A Hard Rain

A strange new face peered through the window of the practice room door.

The place: Mound Westonka high school music resource center (the “MRC”), Oct. 4, 1976, just after lunch break, practice room #4. The diary reports it was a rainy, cloudy Monday.

The MRC was great because I could go play piano in a practice room and just get lost in music before returning to class. At the time, I was probably pounding out Foreigner’s “Cold As Ice” (while thinking about Linda, ’natch) or just improvising, which I often did.

But there she was, her face pressed up against the glass. She knocked and shyly smiled. I opened the door and let her in. She wore a loosely buttoned patterned silk shirt that exposed a bra strap. Her shoulder-length blonde hair got caught in her necklace, so she flicked it back. Grinning broadly, she thrust a hip against the piano and folded her arms. She said she liked my music. She wanted to hear more.

In the diary I wrote: “…after lunch I talked with this sophomore girl (I can’t remember her name) in practice room 4 while she watched me play the piano. A nice little encounter.”

Well, her name was Kristi. And she was a sophomore.


But my thoughts were all about going out with Linda again. She didn’t attend our school, and it was getting more difficult to see her again. I needed mobility. I needed what those senior guys had. I needed a car.

So that fall I was in full student-driver mode. On Sept. 10, I took the driving test, with a score of 87 points, but failed it on one mistake—not observing a pedestrian stop sign. I’d have to wait until the end of the month to retake the test.

It rained a lot that September. When at mid-month it dried up, my buddy Skeeze stopped me in the hall and said, “There’s no mamunia today,” whereupon I must’ve shrugged and walked on.

I was in a daze about Linda. She loved folk music, which was foreign to me since I was a total pop music nerd. Jesse Colin Young, Neil Young … all these guys were her favorites. And especially Bob Dylan. What I knew of Bob Dylan was only “The Times They Are A-Changin’” from my time back out East, and “Hurricane,” which was on the radio at the time, the expletives bleeped out for public consumption. If Linda loved Dylan, I had to learn Dylan.

So the night of Sept. 14 I stayed up late to watch a Bob Dylan live concert special called “Hard Rain.” In the diary I wrote, “…it was pretty good.” Okay, I thought, next time I see Linda, I’ve got some ammunition.


That next time went down just three days later.

It was a Friday, and our school played Linda’s school in a home football game at Haddorf Field. Loren and I rode in his Volkswagen, but we got to the game later than expected. While walking around looking for the Orono fans, we ran into Linda with her friend Kathy. The diary doesn’t record much, merely stating that she “completely ignored me when Loren and I were talking to her. It made me super mad and I didn’t see her again for the rest of the game.”

Well, yeah, how do these things work with humans under the age of 17? What was the expectation? How could I have reacted? More nonchalant, less anxious? At least I had a wingman in Loren. But Loren had his girlfriend, Sherri. In the MRC, Chell had just met a sophomore named Jill (in photo at right) and they were inseparable. Literally! Everyone was pairing off.

On Wednesday, Sept. 29, I aced the driver’s exam. The night before I wrote in the diary: “I hope to God I pass. This evening I’m doing little or nothing except thinking about my past, and how my future should be, if I really have any control over it at all.”

I will say this: Our team trounced Orono that Friday night, 27–7.

Oh, and Linda? There’s a cute sophomore that seems to like me. Ha. Ha. Ha.

~ by completelyinthedark on November 19, 2011.

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