I am Richard King, now the author of nearly 100 stories on Storiesonline.net, but that isn’t what I always did.
When I was younger, I mean not yet a teenager, maybe sixth grade – I didn’t even think about girls. I had two sisters, but they’re my sisters ... and were nothing special to me. Kinda cute! I also had an older brother, but this isn’t about any of them.
The first time I met a girl whom I thought was pretty, it was the initial night that I went to Cotillion. Yeah, that’s where I got the idea for writing about ‘Charles, Claire & Kalista.’
It was 1964, and I was eight years old. The Cotillion was happening in the Knights of Columbus’s hall in our town on Tuesday nights. Two weeks after school was over - I was expected to put on my Sunday best; white shirt, black pants and tie – and was dropped off.
Funny, now that I think about it. The boys were all ‘dropped off’, while many of the girl’s moms or dads stayed. Looking at it now, it was probably a way for the parents to ‘approve’ of whomever their little girl danced with.
I have no clear recollection of the young lady I approached to dance with. All I knew was that we all were the same age, from different schools, and there was a boy for every girl. That was done on purpose, so nobody was left out.
Most of us guys were scared shitless. All the girls were very pretty, at least for that night. I thought the girls whose hair hung loose were prettier than those who pulled their hair back off their faces. I don’t recollect how many blondes; brunettes, or redheads were there.
I had my eyes on a cute blonde. She smiled at me, and in true fashion, I looked around to see if she was smiling at me or if at someone standing by me. It was I.
She didn’t go to my school. I was in a private Catholic school at the time. There weren’t any girls from my school, but a few guys I knew were there.
Anyway, the blonde with the blue eyes walked up to me and put out her hand. If I had any romance in me at the time, I would’ve kissed the back of it and tell her how pretty she looked. Nevertheless, I took her hand, and we shook hands introducing ourselves.
I could kick myself for not remembering her name anymore, but that was over 50 years ago. I’ll call her Susan for now.
I wasn’t surprised like ‘Charles’ was – I knew this was coming, and my mother even gave me a quick lesson at home in the Waltz.
Our teacher that night was the couple that owned the Cotillion. It still exists today, with a grandson and his wife running things. A speech was given about the niceties expected from the boys and girls. I clearly remember how he said, ‘Find a partner and get to know them. You will dance with the same person all night.”
I took Susan to a quieter place, and we talked for a bit. A piece of music was put on. I think it was Andy Williams singing, ‘Charade.’ It was a waltz.
Funny, how after you talk to a girl for long enough – even for the first time. It gets easier and easier. After Susan and I shared some school memories, it was time to learn how to dance.