Rings (Part 1)

[This is the first of a two-part post.]

There was a circular theme to the end of 1977.

It worked its way subtly through the diary pages; first, on Tuesday, Dec. 13: “It was a very special day. And that happened 4th period.” The schoolday started out badly: I was fighting a head cold but felt well enough to finish some new prints in Photography class and type up my forthcoming Smoke Signal column.

It all shifted while chatting with sophomore friend Dawn Polston in the Music Resource Center. Terry Bialon walked in with Kim and they joined us. I always tried to nab the table nearest the band room, where my junior-class friend Julie Opheim would stop by to gossip about what was new with “The Circles,” as we called them. “The Circles” was our code word for people who knew each other, which extended out to new people who sometimes joined the old circles—people like Jeff Greene or Sonya Andrews and, lately, Stephanie.

That December day I pulled Kim into the band room, over by the instrument cubbyholes. I’d planned to give her an early Christmas gift—a gold ring. The diary doesn’t state where I got the ring, and I don’t recall now. When she started talking about her current boyfriend, Jon, I took the ring off my finger and gave it to her. “I’ve never given you anything before and I want you to have this,” I said. She accepted it. “I think she took it as special,” I wrote in the diary. “I’m very glad that it’s hers now.”

Two weeks later, on Dec. 27, just before the big ski day at Afton Alps, Mom drove me to Mound where we picked up my class ring at the jewelers. That night I worked at Super Sam’s. Steph stopped in to visit, since she’d already worked the day shift. I had yet to ask her to the Super Sam’s holiday party the first week in January.

That was all about to change, quickly.

Thursday, Dec. 29, 1977, was still a school holiday, so I worked at the mall. I’d walked to the bus and got to Sam’s at 11:30. “Steph came in,” I wrote, “a few seconds later, looking beautiful.” We punched out after 4 p.m., and sat in the mall together, talking. “It was a good conversation,” the diary reports. “Interesting, kind of ‘gut-spilling.’ It seems we feel really good together. I like her a lot. We even talked about writing!”

I was so excited that night that Skeeze got the play-by-play recap over patty melts and chocolate-banana malts at the Soda Fountain. We even took his dad’s Caddy to Crystal, where we met up with Lisa and watched TV at her place for a while. It was a crazy, expansive night. Once home, I wrote: “I feel now like I should ask Steph out tomorrow nite but I don’t know…”

YOU DON’T KNOW?! Who IS this idiotic kid?

It was the end of the year. Promising new things were happening and needed recording. While shopping at 7-Hi Center with Mom, I bought the 1978 diary. On Friday, Dec. 20, Steph and I worked along with Sabrina, Carol and Shawn. She “seemed tired at first, far away,” I wrote. “I asked her if it would be alright if I called her later…I even went out to the lobby as she was sitting out there and asked her if she wanted to do something with me later tonight, go to a movie or something.”

Clearly, this girl made me nervous. In a good way.

Once home, I called, but she’d decided to see Saturday Night Fever with her friend Kim. I was crestfallen. “We talked for a while though,” the diary states, “she asked me to call her tomorrow.”

Tomorrow, as in “New Year’s Eve 1977 tomorrow”?! Yeeowzah!

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~ by completelyinthedark on September 21, 2012.

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