This could be part x in an ongoing series that fills in the back-story of my life. Ready?
Cast your mind back to 1983… summer…
See, I was stopping to get gas this morning and as it pumped I saw a couple riding on a bicycle built for two. That’s what started my trip and fall down memory lane.
Daisy. Daisy. Give me your answer, do.
You see, I was in a show in 1983, my first community theater production. Fountain Valley Community Theater presents Yankee Doodle Dandy, your typical community theater type of production during the summer. Festive. Patriotic. Dumbass. Probably one of the best times of my life. One of my musical numbers had me singing that song with a girl… and I guess my feelings for the girl still exist… and you can tell what they were from how I remembered the song…
Daisy. Daisy. Give me your answer do, you bitch.
I’m half-crazy all for the love of you bitch
It won’t be a stylish marriage, bitch
I can’t afford a carriage, bitch
But you’ll look sweet, upon the seat of a bicycle built for two, you bitch.
This girl was a complete bitch. She always had to upstage me, even when I was doing the singing. When she held hands, she had to have the dominant hand. (You know, the whole thumb thing.) I did not like her.
It’s not surprising that I don’t remember her name.
There are some names I do remember, of course.
Rob Sassone. Best damn nude trailer park manager in all the southwest. He and I became best friends from that show and I miss him greatly. He’s still around but, with 400 children (just about), he and his wife have little time for socializing. I’m hoping that when they retire, when we’re all in our 70’s, when Vicky and I have a teenager, we can hang out once again… do donuts…
Cindy Wilcox. She was the girl I dated from the show. Pianist, cheerleader… she was a fun girl, very sweet. Before we dated, we used to sit outside the theater and tickle each other like crazy. I loved her… as often as I could… Of course, she’s sadly related to my breakup with Teresa Alaniz but, just as I’m beginning to do with the Cindy from my adult life, I can see that it wasn’t a reflection on her. She was truly special and holds a dear place in my memory.
Rick Habib. Our director. He and I liked to give each other a hard time, though we had a great rapport. One time, I took a toilet roll dispenser, one of the kind they used to sell with scented beads inside, and planted it very carefully deep within his car. Within hours, his car smelled like a toilet and he didn’t know what to do. At that point, being 17 years old, I lost it and the jig was up. But it was fun. He was the older brother I never had and needed at that time, full of great advice, help, and understanding.
Janie Clark. This girl was dynamite. Funny, beautiful, full of potential. I asked her out shortly out of high school and, as it so often happened, though she said she’d like to we never did. Then, sometime in the 90’s, she died while over in Bosnia (or somewhere in that area). It was incredibly sad because we all knew how much she had to give. The good, they do die young.
Kenny McMurphy. He was younger than the other three male leads but he was far beyond us. His mother was the typical stage mother and had him doing TV, commercials, running for political office in foreign lands, everything! Kenny’s thing was drumming. He’d drum on fucking everything. I never so much as drummed my fingers but Kenny – that contagious son of a bitch – he had me drumming by the end of that summer, let me tell you. Vicky thanks you, Kenny.
Alice. Nope. Don’t remember her last name. Body of Pamela Anderson. Humor of Kathy Griffin. She was phenomenal. And you don’t forget someone who makes out like she did. She’s another who said she’d go out with me but… my follow up skills were lacking. I didn’t have a car. What can I tell you?
There was one more male lead. I don’t remember his name. And that sucks because he was really the coolest guy. I’m sure you’ve had this happen. We lose so many people in our lives that it’s hard to keep track of them all in our mental rolodex. For that matter, there were dozens more that I’ve forgotten, from that show alone. There was a kid who chopped his thumb almost completely off with one of those old paper slicers they had back then. There was a girl whose parents were nudists and who bit my shoulder… I’m not telling. There was the musical director who put Cindy and I in charge of breaking a few of the songs into four-part harmony, as if kids were capable of four-part harmony.
It was an incredible summer and, for all the depression that came of losing Teresa at the end of it, there was some incredible loveliness that I couldn’t appreciate at the time. We marched in the Huntington Beach Independence Day parade. We had dozens of performances. I had moments that would change my life and my direction as a person and I am grateful.
I’m also grateful to the couple on the bike this morning. Without them, I would never have thought about it.