in one has deleted the image. I would have!) The musical excitement was infectious and extremely evident in the girls' locker room, we'd dance about the room with each other, singing at the top of our lungs.
My mother and I were having even a rougher time getting along now. I felt grown up, yet she would treat me like a child. Our clashes were frequent. In this photo, more than any other I have, Daddy had captured my frustration. I'm sure it was also about hormones. I was about to go out to a dance with a date, mother and I were fighting about my curfew. She insisted on it being eleven, and I was arguing for midnight. My dad ended up settling the argument, midnight it would be.
Being sixteen I was taking driver's education. There is nothing like driving to make you feel like an adult. My Driver's Ed class made us practice by driving from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. It was something like 52 miles each way, but on a completely straight road with not much traffic. In those days the population was only around 200,000.
I was allowed to drive now and then...in my dad's old black 1948 Chevy Coupe. Our family was a two-car family since I was in first grade. Our other car was also a Chevy, except a station wagon. I had figured out how to hotwire it so when my parents went out, I'd take a drive, pick up a girlfriend on the corner near her house, and off we would go to Mel's Drive-In Restaurant. All we did was hang out in the parking lot with everyone else. Everyone's radios on the same station we would rock out and flirt, car to car. I had to bribe my little brothers not to tell on me, but for the most part it was worth it.
I was lucky I didn't get caught, at least not with the car. All of us teenagers on the base loved to hang out in someone's back yard during those warm summer nights. My mother had other ideas for me. Many nights after I was suppose to be sleeping I'd open the window, remove the small screen and wedge myself out. Of course before I could do that I'd put my hairnet (we covered our hair rollers at night) on my 3 ft. tall stuffed Panda Bear covering it up with my blankets (in case anyone peeked in on me). It was a pretty convincing image. We were not doing anything wrong, just sitting in someone's back yard and talking. We didn't even drink.
One night I remember, I'd grabbed hold of my window (which faced the street) and it was up higher than I was tall...so I'd slip off my shoes, hide them, then climb up the wall until I could sling one leg into the window. I had to be very quiet, my parents' bedroom was next to mine. Well, this one night I was half inside of the window when all of a sudden the light in my room switched on! Gulp, busted! Yep, my dad was waiting for me. I felt horrible, but a girl has to have some freedom.
From then on, I used the sliding door out from the family room. The harder my mother tried to control me the harder I fought back. She slapped "restrictions" on me for the slightest of things. I wasn't allowed to do anything my peers could do. Being on restriction meant not being allowed to talk on the telephone, not being allowed walk to or from the bus stop without my mother, not being allowed to go anywhere with my friends for weeks at a time. I know I was a handful, but in the absence of "yes" in my life, I had to be inventive.
My father was being forced to retire from the Air Force due to military cutbacks. Since he had been in the service so long and would be retiring soon anyway he was slated to retire early. We kids were told we would be moving...again. My mother had been selling Fashion Two-Twenty Cosmetics for about a year. My parents decided to buy a franchise and both work at it when daddy "retired". Where were we going now? Hawaii.
I had very mixed feelings about moving at this time in my life. I only had two years left of high school. I did have friends and a sense of unusual stability since we had been stationed there for seven years. On the other hand, the opportunity to go to Hawaii and start over with a clean slate was very appealing. Naturally we children did not get a say in this, so by July mom, me and my two brothers were driving from Albuquerque to California, where the car would be shipped to Hawaii, and we all would board a flight to Honolulu. My dad would be joining us in a few weeks.
I turned 16 in Hawaii, with no friends to celebrate with. I was so lonely. Just two weeks later I sat in the principal's office taking SAT's with another girl starting school, Donna. Donna's parents had just been transferred to Hawaii from Japan. She and I were the same age, only she had been a professional model in Japan. She was exotic looking, not 100% white bread like me. We formed a temporary friendship that day, we had to, because we were "outsiders". I would soon be introduced to the pain of discrimination.
Our parents had rented a house just a block from the beach. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Unfortunately for me that meant I would get sunburned repeatedly. In those days you mixed Iodine with Baby Oil and slathered it on, no doubt contributing to my sun allergies some twenty years later.
It seems we were not the only new kids on the block, a family with five children lived across the street, and the absolutely cutest boy I'd ever seen lived right next door, Judd Cooper. He was the beginning of a perfect storm ending my resolve to begin my life over with a clean slate.