Saturday, March 19, 2011

The First Time

My real independence came when I turned 15. I was a city kid and I’d already developed a strong enough sense of nostalgia that I was compelled to hitch hike back to Kirkwood in search of my childhood.

My friend Don, the kid I used to play air guitar on yard sticks to Kinks records, was actually playing bass now.

Don turned me on the “Grab Bag” at Mel Bay music. It was a box of super cheap used guitars. I found a spectacular green sunburst guitar that actually had 5 pick-ups and 10 knobs for $25.00!

My dad and Suzy Gray came up with the cash. Actually Suzy laid a guilt trip on my dad to come up with the money.

It was a beautiful sunny weekend morning. My family lived in the attic of a mansion on Westminster Place, a private street in the West End. I was ranting about the Grab Bag. “There was a beautiful guitar in there for only $25.00,” I said. Suzy threw an evil glance at my dad and said, “You come up with $10.00, and I’ll cover the rest!”

I hitched as far as Hampton and Highway 44 before the cops threw me off the road. I was so excited I walked the railroad tracks all the way to Kirkwood from there. If you’re familiar with St. Louis, you’ll appreciate what a feat that is.

Don turned me on to his friends in Webster Groves. He was a year older than me, so I was surprised when he fell in love with a girl named lee who was only 12. He dumped his old girlfriend Nancy for her.

Nancy tried to make Don jealous by making out with me. Nancy was my first real girlfriend. I was the envy of all my friends, she actually drove a car.

She lived in a huge, beautiful Webster Groves house that had a secret passage that was used to hide runaway slaves on the Underground Railroad. I spent nights hiding from her dad there. I also slept in her dad’s van when there was snow on the ground. Man, what I went through for love.

Nancy never really cared that much about me and when it became clear Don wasn’t coming back, she dumped me. The whole thing lasted less than two weeks. Now I was a seasoned veteran in the ways of the world. I was heart broken, but it didn’t last long. Lee had a twin sister.

Lin was one of four girls who lived with her dad about half a block from Nancy. Their house was where all the hip kids hung out. We all went through our first sex, drugs, philosophy, and intellectual awakening there. There really was a counter culture in those days and we were in the heart of it.

Lin and I started taking long walks together late at night. As hip as we thought we were, we were babies. One night we found ourselves in the bushes by railroad tracks. It must have taken two hours before we got up the nerve to kiss. After that, it was official, we were one!

I can’t believe her dad let us, but we slept together. It never even occurred to us to have sex. That went on for six months, but it couldn’t last forever.

I feel really lucky that my first time was with someone going through the same thing. The whole night was spent in attempts. We would start and she would cry, “No, no stop, it hurts!” then she would say, “Let’s try again.” “No, no stop, it hurts!” She was crying. I couldn’t believe how awful this experience I had fantasized about was turning out.

The whole thing taught me sex wasn’t about satisfying me, it was a shared experience. That night we shared Hell!

Lin got pregnant, of course. We had a long talk with her dad and decided we were way too young to even consider having a kid. Her dad paid for the procedure and I paid half of it back over time. We all learned a lot. I don’t think I ever told my mom until I was almost 30.

I mentioned earlier Lee died a couple of years ago. I had the most satisfying cry of my adult life.

Lin and Lee

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When you finally told me I was horrified! I thought of Lin. I thought of her father. I thought of all the times I greeted him with a cheery greeting, not knowing!

Your still loving Mom