Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer of '72

I only use this title because a magazine my brother got me for my 11th birthday was New Inguinue with the Sept. issue raving about the greatest summer ever, '72. I really can't remember what the article was all about. Most of the articles I didn't understand, but Dan knew his kid sister was growing up, I guess or he got a great deal on ordering magazines in Guam where he was stationed at the time.
I was growing up. This summer had the stirrings of awakening, not quite the awakening. Debbie, that I mentioned yesterday, opened the door to the high school I hadn't seen since Dan walked out in 1970. She fell in with a crowd that I don't think my parents approved. She smoked and as I mentioned before, tried pot or oregano, depending on who you want to believe: a 15 year old girl who wanted to get high or a government agency.
Debbie, when she lived with us, actually had 2 boyfriends. My mother thought dating was like in the 30's I guess, because she seemed to encourage it. I remember Mom did not like the cigarette smoking, one time spraying cologne or something all over the living room and us, ranting about smoking. I believe she was more upset because Debbie had said she had quit. My parents may not have been prepared for the drug scene, but they knew tobacco.
After the drug inccident, Mom and Dad had to speak to the principal at the time. My mom related that he told my parents that they needed to think about the little girl up there as he looked out the window at the elementary school. But Debbie stayed through the summer.
We took a lot of day trips, too. Niagara Falls in Hurricane Agnes. The van didn't have radio- maybe Dad remembered the Indiana trip, as we also took along 2 friends, Debbie had Lori and I had Tracy. 9 year old Tracy had a page boy kind of hair cut and the waitress called her a little boy. My dad nicely informed her that that was a little girl- Thank you very much. I wonder what kind of tip he left for that meal. We always went to this restaurant near the Nabisco Factory and I had the urge to have Shredded Wheat. I mean it was made next door. It had the picture of the Maid of the Mist, the Indian, oops sorry, Native American, princess that went over the Falls. All the rain kept us inside and we toured the museum that if the weather had been bright,we would have missed. I was fascinated with the mummy, the parameter bark of the redwood and Anne Taylor display of her going over the Falls in a barrel.
Another day trip was to the newly opened Sea World. Dad wasn't cheap, but the food was so pricey, he knew next time, pack food. I was upset I couldn't get a pearl from the Japanese pearl divers.
We also visited Wildwood, NJ again. Debbie loved to swim, diving into those waves. She came up one time aghast. The ring finger with her boyfriend's class ring was empty. She kept diving and I joined in, because how was she going to explain this to Dominic? Yikes! Never found that class ring. If you find a WMHS 1974 men's ring on the beach- well, never mind. Not sure if Dominic is even still alive.
Near the end of the summer, August, still well before school started, things really started to turn bizarre. This was after Debbie had gone to church camp, saying she had made a decision for Christ. I'm not sure if Debbie had got some real drugs or what. She did try to protect me. She became lustful about the boy down the street. He was really cute, that wasn't lost on me. But he was also her friend's boyfriend. Kind of not cool to go after your friend's boyfriend.
Debbie ran away from us. My dad, the police and I think some friends scoured all of West Middlesex looking for her. In the morning, Dad came home defeated, "I was wet up to my knees and down to my chest." His way of saying as he walked through the wet tall grass, he was crying all night. We all loved Debbie. She later said she could see everyone looking for her, but managed to stay hid in the grass, laughing or feeling special.
A court appearance showed she wanted to leave us. The judge had grown up with my mother, was in her graduating class and also knew my dad, admonished her, "You'll never live with a better family."
The next family Debbie lived with she only lasted a month. I do think she got into drugs more heavily than before.
The end of this summer left me a much different person than a year before. I still played with dolls, after all my best friend was 9, but I wanted to be cool. I liked rock and roll. I was entering 6th grade, the top of elementary school. As the days got shorter, a new me was emerging.
A side note on Debbie, a few years later, she seemed to turn her life around. My mom said her husband was from a "good" family in Sharon. She had an adorable little boy. She always told a good story, knew how to engage people.
The summer of '72, what a summer!
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