The year was 1958 I was 15 and boys were the topic of conversation. I had two older sisters and we all had crushes on one boy or another. I was still on the verge of being a Tomboy, but since I was allowed to go to the church dances at St. Mary’s church on Friday evenings the “guys” started looking different to me. Of course I suppose the raging hormones helped.
Confraternity is what the dance was called. Father O’Tool would talk with us from 7:00pm to 7:30pm about life, religion and virtue. We would all sit there and when he would ask at the end of the sermon if there were any questions, not one hand would go up. Even if you did have a question, if you raised your hand you would be dead meat. At 7:30 the chairs were cleared by the guys’ and the dance would begin. Of course we had to be dressed presentable. Boys with suit and tie or sport jacket and slacks with tie. Girls with skirt and blouse or dress. No jeans, Tee shirts, leather jackets allowed by the boys and no tight skirts or see through blouses for the girls. After all this was the 50’s and we were at a church social. Father O’Tool hung around while the rock “n” roll blared so there were never any fights. However he did overlook the smoking of cigarettes for the most part.
We danced the night away until 10:30pm and then it was over, so we (the girls) had three hours to meet guys. This was all new to me and I got pointers from my two older sisters.
This one particular night a boy came up to me and asked me to dance. Since my group of girls danced with mostly each other this was a shock to me, but I accepted. As I walked to the dance floor I could hear the giggles of my friends and sisters. The song was Earth Angel and it was a magical moment. My heart was racing and my throat was dry, but I managed to chat with him. His name was Mike, he was about 6 feet tall, with dirty blond hair and beautiful blue eyes. He was wearing a black suit with a white shirt and a black tie. He was a dream, and he danced well. Mike walked me home that night. He asked me if I would go to the movie with him on Sunday. I told him it would have to be in the afternoon because we had school on Monday and my parents wouldn’t allow me to go in the evening. I had never even been on a date before, nor did I know if my parents would allow it, but I accepted anyway. It was a magical night, I of all the girls had a guy interested in me. “Oh What a Night.” When I arrived home my sisters had a million questions for me. They also told me that Mom and Dad would never let me go on a date. I had all night to plan what I would say to my parents the next day. After all I had an ace in the hole, you see his brother was a priest! Mike was practically a saint.
Saturday I told my mother about Mike and how nice he was. How he walked me home and asked me to go to the movie on Sunday. I also gave her his last name, where he lived and advised her that he had a brother that was a priest. “I don’t know Patti, you are only 15.”
“Oh, Mom please, it’s only a movie and I will be home by 6:00pm.”
“Well, I will talk with your Dad and let you know.”
I did want to whine and argue, but thought twice about that and just said “Okay.”
To my surprise they were letting me go. I was elated. My sisters teased me all day, but my girlfriends were so jealous, I was thrilled. I might have landed a boyfriend. At 15 that was practically a miracle, especially with parents as strict as mine.
I pictured Mike coming to the door in his beautiful black suit with his white shirt and tie, I couldn’t wait for tomorrow. I did all of my chores with a song on my lips. “Earth Angel.”
Sunday arrived it was pouring rain. I was heart broken. I thought it would be a beautiful sunny day, I had wonderful visions of walking and hand holding and possibly my very first kiss. I decided not to let the weather change my hope’s and dream’s. I just changed the scenery, I thought of Gene Kelly and “Dancing in the Rain.”
The doorbell rang, my father told me he would get it. I heard him greet Mike and exchange conversation. My parents grilled him about his family and himself. They then called me to tell me Mike had arrived. Like I didn’t know. I walked down the hall to the kitchen where Mike was waiting with my parents. Shock took over my body, who was this guy? Where was the handsome boy who danced with me and walked me home on Friday night. My God he was wearing a brown suit and brown shoes. I hated brown. How could he do this to me! Now I had to spend an afternoon with him at the movie. I might as well have gone with my younger brother. Oh, Lord, what do I do now, I thought. Brown shoes, and ugly ones at that. What happened to his black shiny Penny Loafers that he wore Friday night.
The movie playing was “East of Eden.” We took our seats, he bought me an ice cream cone. He put his arm around the back of my seat. I panicked, I knew he was going to kiss me. I could feel it in my bones. He did kiss me. Right there in the theater, with everyone watching, and him in those ugly brown shoes. A few minutes later I announced I must go home.
“Why? I told your father we would be home at six.”
“I don’t care what you told my father, I have homework to do for school and I am leaving.”
Mike followed me out of the theater it was about 4:00pm. We caught the bus and he walked me home in the pouring rain. No “Dancing in the Rain” either. I said an abrupt goodbye and thank you and went directly into the house.
“What are you doing home so early.” my parents asked.
“He kissed me. It was disgusting, so I left the movie.”
“You mean you just got up and walked out, just because he kissed you?”
“He just kissed you? Nothing else? He didn’t get fresh with you, did he?”
“No, nothing else.”
“Then why didn’t you wait until the movie was over?” They asked.
I looked at them, what’s the matter with these people I thought.
“Because he wore brown shoes, ugly brown shoes and a brown suit.” I headed off to my room.
I didn’t go to Confraternity for a few weeks after that.
The moral of this story is be careful what you wish for. You might get it.