Sometimes these things just hit me and instead of keeping my mouth shut, I just want to sort of share them. I was editing and formatting chapter 13 of "Living Next Door to Heaven" and there is a scene about a Halloween party and the games the kids played. I realized all of a sudden that I remembered that scene out of my own life. Well, not the exact scene, but one very similar.
I think I was a junior and my best friend Jan (male) and I went to the Halloween party at a neighboring church. We were both pretty active in our youth groups and were constantly going to other churches, too, so it wasn't that strange a thing. I remember clearly, though, Sweet Ann. I won't give her last name, but she was a tiny cute eighth grader. Turned out that Jan and I were pretty much the oldest kids at the party and we helped organize games and did some entertainment. Jan and I often sang in a quartet with our girlfriends, but they weren't there with us for some reason and so we sang a couple silly camp songs for the rest of the kids. I noticed that Sweet Ann had become pretty enthralled with me and was always less than a step away.
It sounds like a crazy game, but we were given a piece of button thread about four feet long with a marshmallow about half way along it. Ann immediately grabbed me to be her partner. I hadn't even intended to play since Jan and I were close to a foot taller than the rest of the kids. The object was to hold the end of the thread in our teeth with the marshmallow suspended between and when the signal was given to race each other to the marshmallow. You had to keep the string kind of tight between you and could only use your lips and tongue to get the thread in your mouth as you ate your way to the prize. Well, Ann was a full head shorter than me and as soon as I got close to the marshmallow, I just held the thread in my teeth so the treat was suspended just above where we could reach it. Then I slowly lowered my lips so she could get the treat. The whole time she was looking in my eyes and I could tell she was crushing big time. I sucked enough of the thread in to be just an inch away from the white puff, but let her get it in her mouth. She surprised me by jumping forward just enough with the marshmallow in her mouth to give me a quick peck on the lips and then back away. I was surprised, but I was still thinking, this is a cute little girl and she had her fun. On the way home, Jan told me she had a huge crush on me and to be careful or Carol would get jealous.
I never thought another thing about it although the next year, Ann was in the same high school as a freshman and we saw each other in the halls frequently. It was still obvious that she had a crush, but since my girlfriend went to a different school I didn't mind too much. I was kind of dating around anyway and didn't start getting real serious with my girlfriend until after Christmas. But I had a bunch of fun during the Christmas season.
I'd been driving a few months now and Mom was pretty liberal about using her Ford Galaxy, even driving it to school or an occasional ballgame. It was especially nice for me that the passenger door wouldn't open from the outside. I don't remember what the exact occasion was, but I'd offered Sharon a ride one day. She was in my class and was the hottest girl I knew. She had to get in the driver's side and slide over on the bench seat. As she moved I told her to look up. I'd hung mistletoe over the dome light and as soon as she looked up I kissed her. I was surprised when she didn't really pull away and stayed seated in the middle all the way on our errand.
Oh yes. Sweet Ann. There was a holiday basketball tournament that I drove to one evening and we were all celebrating a win. I noticed Ann was right there beside me. She'd ridden on the fan bus and I asked her if she'd like a ride home. She was quick to agree. Repeat. She slid in on the driver's side and I kissed her. She kissed back enthusiastically and stayed glued under my arm the whole way back to her house. Those were the days when a seatbelt for anyone not driving the car was usually ignored. It was also the last car we ever owned that had a bench seat in front.
Like I said, things with my girlfriend (Barb now) were heating up and soon after the holiday we started going steady. I think Ann was a little sad, but she never suggested anything after that time. I've always had a little soft spot in my heart for Sweet Ann, though.