She was a good Catholic girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Pure of heart and mind. She was at a birthday party a friend was throwing for her boyfriend “Boots”.
He was a hippie/bad boy from Amherst. He wore a chain bracelet, had a beard, long hair and rode a motorcycle. He drove a car with a racing stripe that he used to road race in. He dressed in an untucked, paisley shirt and a vest. His favorite vest was one made out of black vinyl although he had a leopard print one, a faux fur one, and a black cloth one for formal occasions. He would “go steady” with up to three girls at a time. He crashed a party she was at with a college buddy of his, Pat, always on the prowl for a new conquest.
A mismatched pair if ever there was one. But the stars were in alignment that night.
He had spotted her in the corner with her friends, talking and laughing. He had brought a black light with him that night and was drawing designs on the back of people’s hands with Vaseline. This would glow an eerie, bluish white when it was under the black light. He ironically painted a heart on the back of her hand, after all, it was the summer of love.
After the interest for the black light waned, he put it away, walked to the corner and picked her up. He said the best three words he had ever said up until then. They were “This one’s mine” and carried her off. After the party, she gave him her address and phone number but she never expected a boy like him would be interested in a girl like her. When he called her for a date there were butterflies in her stomach. She didn’t think he would ever call. She never had a boyfriend like this before.
Words of love, so soft and tender, won’t win a girls heart anymore…
– The Mamas and Papas, 1966
She waited at the front window and when he arrived at her house, she flew out the door and got in his car. This pattern continued for several weeks because he was too “out there” to meet her strict Catholic parents. Finally the day to meet them came and he shaved his beard, removed his bracelet, took off his vest, tucked in his shirt, combed his hair, drove up and rang the bell.
He didn’t expect what he was about to encounter when he entered her house. Her father was in the livingroom with one of the children she had brought home from St. Rita’s home for children for the weekend. This is where she worked. In the kitchen her mother and her aunt were sitting around the kitchen table, drinking beer, and he thought to himself, “I shaved for this?”
They dated for six months after that and he fell in love with her. He was done searching and felt he had found “the one. “ He labored for just the right words to say and one night, while they were at Ellicott Park, he looked out over the water and uttered, “There is something I’ve been wanting to talk to you about.” He then said the five most important words he had ever said in his life. He said, “Will you have my children?”
The look of shock, disbelief and fear on her face scared him. He thought he had screwed up royally. Finally she was able to squeak out “Yes.” Now it was he that was in disbelief that an angel like this, the best girl he ever met, had agreed to marry him.
Almost 2 years after that, he said the best two words he had ever had occasion to say. Two words that would define their lives forever, they were “I do.”
They were married in August, 1969 and there were many people that day that thought this union would never last, many of which gave it a year or less. How could two people from such different backgrounds manage to find common ground to survive? What they didn’t understand was that the love they had for each other could surmount any difficulties or problems they might encounter, and there were many over the years. But they believed in each other and both took their vows seriously.
Now almost 5 decades later they still exchange the best three words they ever say to each other, “I love you” several times every day.
Sometimes you don’t have to say a lot of words, just the right words at the right time.
You may ask how I know this loving couple but it is easy. This is my wife and me.
Thank you, Pat, Cindy, and “Boots”, wherever you are.
Norb is a writer from Lockport. He can be reached at email@example.com.