Facing Goliath

•July 31, 2015 • Leave a Comment

completelyinthedark:

Brief midsummer hiatus after that massive 5-part post, then all-new posts again starting Aug. 7. Stay cool, cats!

Originally posted on Completely in the Dark:

“I cannot go in these,” David said to Saul, “Because I am not used to them.”
—1 Samuel 17347px-Osmar_Schindler_David_und_Goliath

Sunday, 5:00 p.m., Nov. 9, 2008: My girlfriend at the time, AJ, and I attended worship service at House of Mercy, then on St. Paul’s Snelling Avenue.

The previous weekend she’d talked me into returning to regular church services after the death of my father that September.

I was reluctant. It’d been a long time since I’d crossed the threshold of a Protestant church.

“I still think I’d like to do that,” I wrote in the journal. “The commonsensical approach [AJ] takes to emotions and spirituality is really appealing to me. I’ve never met a woman like her. I’m learning a lot and guess it stands to reason that a 48-year-old numbskull like me isn’t going to change overnight…”

Well, we attended services at House of Mercy throughout that…

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Finding the Nest (Final)

•July 24, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I’m telling you a
story to let myself
think about it. All

day I’ve been
here, and yesterday.
The months, years,

enclose me as
this thing with arms
and legs. And if

it is time
to talk about it
who knows better

than I?

Robert Creeley

Tuesday, Dec. 4, 1984, called for a celebration.

My grades were coming back with marked improvement. So I stopped over at MacLean Hall where roommate Bud Morris kept his teaching assistant office, just to see if he wanted to raise a glass of cheer.

He told me he’d meet me at The Nest.

Throughout the journal that fall I faithfully recorded the days, sensing I was in the middle of something important in my life—something I knew I’d want to remember.

I even had fun doodling in the margins and writing cryptic “sidebars”—single-line commentaries on the day’s entry.

That Tuesday night’s party entry is a great example (sidebars included):

“I sat there [at The Crow’s Nest] awhile, reading over my [Rhetoric] paper and sipping down two stouts when Sue walks in—

Sidebar: I love…

—[wearing] a herringbone coat and jeans, and it looked as though she wouldn’t be working. She flittered between the front and back. A girl, brunette, worked the front bar. Bud called me (I had to receive the call at the bar) and he said he couldn’t make it. So I scampered up to a seat at the bar. It was about this time that I mentioned I so happened to have with me a Van Morrison tape I thought they’d appreciate. [They] played it—all night.

Sidebar: The tape is now secure in the bowels of the Crow’s Nest. Talked to Tom [the manager] and introduced myself to him.

Well, an effeminate, nice, erudite old man [sat next to me] as a Tony Franciosa-Raquel Welch movie called Fathom came on. We cheerfully discussed old movies—his favorite actress was Angela Lansbury; mine, a cross between Ingrid Bergman and Katharine Hepburn. He had a bourbon & water; I was drinking Exports. Sue occasionally shot in to glance at, and shake her head at, the TV. My old friend left, at the consternation of his wife he said, at 11:30 or so. Van Morrison, second side, was still playing. While the band was on break, Sue approached the bar and sat in a seat just down from my right.

Sidebar: …you.

We started talking about the Raquel Welch movie … She asked the bartender why she had such nice, mellow music on [the girl pointed to me] and Sue seemed to approve.

Sidebar: We shook hands. An asshole spells his name. I’m caught!

We sat at the bar and talked somewhat interpersonally about—shit, I was dying with questions—I introduced myself—and she introduced herself—she said she had noticed me reading the paper I had mentioned to her about [she knew about writing papers] and when I told her that—‘yes, you’re a psychology major, aren’t you?’ She said, ‘How could you remember my major and not my name?’ I blushed, turned back to the TV, and remember being totally upset as to how to proceed with this wonderful conversation. She revealed that she’s in her final weeks [days, hours, minutes, she calculated: when would she leave Iowa City? She couldn’t wait!] She’s a senior. She said something about her father wanting [to my question, ‘had she seen the four years out consecutively?’] her to finish her schooling. … She also said something about Chicago [?]. Sue is beautiful. I sat there shy to look at her, I was taken with her so. She confidently assured ‘the audience’ she’d soon be ‘quitting’ Iowa City. It was getting too suffocating for her, I think she said, too small. Our conversation, sweet as it was, was too brief. I think she suspected—I’m almost sure she suspected—my interest in her, but it’s odd that she came to me—she sat at the bar up front, whereas I had thought I might go to the back and try to talk to her. It’s late. She’ll be leaving at the end of this semester I imagine. Nothing can form. Nothing can happen.”

Please note that decisive sense of doubt. It’s crucial to what follows.

***

The next evening brought the first snowfall to Iowa City.

But three days later the journal states it was “very warm and sunny. It must be near 50.” I’d been fighting a head cold from the previous weekend. Rick lured me out to mingle with all “the warm weather Christmas shoppers.”

I needed a ride back up to Minnesota for the upcoming holidays. That came in the form of my Geology Lab partner, a St. Paul native named Chris Hampl.

Chris had a car and was happy I’d be riding shotgun. We talked about The Crow’s Nest. When I mentioned eavesdropping on the Nov. 28 conversation between the bartender Jenny and some guy who dated Sue, Chris “filled in the gaps for me.” Apparently he knew Sue well.

He told me that “Sue, yes, is thinking of moving to Chicago or L.A., but she’s originally from one of the Quad Cities on the Iowa side, I forget which one. Yes, she’d gone out with this John guy, but he’d probably treated her like shit, Chris had said. ‘Why? Are you going out with her now?’ he sincerely asked. ‘No,’ I said, but I would, had I the time to get to know her, I’d give it a try.”

The following Friday, Dec. 14, Bud pulled himself away from finals to catch live music with me at The Crow’s Nest. The journal reports:

“Bud and I headed uptown around 8:00, stopped in at B.J. Records, then went down to the Crow’s Nest to see The Shy (with Letters From The Circus). [We] had a few stouts at the front bar and went back a little after 9:00—and Sue’s working…I said ‘hi’ when I saw her as I came in; she said ‘hi.’—that was the extent of any discourse between us all night—it was like a nightmare, in fact, I had one this morning like that—

Sidebar: A nightmare of rejection

—rows of chairs, an audience of people our age—Iowa City incarnate—in a place with the feel of the back bar of the Nest, yet it was outdoors. Sue was sitting among these people, talking with them…there was a large spinning bowl; a guy at the back told me you could throw lemons into it and they’d pop back out at you. I tried it. This railed the crowd against me. At the end of the dream, Sue walked away and I stalked after her, frantically going over in my head what I could possibly say to her. She walked ahead of me quickly and just as I got alongside of her, another girl comes up and Sue says to her, ‘Please, cover me…’ and with great haste the two veered off away from me. I was crushed and felt like the biggest fool…

It was a dream of rejection—right down to the lemons.

At the Crow’s Nest, I’ll admit to being a bit bored watching the bands, though The Shy are good, I kept looking back for Sue. She finished working back bar, it seemed, sometime around 10:30-11:00; strange, I thought, [as] she sat near the pool tables and shared a pitcher of beer with two other guys. They watched the band and talked. Bud went to the front bar one time for a stout and came back to our table and said, ‘What’s Sue wearing tonight?’

‘It doesn’t matter,’ I said, not seeing her anywhere. ‘She’s left.’

‘I don’t think so,’ he reported. ‘She’s up at the front bar.’

I moseyed up there.

Well, as I got there, she was on her way to the back bar. Jeez, I thought, this whole evening’s been silly. I got a Stroh’s and talked to the chick behind the bar (she’s in my Geology lecture) for a bit. Well, there’s not much more to say about the night. Bud and I waited for The Shy’s second set, he developed a headache and, close to midnight, I noticed Sue wasn’t around. Bud wanted to get back to Mayflower so I finished my beer and we left sometime after midnight, 12:30 or so. Just as we were leaving, I heard playing on the stereo at the front bar, ‘Sheeeeeee’s as sweet, as Tupelo Honey…just like honey, straight from the bee…’ Van Morrison. But Sue was nowhere in sight, and Bud and I trudged home.”

***

It was the last week before winter break. The clock was running out.

I hit the usual haunts: the 5th floor of the main library, the microfilm room, where I popped in a VHS tape of Ingmar Bergman’s Wild Strawberries on Saturday, Dec. 15.

The following Saturday, at 9:30 a.m., Chris and I would be packing up his car to head north.

Wednesday afternoon I stopped in at Jeff Gardiner’s office in the English-Philosophy Building to pick up my Rhetoric class portfolio. “I’m getting a B in the class,” the journal reveals, “and I got an A+ on my final reading quiz. ‘You’re one of the best writers I’ve had,’ Jeff admitted, but noted my need for organization and thoroughness. ‘You’ve no problem with verbal stuff.’”NestFinalProcol

Thursday seemed uneventful—however, the journal tells a different story:

“After my Geology final this morning at 7:30, I went to the Union and then the library, and at around 10:30 I went up to B.J. Records to pick up Procol’s Shine On Brightly, which I had ordered months ago. It’s odd, because on the day I ordered it, I ran into Sue at the Deadwood…sometimes there’s—as Bergman put it in Wild Strawberries—‘a remarkable causality in…unexpected, entangled events.’ Well, I rode the Interdorm [bus] and after we pulled away from the Pentacrest stop sometime around 11:00 a.m., I looked to my left out the window and who did I see passing Gilmore Hall heading east down Jefferson St.—Sue! All semester I never see her around campus and a casual look out a bus window on the second day before the end of the bloody semester—and there she is.

Sidebar: She looked lovely. The last I shall see of her…?

She was wearing a dark blue overcoat, under which I could see she had on a long skirt and boots, and she had her backpack slung over her shoulder. A thought flashed through my mind: Was this her saying goodbye to the University on such a cold sunny day; a last look round, and a time to think of all she’d done, or failed to do? And what am I to do? Sit on the bus all the way back to Mayflower and that’d be it? No. I had to find out where she was going and it wasn’t until I’d charged off the bus at Currier and jogged back to Jefferson that I realized how silly and theatrical was this ‘chase scene.’ I caught sight of her in the distance, down near the stoplight at the road that passes by John’s Grocery (Gilbert?). I kept a distance from her wondering what I should say if she saw and recognized me. Eventually, after pacing behind her, my head humming, I saw that she crossed over to an apt. complex at the intersection of Jefferson and Governor, the Governor Apts. She went in. I waited outside a bit, then went in and scanned the mailboxes…a few ‘S’ names, but one Sue, Sue Rolfe, Number 9. Her roommate’s name is Elaine. I stood around wondering what to do. I regretted not making a fool of myself by talking to her on the street, by catching up with her and saying something. The gig’d be up. The cat out of the proverbial bag. But I turned back and caught a bus back to Mayflower. I told Bud when I got in the door. In the phone book was her name: Susan Elizabeth Rolfe. Though it said ‘liberal arts, third year,’ it couldn’t be right as she’s apparently graduating Sat. She’s from Bettendorf, Iowa.”

Finally. All the details. But still, I was wavering. Vacillating. Afraid. It’s all there in black and white, on the journal page:

“Sidebar: I want to leave. Tonight.

***

We had a final dinner at Currier Hall late Friday afternoon, Dec. 21.

Rick and I joined his friend Dick Bray and a guy named Jim at their table. They jeered at me, urging me to “call Sue up, since I now know her last name and number, and kidded me into thinking that I had nothing to lose.”

I got back to my dorm room around 6:30 and—nervous beyond belief—“called her number [twice], no one answered. I was a bit relieved. I [wondered] if she wanted to see It’s a Wonderful Life up at the Bijou with me.”

Well, I went to the movie alone. After it let out at 10:30, I shuffled up to The Nest one last time. I was glad I did.

The journal lays it out (sidebars included):

“…most of the employees of the Nest were in front of the Front bar giving Sue an impromptu farewell party. I sat at the end of the bar closest to the door; some guy sat to the left of me and got into talking about dogs, especially his Doberman Pinschers, and I was centering in on the conversation the Crow’s Nest gang were having. …After about my fourth Export I got the idea to buy Sue a beer as a congratulatory gesture, as her Miller Lite looked empty.

Sidebar: Love is rioting inward.

She peered down the bar as John handed it to her and thanked me. The music at the front was changed at one point to some loud, obnoxious stuff and Sue charged toward the back and abruptly changed it. She put on the soundtrack to The Big Chill and she stopped by on her way out of the back to thank me again for buying the beer.

‘Well,’ I said, ‘You’re finally graduating, aren’t you? Quitting Iowa City?’

‘Yeah,’ she smiled. ‘Saturday.”

Congratulations. She went back to her friends and sat down; everyone watched TV commercials and listened to Smokey Robinson. Finally, as I knew it would, ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’ came on. It had spooked me, Procol Harum all day. Are some moments in life pure prophecy? Maybe, sometimes, it seems.

Sidebar: ‘Everyone I’ve ever known has wished me well…’ —Jackson Browne

Later in the night I called Sue over and asked her if she knew Chris. She couldn’t remember; I tried to describe him to her. When I think about this episode now, I think I was just trying to make conversation, something, anything.

‘I see so many people come in and out of here,’ she said.

‘Mind like a sieve, eh?’ I chuckled.

‘…Like Tom’s,’ she laughed. She said something and lightly hit me on the shoulder. It was sweet. One sweet, clever face quitting here. I left silently around 12:30 or 1:00.

It was the saddest walk I can remember. Some drunk girls on the mall said some slurred stupid thing to me as they passed me and I told them to go fuck themselves.

Tomorrow morning I’m going home.”

***

I never saw Susan again. It’s been over 30 years.

Why write about this now? For the sheer thrill of regret? Heck, there are so many ways this could’ve played out:

—Maybe you and Sue dated once or twice, like with Yolanda. But it didn’t work out.

—Or became friends, like you and Rick, but drifted apart over the years.

—Maybe you became great friends (like you and Bud), and stood up in her wedding, or she in yours.

—Perhaps even lifelong friends, like when you met Thérèse at the University of Minnesota.

—Or you married each other, had kids, maybe a couple of daughters. You supported them and watched as they grew into strong, bright young women. Then, 25 years later, you and Sue divorced. Hey, life happens.

Or…

You met at exactly the right time.

You realized you belonged to each other.

You grew old together.

It was kismet.

BUT. But it wasn’t.

“If you’re talking about love, you’re probably talking about something else.” My mother and father didn’t talk about love, they lived it, day-to-day. It wasn’t always easy, but they saw it through.

In my final dream of The Nest, everyone shows up at the front bar. We buy some drinks or smoke a cigarette. We know we belong.

We love by showing up for each other; we fight if it’s about things we believe in.

We pony up a couple bucks for the band and get our hand stamped. As the music starts to play, we gaze out at that empty dance floor.

Then we grab each other’s hand … and go for a dance.

Finding the Nest (Part 4)

•July 17, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Early Wednesday morning, Oct. 24, 1984, I had a dream.

I know because I put it down in the journal:

Sue [my Crow’s Nest crush] lived with a nameless guy who, at one point (the beginning of the dream) had left her. He had hurt her in some way (broken her hand?) and was now before me at another guy’s house talking about leaving her. Instantly I was anxious to steal her away from him, and I slipped out of the house, fairly certain as to where I would find her (God knows what I’d say to her upon finding her, marry me?)…In the dream I waited for a friend’s mother to get home from grocery shopping so I could borrow their station wagon (that was the car—with a dent in the right rear side). I was boiling over with impatience to see her… Finally, the guy she had been abandoned by returned and proposed marriage to her. The last thing I saw was both their names written in the sky, amid plaudits from others. When I awoke and realized that this was not true, my urgency to know the inner workings of her life became keener. Lest all my life slip through my hands like this dream, I must know what the truth is.”

That burning early-morning sense of urgency aside, it seemed there was little I could do. Since the blissful Friday convo at The Crow’s Nest on Oct. 19, I wouldn’t see Sue again for 15 days—an eternity.

NestPart4_HalloweenIt was Hallowe’en in Iowa City. The mornings were frosty. And classes droned on.

I was actually feeling homesick, daydreaming about driving my car through backcountry roads, being close to my books and the old Family Project farmhouse again.

But every chance I got to visit The Crow’s Nest, still no Sue.

Now that I knew she was a Psych major, I haunted the department library and Seashore Hall hoping I’d run into her. I calculated that any relationship that could form between us had to happen outside of The Nest. There were just too many distractions there.

***

Wednesday, Oct. 31, the journal reports Rick and I ran up to the grocery store: “It was a great Hallowe’en night, misty and a bit foggy, warm, and there was lightning flashing through the clouds. Jack o’lanterns in many windows of the Victorian-style homes of Iowa City.”

Returning to Mayflower, we ran into Carolyn and Dave on their way to “a Haunted House setup in North Liberty.” They invited us along. The journal tells the story:

“We got a little off-track on the way by following a few other cars—at one point everyone tried turning around and getting directions and a roadblock was thus formed. We were rolling with laughter. At last we realized our mistake and got to the place, a bit like a State Park, stuck out in the middle of nowhere. We paid the $2.00 to get in, waited until a group of about 30 of us formed, then we were led down to a campfire where a guy attempted to tell us a ghost story as it started to rain (a poor bit of horror was underway—a guy feigning to be ill rolled on the ground and ‘transformed’ into a gorilla) they drove us through the mud down to a hayrack, onto which we piled as the rain bashed down on us. We couldn’t see a thing as it rained, and the timid attempts of frightening us with jack o’lanterns and hanging shrouds failed to lift our soaked spirits. They cut the ride short and sped us back up to the entrance, refunded our money, and everyone scattered in the rain. The four of us got into the car howling with laughter, soaked through. The drive back was slow, through the deep puddles and thrashing rain. We joked and told ghost stories and gazed out at the lightning-lit fields.”

It’s times like this when I treasure the journal—when it transports me back to those forgotten moments with people I’ll likely never see again, and remember the laughter we shared.

***

It was Saturday, Nov. 3, when I finally saw Sue again.

Bud and I caught a late screening of Quadrophenia at the Bijou downtown, then went to grab a nightcap at Stonewalls or Joe’s Place—finally settling on The Crow’s Nest.

“Voila!” the journal reports, “Who appears behind the bar, as sweet-looking as ever—Sue. She seemed busy and Bud & I grabbed a table; at the time there was no room at the bar. We stayed only until our beers were down, probably about a half hour. Sue was working the back bar; she seemed beaten down, tired.”

I was so obsessed about her I had another dream the following Monday morning: “…it’s vague now and I spent much of the morning trying to recall one detail—but couldn’t. It was a feeling—the feeling of being a couple, and spending time together, alone.”

But November proved tougher than late October.

I didn’t see her again until the week after Election Day (as Ronald Reagan was re-elected for a second term), when Steve and Chris, from Rhetoric, joined me after class at The Crow’s Nest:

“We were up at the Nest from 9:15 to 10:30 or so… Sue was working back bar from what I could tell and the first time she glided round the corner I’d thought my heart had stopped. She really looked sharp, stylish slacks (?—they weren’t jeans), a shirt with the back end of the button-down collar crimped in. Lovely hair, with a cave of it over her forehead. She borrowed the sweater of the girl working front bar; it was, she said, cold in back. She didn’t notice me, I think, and that crushes me, to be invisible to one you admire and fancy. It’s hopeless, so I turn back to the table where Steve and Chris are talking about Dreams.”

***

I’m not entirely sure where to go with the rest of this.

I mean, I vacillated.

The Thanksgiving holidays were looming, which meant going home to Minnesota for a couple days.

Just before catching a ride north with Ann, another Minnesota transplant at UI, I went alone to The Crow’s Nest and saw a band—something I don’t ever remember doing by myself: “I went back for a buck to see the band Tetraphonic, had a few Exports and saw no sign of Sue. I sat there taking in the Nest. What a wonderful place it is! Everyone needs to experience that.”CrowsNest2

A rock band playing to a handful of people.

A glinty, spinning mirror ball.

And a quiet 1,000-square-foot oak dance floor.

I loved The Crow’s Nest.

And in an odd sort of way, I felt loved by it.

***

On Tuesday, Nov. 27, 1984, I was back in Iowa City after Thanksgiving. It was my 25th birthday. The town was on the verge of snow, and I was feeling sad. “What did I say to Hollingsworth once?” I wrote in the journal. “Your true love is about as close as you can come to a Real Ghost. I told myself that again tonight. What does it feel to be 25? …24, and dead.”

ThompsonThe very next day Hunter S. Thompson spoke at the University.

The journal reports:

“People smoking dope. Punkheads who walked out on him. He took two drags off a backstage-offered joint and drank brandy (?) on ice. He claimed everything was O.K.—different than the ’70s, but you could tell he seethed. He’s a drunk; a sort of street philosopher, the clever guy whose name you forget who sat with you at the bar and said more than an average Joe’s share of bright remarks. He prophesied that he’d be vilified, in death, as he said ‘his friend’ John Belushi would be.”

Afterward I veered uptown to The Nest, where I sat until 11:30 or so. “No Sue,” I wrote later, “but listened to the brunette who works bar there talk to a guy … who used to ‘go’ with Sue. He was surprised and disappointed with her. I was amazed, eavesdropping.”

It was the end of November, and things had come strangely full circle from the dream nearly a month before.

But what did it all mean?

Finding the Nest (Part 3)

•July 10, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Truth is, we teased Rick mercilessly.Nest3MeBudRick

Rick Kubat, the lanky Illinois native who inhabited our eighth floor of Mayflower Hall (pictured left to right: me, Bud, and Rick in 1986), was probably the first person I met when I arrived in Iowa City that autumn of ’84.

He was fastidious, something of a worrywart, but always full of arcane cinema history, and quick to respond with wit and tact.

Whenever he joined me and Bud for a night out, he’d invariably start looking at his wristwatch—in the hopes that the experience would soon be over.

Bud and I would glance at each other, check our watches, laughing—then order another pitcher of beer and stay put for hours on end, much to Rick’s exasperation.

But Rick saved my bacon a couple times.

And he was right there at the end of what was probably one of the happiest nights of my life.

***

Finally, I was getting the hang of college: showing up for Geology lectures, turning French lessons in on time, and working away at my first research paper for Rhetoric.

Our Rhetoric instructor, Jeff, was a young guy with a laid-back, somewhat world-weary approach to the class.

He’s first mentioned in the journal on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 1984: “I stopped in at Jeff Gardiner’s office … and talked to him about my first research paper (my proposed topic is on the profound similarities between Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler and A.W. Pinero’s The Second Mrs. Tanqueray). He seemed to approve and directed me to get on with my rough draft.”

After turning it in, I received a C+ and this assessment: “Mike, you are a good writer. In this paper you are telling a story more than analyzing or developing a game plan. In that way the paper does not quite fit the assignment. It has story-telling organization instead of essay organization as well.”

I was crestfallen. Still, he ended the critique on a hopeful note: “A few tips should get you writing exceptional papers.”

As for the speech-making component of class, I was worse. Just over two weeks later, the journal confesses, “I dragged myself up to Rhetoric and stammered through my speech. I was incredibly relieved to get it over with. Jeff, my instructor, was going out past Mayflower, and he gave me a ride home. He mentioned that I’ve got to get a more organizational sense to my thinking. I agreed.”

After a Thursday, Sept. 6, Rhetoric class I noted we “did quite a bit of discussion on everything from TV to movies to Greco-Hellenic culture. I tell you … it’s great to be in college again.”

***

Just before the weekend of Sept. 21–23, the journal reports that Bud’s hometown girlfriend Kim was driving with friends Mike and Elaine from Louisville to stay with Bud in Iowa City.

Rick agreed to let me crash at his place while his roommate was away.

I recounted the weekend’s events in the journal on Monday, Sept. 24.

During the dinner Rick and I had at Currier Hall the previous Friday we “talked openly about our frustrating experiences with the beguiling Yolanda… Rick had had similarly enticing circumstances with our mutual lady friend and we both stewed over it over our roast beef and mashed potatoes.”

Later that Friday we made our way to The Crow’s Nest, paying the $3 cover and saving seats by the stage for Bud, Kim, Mike, and Elaine when they showed up. The journal confesses that I “of course noticed that the lovely ‘Melanie’ was working the back bar.” The entry tells the story:

“Bud and gang didn’t arrive until about 9:30, just when the band started, Kool Ray & the Polaroidz. They were a good band, playing a lot of oldies but good dance songs, i.e. Beatles, the Who, Elvis Costello, the Doors, etc. …The place was packed. Kim, and her friends Elaine and Mike, turned out to be very lively. Kim, very lovely and graceful; Elaine, a bit loud and obnoxious, always poking people in the side. Mike was quiet, reserved, yet affable. We left the Crow’s Nest after midnight, I think, as the band was still playing and ‘Melanie’ was still rushing around behind the bar, occasionally finding the odd moment for a cigarette.”

After a blur of more bar-hopping and nightclubbing Saturday, we recuperated on Sunday and were back in class on Monday.

I wouldn’t return to The Nest until 12 days later, on Wednesday, Oct. 3, when I sat “in a sublimely quiet Crow’s Nest, having a stout and updating [the] journal. Iowa City is lovely tonight and it’s still my intention to wander down to the library after I’ve had a few here.”

I loved the main library—either watching old movies on VHS in the audio-visual screening booths, or wandering through the upper book racks, with thousands of musty volumes filling my nose.

Later that Wednesday I wrote an addendum, just after midnight. It reads:

“…I looked in at BJ Records, ordered Procol Harum’s Shine On Brightly album … I [saw] ‘Melanie’ and a friend, [they] went directly into the Deadwood. I … instinctively went into the Deadwood. I went to the jukebox to play some songs: ‘Walk Away Renee,’ ‘Southern Cross’…While I was picking out my third song, ‘Melanie’ came up and looked at the box. I told her I had one more song—she was looking for Van Morrison’s ‘Brown-Eyed Girl’—I asked her if she’d heard ‘Tupelo Honey’—no, she said, she didn’t know songs by their titles. …We looked for ‘Brown-Eyed Girl’ together, but all we came up with was Van Morrison’s ‘Domino.’ I played it as my third song. I asked her if she worked at the Crow’s Nest and if her name was Melanie. ‘No,’ she said. ‘Melanie works at the Crow’s Nest.’ —But I didn’t press her for her correct name. …She didn’t seem upset, only mildly curious. I think she’s lovely. This kind of familiarity may make the heart fonder. She and her friend left before I did—sometime after ‘Domino.’”

Pure serendipity. I can still recall the heart-thumping excitement of that moment.

But what was her real name? How could I find out?

The answer came three days later, after I’d walked out of a reading author John Irving gave to a packed MacBride Auditorium, to go watch the Cubs-Padres game at The Crow’s Nest and sip 35 cent taps.

There I “got to talking to the one bartender guy I recognized, after he got off tending bar … he told me her name is Sue, Susan. ‘Yeah,’ he said. ‘She really has pretty eyes.’ And, he told me, she had said she was going to go to the Deadwood Wednesday. So, the evening wasn’t a loss. I learn her name.”

***

Bud was despondent after Kim had returned to Louisville.

But hitting the books took his mind off it, since he was a post-graduate student in Statistics, and received a stipend as a teaching assistant, too.

Often Bud was too busy grading papers for a night out, so I pleaded with Rick to be my wingman. When I told him about my growing infatuation with Sue at The Crow’s Nest, he joked that he never got to see her when he was with me there.

“Yeah, right,” he laughed. “The Mysterious Sue. Figment of your imagination.”

Case in point: Saturday afternoon, Oct. 13, Rick and I caught a matinee of Reuben, Reuben in downtown Iowa City. It was my second viewing, his first.

Before the movie got started, I filled him in on what happened that Friday night. The journal lays it out:

“I headed straight for the Crow’s Nest … the World Series was on TV and, at one point, in walks Dan O’Connor, of Deadwood fame, slurring his words and looking sullen. He didn’t say anything to me, much less recognize me until sometime after 10, when he started making comments on the game, he introduced himself and I cut him off before he got to his last name by saying it for him. He seemed noticeably surprised. ‘Ya floored me,’ he croaked.

…Well, I had been sitting at the bar for about an hour, patiently sipping my draws of Special Export when, it must have been a little before 10:30, after the waitresses came and went and the bartender (a guy named Mark?) shuffled round behind the bar, that Susan finally appeared—she popped around the corner wearing a grey flannel collarless shirt (pullover) and a bright yellow sleeveless thick-knit sweater. She radiated.

Dave, a regular bartender off-duty, asked her, ‘Hiya Sue. How’re ya feelin’?’

‘Oh, I’ll make it,’ she sighed.

I noticed her voice had a heavy quality, a strange combination of being squeaky and slightly gruff.

‘I’ll work for ya, if you want me to,’ he offered.

‘No, that’s all right.’

I took this exchange to mean that she was probably ill, but decided to come to work anyway. I think she noticed me at the bar, but I don’t remember any particular gesture or look that seemed directed toward me. She did come back and forth from the front and back often, though, after that first appearance. The evening took on a delightful quality for me after seeing her—I just think she is really lovely, her stray traces of jewelry, her slender hands and arms, her soft neck and sweet face. There is the little girl still in her looks. But the contradiction: she is a woman! Joyous incongruities! I can’t imagine what talking to her would be like. It’s a fantasy hard to form. I’d be afraid that by opening my mouth I’d drive her away with the jibberish I’m know to go in for. But if I don’t speak, how will I become familiar with her, and [she] with me? I have so many questions about her: where does she live? Does she live with her folks? And if so, what are they like? Does she have sisters and brothers? Does she live with a girlfriend, or even a boyfriend? What is her attitude about relationships? Is she filled with the cynicism familiar with people our age? Or is she willing to dream and hope a little? How old is she? Does she go to school, and if so what does she study? What does she want to be when she grows up? All I know about her is her first name, her ‘favorite song in all the world [‘Brown-Eyed Girl’],’ where she works…

My other half says nothing, as usual, will come of my spindly hopes of meeting her and enjoying her company. I’m too shy and pessimistic. Sometime not long after 10:30, I was being distracted by Dan O’Connor’s death mumble, Susan passed through the front barroom with a purse clutched in her hands. Did she leave for the night? …I got up—not wondering long—and D. O’C. wanted to know if I was leaving so soon. I mumbled some shit about having to get back to a party at home and threw a tip in the glass and blew out the door.

Of course, she was nowhere in sight…”

***

On Friday, Oct. 19, Bud caught an early flight out of Cedar Rapids for Louisville, and a weekend with Kim.

Rick’s roommate had his girlfriend in town, so I returned the favor and let Rick crash in Bud’s upper bunk bed for the duration.

CrowsNest4We had supper at Currier Hall, then I hurried home, changed into good jeans, blue Oxford shirt and tie, and—without Rick—went to The Crow’s Nest to catch the band Kool Ray & The Polaroidz.

The journal entry tells the whole glorious story:

“The night shift came in, servers, back bartenders, John & Chuck lugging bags of ice. It looked like, for a while, that with so many coming in to work, Sue wouldn’t be one of them.

…Eventually, close to 9:00, I could see Susan in the back room, obviously checking in. She wore jeans, a pink chamois-like shirt and a thick-knit white sweater. She wore green emerald earrings that shot green glints. She talked to the guy behind the bar and he offered to work back bar in her place, if she’d trade working for him at the front bar. She said she’d think about that. After about ten minutes of invisible consultation at the back bar (it being sometime after 9 o’clock) she came back and said she would.

The upshot of the rest of my evening at the Crow’s Nest is this: we talked a lot while she worked the front bar and as I sat there watching MTV and listening to tapes being played overhead. On TV there was a rock group called Wham! or something of that sort dressed Californesque—with white sweatshirts that bore the slogan: ‘Choose Life’—she had been out cleaning up tables when she appeared close beside me and, looking up at the video, said, ‘What do you suppose those guys are about?’

It was the negation, the contrary of heavy metal, we agreed, but in some way was just as awful. I was charmed by her well-balanced, rational and ‘puckish’ critical attitude. On the tape player she played Rickie Lee Jones and The Pretenders. I told her Todd Rundgren’s Utopia provided the background vocals for ‘Back on the Chain Gang.’

‘Whatever happened to him?’ she asked rhetorically of Rundgren.

We talked in-between people ordering drinks. I asked her if she took classes at the University and if so what her major is.

‘Psychology,’ she said. ‘You need it to work here.’

I had so many questions I wanted to ask her, but she rarely had a free moment as business picked up as the evening got later.

John, the co-owner of the Crow’s Nest, kept appearing at the bar with confiscated beer cans and bottles for Sue to throw away. She rolled her eyes at me and I said, ‘He’s doing some major confiscation tonight.’

‘Yeah,” she smiled. ‘He’s on a vendetta.’

We talked about Bowie (his video, ‘Blue Jean’ had been on earlier) and I recommended his film Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. She said her roommate has a VCR and that she had had the film recommended to her before and she said she might pick it up from a video club sometime. From her voice and manner, I figured her roommate is female—quite possibly the girl that was with her when I saw her at the Deadwood. But I can’t be certain.

Apparently, she rides a bike around. John came in carrying a ten-speed and said to Sue, ‘You shouldn’t leave this outside…I’ll just put it in the back [room] for safekeeping,’ and she nodded, ‘Thanks.’

I still had so many things to ask her, such as what area of psychology she’s studying, what year she’s in school, and just about anything else that comes to mind. I thought that perhaps I could see her round the University now that I know she’s a student. And I deduced that if she rides a bike, then she certainly doesn’t live in Coralville, much less Cedar Rapids. I’d guess she lives in the apartments down by Gilbert south, and really not far from the campus and the Crow’s Nest. Earlier in the evening, just as Sue switched positions with the previous front bartender, Beth, the tall, attractive brunette in my Rhetoric class came in the side door with a group of people; she saw me at the bar, her friends went on in to the back and Beth sat at the bar with me for a second, though she had nothing to drink. Sue washed glasses behind the bar as Beth and I talked about last Thursday’s Changing Society game. I had heard somewhere that it’s always flattering to be seen with an attractive girl in another girl’s eyes. So I was pleased to see Beth and have her sit at the bar with me.

‘Did you just get off work?’ Beth asked, pointing vaguely at my tie.

‘No,’ I said under my breath. ‘I just decided to dress up a bit.’

Beth asked me if I was going in to see the band, and I told her I had planned on it (actually, with Sue, all my attention was directed at that front bar as long as she remained there). Well, I stayed until around 11:00, the front bar had become packed and Sue was hopping around taking orders. She remarked to me that she was surprised at how busy the front bar was that night. To relieve tension, she cracked a bottle of beer and sipped at it behind the bar. When things had been, in my mind, conversationally depleted for the evening, I left, leaving her a tip in the glass. On the way out I passed by her, touching her lightly on the shoulder and said goodbye.”

The entry concludes, “I staggered home around 1:00, blissful.

“Rick was waiting for me in the 8th Floor lobby.”

Finding the Nest (Part 2)

•July 3, 2015 • Leave a Comment

NestPart2_SpiresAh, those “mysterious gothic-like spires” that “poked through the treetops.”

My mission: reach them.

Back at university classes after the 1984 Labor Day weekend, the journal notes that on Wednesday, Sept. 5:

“I headed for the [English-Philosophy] Building and, approaching it, saw how close the ‘cathedral’ I had been seeing in the distance really was, I think. If the weather’s fine today, I may walk to it. The fascination I’ve had with it, and the secret joy I have in anticipation of reaching it, have stayed with me.”

Curiosity, fascination, anticipation, secret joy—how are these things not about finding one’s way home again?

***

Her name was Yolanda.

No, no … not Ms. Dazzling Wonderful Eyes—the lovely bartender at The Crow’s Nest. Learning her name was still on my to-do list.

Eight days after new roommate Bud and I had our awe-inspiring walk around the Pop-Up Amusement Park, I met Yolanda, who lived on our floor at Mayflower Hall.

On Monday, Sept. 10, 1984, Yolanda and I got to talking and, well, we…

“…went up to the first International Writing Program seminar/panel in Van Allen Hall, which, of the panel members, included a spritely Paul Engle and a slightly Voltairian Marvin Bell. I felt the evening was charming. Yolanda and I got a good giggle out of the some of the comments, both from the audience and the panel. After the discussion ended, sometime before 9:30, Yolanda and I went downtown for a drink at Mickey’s Bar—but I had no money, so she picked it up for the both of us this time around. We talked about our backgrounds and interests. She’s from a large (the youngest, actually) Italian family in Brooklyn. She related all the terrors and elations of Manhattan. She is a simple-looking girl of twenty years, with a bit of a sharp face, high cheekbones, pointed nose, and shoulder-length brunette hair. She sometimes rolls her eyes when she speaks. She is an English major, and well acquainted with many writers—Hemingway, Joyce, Fitzgerald, Stein. We talked about sex, Woody Allen, my notebook (I talked about my notebook) as well as my trip to Britain. We got in before midnight last night. We’ll have to do it again.”Photo 21

Our talking about “my notebook” meant we talked about the 1984 National 43-571 journal (at left) I’d brought with me to Iowa. If it wasn’t for that journal I would’ve probably forgotten all about Yolanda. Which is a shame, because I think we were kindred spirits.

After meeting up with her again for lunch at Burge Hall, we took in a screening of the film On The Beach at the Iowa City public library that Wednesday night.

We then went out for drinks after the movie. I probably suggested The Crow’s Nest, because that’s where we went:

“[Yolanda] had a Heineken and I had three or four glasses of stout. Our conversation was halting at first, subtle jabs and jokes, double entendres…I was tired and I think she was too. The dazzling brunette/blonde was there last night, but she didn’t seem to be working. She had a Miller Lite and a cigarette and stood by the bar, talking with a girl who was our bartender. When Yolanda and I prepared to leave, we said goodbye to the bartender and the blonde seemed to acknowledge me carefully with her eyes. It was a nice feeling. …We walked back to Mayflower and I started babbling about philosophy and pronunciation and vocabulary; Yolanda wanted me to shut up, I think; I felt a little cheesed off at the whole discussion, or lack thereof, and tiredness, then she wanted to show me her favorite place in the park down by the river, where she goes alone to sit among the rocks. We sat there close together, cuddling, watching the water and saying little, kissing gently, touching. It was nice to be with someone perfectly willing to just enjoy the moment simply on its own merit: here and now.”

Nineteen days on the ground in Iowa City and … Let There Be Smashmouth!

But what did I mean by Ms. Dazzling Wonderful Eyes “acknowledged me carefully” and it being “a nice feeling”? What was going on with the walk back to the dorm, with my “babbling” and feelings of being “cheesed off”? And what was Yolanda thinking before we started making out down by the river?

***

I was in college, right? So I must’ve taken some classes, I mean, outside of all the bar-hopping, nightclubbing, and riverside make-out sessions.

Well, yes, I did: Geology, Rhetoric 101, Beginning French, and Logic & Formal Reasoning that fall semester.

But just over two weeks into classes, I wasn’t sure I could make it. On Tuesday, Sept. 11, the journal admits:

“I’m exhausted, a bit discouraged and a little downhearted tonight. It seems like I’ve been working hard at school and the first grades I’ve been getting back are not satisfying, yet nor are they dismal. I think it may be a sign for me to work even harder. …I should expect to be a little rusty at scholarship, but I don’t want to fall into the trap of egotism and lethargy. I want to make it work for me, this time.”

Hmm. Egotism and lethargy—seems I’d been there before. Still, six days before that revelation, I’d finally reached those gleaming, distant spires:

“I walked across the bridge over the river in search of the distant ‘cathedral’ spires I had seen in the view from Mayflower. After wandering aimlessly round the University Hospitals, I stopped into General Hospital and visited an architect who told me that there was no ‘façade’ to the spires, that the hospital was built around the Tower and the spires rested atop the hospital. He lead me down to the central tower area lobby, where by looking up through the glass one could see the spires.”

***

Two days after Yolanda on the Rocks, I called her room to chat. It was an early Friday night and I was already getting my swerve on.

She said she was playing backgammon with another guy, Chris. Indignant, I said I didn’t want to interrupt their game and slammed the phone down.

We ran into each other the following day at a “champagne breakfast” in the park across the street, where it was abundantly clear she “wasn’t especially talkative to me.” Furthermore, new guy Chris had tickets to the Hawkeyes-Penn State game and she was going to it with him.

“How do I feel?” the journal asks. “Well, put another way, would I turn down a girl with a car to drive me around in, and who wished to take me places?”

That Friday must’ve been Overblown Hamlet Hour. “For the third or fourth time in my life,” the journal entry goes, “I’ve decided to give up writing. I think I’m finally getting somewhere.”

You see, I never considered the journal “writing”—which is strange because I was writing in it nearly every day.

Five days after I’d declared “writing” a stone-cold corpse, I vented new academic frustrations in the journal. I skipped Geology lecture, was unprepared for the day’s French lesson, and—not ready to give a speech in Rhetoric—ditched class altogether.

Then I went off the rails.

It was like that M*A*S*H episode where Scully, an AWOL soldier, shows up at Rosie’s bar, meets a despondent Hawkeye, and both turn Rosie’s into the boozy equivalent of the crowded stateroom scene in the Marx Brothers’ A Night at the Opera.

“I ran into Kevin,” the Wednesday, Sept. 19 entry states, “a new guy in our Rhetoric class, asked him if he had any money and whether he had supper yet.” He hadn’t, so we went to Bo James’ Saloon for “soup and sandwiches and beers” then shuffled over to “Mama’s, a basement joint, and had a pitcher of Bud (I had a Tequila straight on top of it … [we] talked about road trips, traveling, seeing and describing parts of the country…”

CrowsNest5At 8:30 p.m. we walked to the downtown mall and split up—he went to Dooley’s and I … headed directly to The Crow’s Nest.

Would Ms. Dazzling Wonderful Eyes be there? And would I finally learn her name?

There was a new bartender working, who I found out later was co-owner of The Crow’s Nest. “I asked him about the other little blonde … and he told me her name is Melanie and she mostly works weekends.”

Melanie. OK, now I knew her name.

Kevin arrived from Dooley’s, had another drink with me, then stumbled out the door again to hitchhike to Cedar Rapids. I left The Nest and “wandered up Dubuque Street until I came to the Deadwood,” Iowa City’s iconic hippie bar.

The rest of the night would’ve been a hazy memory had the journal not spilled the beans:

“I sat at the bar … and ordered a draw of Special Export. I got into talking with a dour man named Daniel O’Connor who made it clear to me that he is not a student, but works for University Hospitals. I don’t know how it came about, but we got into talking about handicapped people and their facing death earlier than most of us. I swallowed down the last of my Ex and as I left he said, dourly, ‘Keep Thinking!’ …walking back to Mayflower—I stopped at Yolanda’s & my spot, on the rock overlooking the river. It was a cool but clear night. It was near midnight. I felt, at the time, I had courted spectres of death all night. Happiness and charm evaded me. I could be anywhere, anybody, doing anything.”

***

Distant, mysterious spires. Road trips, traveling, hitchhiking. New love interest, jealousy.

Anywhere, anybody, doing anything.

Not even a full month back into college and I was struggling—with studies, new friends, but mostly with myself.

Could I stick it out? I wasn’t sure.

Finding the Nest (Part 1)

•June 26, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been here before.MayflowerHall84

It’s a good thing to realize, I think, because what I went through then might influence how I act today.

Summer and autumn, 1984. Summer, 2015.

This autumn? I don’t know.

You see, even with a solid plan in place, I still wasn’t sure I’d made the right decision that summer 31 years ago.

But it’s clear I was desperately unhappy—with my job, my home life, my education (and lack thereof), and my relationships.

Maybe I wouldn’t have felt that strongly had things on the British trip turned out differently. But Abi was still in Scotland and I was back home on the farm. No doubt the folks realized, too, how miserable I was.

So, the ’rents suggested: “What if you moved to Iowa City and attended the university there? It has one of the best writing departments in the country. You could quit your job to concentrate 100 percent on your studies. Meet new friends. Learn new things. And you’d finally be away from home.”

It sounded like heaven.

So here I am again.

Not in Iowa City of course, but feeling trapped and dreaming about other places to explore, new people to befriend, amazing things to learn, and—maybe, just maybe—finding home again.

Because I’m nervous writing about this, I’m thinking it’s best expressed as a multi-part post, where perhaps I can fully flesh out how the changes of the past, with its attendant biases, beliefs, etc., can affect the present—and discover how altering those mindsets might steer me toward a better future.

—Like my wonderful “future” in the autumn of 1984.

***

I’d been working at the print shop for three years when I quit on Friday, Aug. 10, 1984.

That day, Gerry, my boss, had bought the entire shop take-out from A&W, which we ate in the conference room. After lunch I went to see him in his office.

“Well,” he said when I gave him my two-weeks’ notice, “You sorta floored me.”

A journal entry the following Tuesday goes into more detail: “He was taken aback—his eyes fixed on me, brain gears clicking madly in succession, I think he even sat back a bit in his chair. He said he was happy for me [returning to college] and that he felt a bonus was in order.”

Friday, Aug. 24, was my last day. I recall working in the bindery, then cleaning up the darkroom one last time. I also remember not feeling very useful that day, like I had run the end of my rope.

And nobody really cared if I kept hanging on to it.

After 5 p.m., everyone met up at a local restaurant and bar called Donnie’s, where they threw me a going-away party: Todd and John, the pressmen; Rich, who helped out in the bindery; Diane, who worked the front desk with Judy, who was joined by her husband Larry; Gordy (who did the books) with his wife Sharon; and Gerry. We drank Tequila Sunrises and beer; I received a box full school and bathroom supplies (the latter a sort of inside joke) as a farewell gift, and three final checks totaling $430. We all went home around 7 p.m.

Then, first thing Saturday morning, I left for Iowa with Mom and Dad.

***

My dorm room was on the eighth floor of Mayflower Hall on North Dubuque Street, out where the butt end of Iowa City meets Interstate 80 and parts east and west.

Mayflower. Huh. Like the ship, transporting the Pilgrims to the New World.

Never occurred to me until now.

Across Dubuque Street was the lazy Iowa River, hugged by Terrell Mill Park, a little grassy retreat shaded by huge cottonwood trees.

Alone in my bare dorm room (pictured above right), I awaited my new roommate, and suitemates who would share our kitchen and adjoining double bathroom.

Classes wouldn’t start until Wednesday, Aug. 29, so I had nearly two days all to myself. The week began with Orientation and a walk up to the main campus—a walk the journal describes as “exciting.”

“A women’s marathon passed by on the street,” it reads. It was a lovely late summer day. The cobblestone streets were mottled with sunlight. At the top of the hill, I was able to see across the river to the university hospitals, where mysterious gothic-like spires poked through the treetops. I made a mental note to explore further.

On the first night I’d met three new friends on my floor, Rick Kubat, a lanky guy from Illinois with a permanently bemused smirk, and a girl named Carolyn. Rick had a Volkswagen Bug and gave us a ride up to Burge Hall, where we picked up their friend Kay.

Then, on Monday after 7 p.m., my roommate arrived—let in by staff while I was (probably) listening to prog rock in my headphones. James “Bud” Morris, a beaming, curly haired guy with a friendly Louisville, Ky., drawl, stepped in with parents in tow and suitcases in hand. We then met Andy, our suitemate, who was still awaiting arrival of his roommate, a German exchange student named Christian.

Bud, Andy, and I quickly bonded that night over music. Andy mentioned a progressive radio station out of Cedar Rapids he always listened to. Bud had brought his stereo, Sony headphones, and cassette tapes filled with Elvis Costello, The Jam, Peter Gabriel, and—soon to be my favorite new music discovery—R.E.M. When I later introduced Bud to Rick, mention was made of downtown hot spots that we had to check out before classes got underway.

One of those places was a nightclub called The Crow’s Nest.

I’ll never, ever, forget it.

***

CrowsNestThe first mention of The Crow’s Nest is on Tuesday, Aug. 28, four days after arriving in town:

“…it was down South Dubuque Street. It was a sort of hole-in-the-wall, by sort I mean that it had deceptive appearances. At the front it looked like a small intimate bar, but out a door to the back and it rose into a high ceiling, cool and spacious—much like a high school gymnasium—and with a high stage. The band playing was called The Shy and they were good, as far as local bands go. They had energy.”

But the Nest really shined on Friday night of the same week, when Bud and I returned to kick off Labor Day weekend 1984:

“…we headed for the Crow’s Nest to watch the band Steve, Bob & Rich. As we got in the door and bellied up to the bar, we both asked for Heineken—Light for me, and dark for Bud. A lovely little brunette with streaks of blonde, whose eyes were dazzling & wonderful, served us at the bar. She had to fetch the Heineken Light for me, and when she came back with her hands full of bottles, I jokingly said, ‘No, I only need one for now.’ That got a nice smile out of her. Bud and I went in to see the band, 3 guys with a drummer with a squeaky voice as vocalist. They played a lot of old tunes and rockabilly and finally—around 11 o’clock, when Bud and I had had enough of the style and squeaking, we took off. Actually, the crowd at the Crow’s Nest was the biggest we’d seen to date.”

That mention of a “lovely little brunette with streaks of blonde” is the first about her, Ms. Dazzling Wonderful Eyes—whose name I still needed to learn—that fall.

The rest of the holiday weekend was uneventful, as Iowa City became a ghost town.

Bud and I tried to make the best of it: walking up to John’s Grocery for beer, tuning into Andy’s Cedar Rapids radio program “Progressions” and listening to new music, passing up a late matinee of Prince’s Purple Rain for dinner at Bo James’ Saloon, followed by 2-for-1 drinks at Diamond Dave’s Taco Company…

And then, this. On Sunday evening, Sept. 2, 1984:

“On the way back to Mayflower, we saw what seemed to be Amusement Park lights in the Public Park across the river, so we crossed the bridge, trudged through the park and came upon a little Amusement setup with a small Ferris Wheel and Merry-Go-Round. A cool autumn-like breeze was blowing—it was a magical night, made me wish I had a girlfriend there with me, a girl with whom I could share that magical little place. Bud and I didn’t go on any of the rides; we just walked around a bit in awe.”

An awe-inspiring magical night.

An exciting new hangout. A lovely new face.

New friends and a fellow music-loving roommate.

Searching for home is, I believe, about finding the right people. People with whom you can share experiences (like pop-up amusement parks).

And the wish—an honest, solid, hopeful one—for love with the right person.

Intermission at the Passion Pits

•June 19, 2015 • Leave a Comment

completelyinthedark:

Ah, memories of making out in cars at the drive-in theater. Summer. Love. :-D All-new posts next Friday, June 26! Now hit the snack bar! ;-)

Originally posted on Completely in the Dark:

You get more out of life when you go to a movie!

There’s plenty of time to head on over to the snack bar!
Show Starts in 8 Minutes!

April 1977 was so unseasonably warm that the Navarre Drive-In Theater opened early. Everyone at school was jazzed. There weren’t a lot of hangouts outside of the Soda Fountain, or driving to Hopkins to cruise the main drag. But the Navarre Drive-In was a must-do.

Show Starts in 7 Minutes!

On Saturday, April 9, 1977, the ice went out on Lake Minnetonka. That afternoon Kim, her friend Diana and sister Andrea (aka Anny) and I packed into Mom’s car and I drove to the grocery store in Navarre, hitting the Dairy Queen on the way back to Mound. It was 70+ degrees Fahrenheit. Spring had come early.

Show Starts in 6 Minutes!

April 23, 1977, the diary entry begins: “Believe me…

View original 587 more words

 
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