By George Brown
Do you remember your first kiss? From the time I was a wee little fellow until my junior year in high school the only girls I ever kissed were my Mom and my Great Granny. Mom’s kisses were love pecks at bedtime and when I headed off to school in the morning. Granny’s kisses were love pecks too, and uniquely memorable. Her chin whiskers tickled and her lips tasted sweet from the juices of her beloved Red Man chewing tobacco, a small trickle of which could often be seen at the edge of her mouth. Young love (I was four years old at the time) overlooks such inconveniences. Granny and I had pledged our love to each other and planned to marry when I grew up.
As is always the case with Granny love, our marriage was not to be. Granny passed away at the good old age of 89 the summer before my junior year in high school.
It just so happened that this was the same year I was introduced to the world of kissing girls my own age. To protect the innocent I won’t name the three girls who, over a period of several months, subjected themselves to the hormonal experimentations of a very backwards 16-year-old country bumpkin; but they know who they are and, should they ever happen to read this, I want them to know I remain deeply appreciative of their willingness to endure the experience.
By the time second semester arrived I was, in my own humble opinion, a dating veteran and skilled kisser. Feeling my oats, I decided it was time to ask the leggy blonde, whom I had been admiring since first casting my eyes upon her the September before, if she would go out with me. I knew it was a long shot, but egged on by the double dog dare of a good friend I decided to give it a try. Whether you call it dumb luck or divine providence, to my astonishment this goddess of my dreams smiled politely and accepted my invitation.
Our first date was innocent enough. It consisted of lunch and a long afternoon walk, talking about the things teenagers talked about back in those early years of the 1960s. I took my backpack along, of course, with a thermos of water (this was before the days of bottled water) and some snack crackers. This forethought appeared to make a positive impression. When we paused to share the snacks it seemed the perfect opportunity to attempt a first kiss, but my instincts and, admittedly, a fear of rejection told me this was not the right time. My hesitation proved to be a wise decision because, when we concluded our walk and I asked her for a second date, she cheerfully accepted.
On our second date we went to a movie – the passion pit of young lovers. But with determination and a resolve beyond my years, I had decided once again to restrain my urges in the hope of winning her affection by demonstrating that I was a gentleman, if not a scholar. The fact that my stomach still rolled and gurgled with a fear of rejection was also a deterrent.
I do not remember the title or plot of the movie we saw that evening. What I do remember is feeling my heart pounding like the rolling thunder of a kettle drum as I slid my hand over to touch hers, and how overwhelmed I was when she slowly turned her hand over and gently embraced mine. We held and caressed hands throughout the movie and by the time it was over I had nearly melted into a puddle of puppy love drool right there in front of her.
But my instincts of restraint paid off. A third date was confirmed, which, coincidentally, was to attend a Valentine’s Day party. By now I was head over heels in love and certain that on this special occasion she would be ready to accept, and possibly even expect a first kiss.
My date with destiny, February 14, 1963, finally arrived. After a forty minute cold shower, I dressed, slicked my hair back with Brylcreem, doused my face with Aqua Velva, and headed off for what I was sure would be the most memorable evening of my life. And to add a touch of romance to the occasion I had purchased a heart shaped box of chocolates, which I tucked in my backpack as I headed out the door.
The party was fun, but before we’d even arrived I was wishing it would end. I had but one thing on my mind. I was on a first kiss mission and not even the fear of rejection would deter me from this long awaited desire.
Mercifully, the party did finally end and we quickly made our way out the door. It was an unusually warm evening for February and a perfect lover’s moon lighted our way. As we passed by a large old oak tree (a spot I had picked the day before), I gently tugged on her hand and suggested we pause to enjoy the beauty of the moon; but as she turned to look toward the night sky my eyes fell not upon the moon but upon her golden blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes. Even her lips glistened in the moonlight like two soft red rubies waiting to be kissed. I was smitten with love. The moment had arrived.
For several days I had been rehearsing the lines I would use and now it was time to deliver them. Slipping my backpack from my shoulder and setting it beside the old oak tree, I leaned toward her and in my deepest manly voice said, “Yvonne, I love you. I had a dream last night. Would you like to hear it?” As she nodded her head, I said, “Better yet, let me show you what I dreamed”; and with that I drew her into my arms and gave her the most passionate kiss I knew how to give. It was a perfect moment and a perfect kiss. At least, that is the way I remember it.
It may come as no surprise to learn that Yvonne’s recollection of that evening and that “perfect moment” is somewhat different than mine. She describes my kiss as the hot-blooded passion of a 16-year-old boy’s raging hormones, and claims I scared her so badly she pulled away, and that she told me I didn’t know what I was talking about because I was too young to be in love.
Well, considering that that Valentine’s Day kiss occurred over 50 years ago I suppose it is possible that both of our memoires are a little fuzzy about the details. Just the same, I’m sticking with my story. What’s more, last week I went to the Dollar Store and purchased a big heart shaped box of chocolates, and on Valentine’s Day I’m going to try my luck with that same line about a dream one more time.
George Brown is a freelance writer. He lives in Jackson Township.