What You Had, What You Lost

Let’s make one thing clear: the past is nothing I particularly cherish.

In fact, had the folks not died in 2008, and I didn’t have all these photos and letters, it’s doubtful I would’ve ever cracked into the old diaries. And even think to drag you guys along to boot.

But after watching economist Tyler Cowen’s compelling talk on stories and storytelling, I realized that it’s not the photos, it’s not the diaries, it’s not even the facts—the narrative of 2008, with all its gains and losses—that drive me to write these posts. It’s pure and simply confronting what I thought the “true” narrative was, even with evidence to the contrary. So what if it’s a function of selectively arranging images, artifacts, long-forgotten words into one place—this blog … that’s what lights my fire every week.

Hey, even if no one was reading, I’d still be here quietly piecing this patchwork together.

So here we are, year two of Completely in the Dark, and we’re staring into the abyss that was winter 1977. Fleetwood Mac oozes through car radio speakers: “Players only love you when they’re playing…” Rumours, their 11th LP, was released in early February. And ouch. The breakup with Kim also haunted my new year.

That winter, at the high school, my circle of friends was expanding. By Valentine’s Day, a new girl had crossed my path—Lisa R. She was a short, tomboyish brunette with a pretty face and a playful smile. The regular gang of Steve, Vince, Sara, Sherri, Loren, Jeff and Skeeze used to hang out at the varsity basketball games, and we goofed around with other groups of kids. Lisa was friends with another Sara, and at the time she was dating a tough senior guy named Dale Drews. Everybody liked Lisa.

But I was smitten with Lisa. Disguised as a secret admirer, I sent her a card on Valentine’s Day, an act unpersuasive enough for her to break up with Dale. In March was the first concert of the year—Boston at the St. Paul Civic Center on March 7, 1977. I’d plunked down $5.50 each for two tickets and was determined to take a date. I wanted to ask Lisa.

But it wasn’t at school that I’d find a date, but church. Through no small irony, Kim’s friend Joni—who’d orchestrated getting Kim and I together in the first place—had an older sister named Connie. Connie and I started sitting together during worship service. On Sunday, Feb. 20, I asked her if she wanted to go to the concert. The diary reports: “…she really wants to go with me. I think she’s pretty sweet.”

Two weeks would pass until concert day, and Connie and I weren’t exactly on the fast track to becoming New Couple of the Year. On Saturday, March 5, I drove Mom’s car to Ridgedale mall and passed by Linda’s house. She was outside patting together a snowman, so I stopped to say hello. “I kidded her about her snowman. It was fantastic seeing her again. We laughed and kidded around and after a short time I continued on my way…”

That night the high school gang met up at the Sno-Daze Dance at Grandview Junior High School, where a local band called The Boys did their best to look like a poor man’s KISS. Afterward, Skeeze, Steve and I hit the Soda Fountain. Connie wasn’t at the dance as she was away at a Lay Witness Mission thing with our church group for the weekend.

Concert night arrived. Rowdy boys John McDaniel, Eric Miller and Greg scammed beer from the Mound muni, so I joined them. Then I picked Connie up at her house around 5:30. Concert time was 7:30, with Starcastle as the opening act. We ran into Greg at the show, who “was pretty wasted.” Since it was general admission, we grabbed the best seats we could find along the side. Connie and I left during Boston’s last encore. After I drove her home, we made out in Mom’s car and, as the diary reveals, I was back home in bed by midnight, “tired and headachy.”

I instinctively knew Connie and I didn’t have a future. The next day I wrote: “…probably the first and last time I’ll ever take out Connie…I don’t really know.”

Maybe the rain had washed me clean. And not knowing was definitely knowing.

~ by completelyinthedark on January 22, 2012.

2 Responses to “What You Had, What You Lost”

  1. You know, I just saw her early last summer. It was under very unfortunate circumstances though.

    Also, I was at that concert. Great show!


  2. Oh an Starcastle??! That was an amazing show…what a backdrop to your date aspirations


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