For too much of my young life it meant reunion. School in one form or
another--elementary, secondary, college, graduate--had released us and we could
now return to something or someone we loved.
The artificial pressures of the classroom gave way to a search for something
infinately deeper and more magnficent: summer heat was not always wound up in
In fact, it was a cold San Francisco June that I decided, at age 19, I had fallen fatally in love with Stan Rice, and would of my own powerful and clever will bring about the consummation of our relationship, and thereby end a virginity which had been a nuisance ever since the world had meaning.
The 1961 freshman year at North Texas State had released Stan; and he had taken me totally unawares on a stinging cold night in San Francisco by popping up in the hallway of the flat I shared with the Percy family--old dear, respectable friends. All the affection spilled out in our letters was suddenly put to the test, and successfully, in a series of embraces.
But one couldn't consumate a love affair in the Percy flat, as we called it, where I lived with Mrs. Percy and her two sons, Dennis and Brian. It gives me a stab to realize all of these people are no longer living. But then that was thirty-six years ago. Losing one's virginity wasn't something casual. If it had been we wouldn't have used the word lose.
What I contrived was this: two girls at the office having generously offered their oceanfront apartment for the clandestine "rites," I packed a nightgown in my purse before four of us--the unsuspecting Stan and I, my dearest girlfriend Ginny and her boyfriend, innocent guards, set out to see West Side Story, a musical which Stan and I, for wholly different reasons, both loved. It was being performed "in the round" in one of San Francisco's small, very proffesional, yet nationally recognized theaters. Every song was doubly thrilling. The signature song "Tonight," took on glorious meaning. I don't think any event in my life before had involved this swimming, romantic, anticipation, coupled with a willful excitement that was not to be defeated by the fear of pregnancy or the normal common sense of the boy I loved.
At last, we arrived at the oceanfront apartment, and it was directly on the Great Highway that seperates the ice-cold, salty Pacific from the city, and there in a strange bedroom, I took off "everything" and put on a hideous dimestore nightgown, or wrapper, of cotton, with it's rounded collar, buttoned fron, smocking at the breast, and long, cuffed sleeves.
Though Stan seemed, at first, more interested in my friends record of Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain, I lured him away from the other couple who had come along as nearby guards for this clandestine, illegal, immoral event, and soon had Stan in bed, committed, and the deed was done. I don't remember anything as mundane as "satisfaction," only the utter dizzying love and committment: that I belonged to Stan Rice, that it hadn't hurt very much, and that he was forever mine.
June 1996: thirty-five years later found us in Tuscany, our eighteen year old son "released" from high school, from which he graduated with honors, so we could all go to Italy, of which, during 35 years of marriage, I had not seen enough. The anniversary of my deflowering must have passed sometime while we were wandering the steep streets of Assisi or Perugia. I don't know.
But the last night outside Rome we were in a palazzo by the Mediterranean--June, the sea again--full of salt and romance and breeze, and I went happily to sleep in Stan's arms, as I have every night since our wedding--in a cotton gown with a small rounded collar, smocking at the breast, buttons down the front, and long, cuffed sleeves.