Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Party Like It's 1971

Things happen when I least expect them.


Teensy plastic trinkets wrapped in the crepe paper ribbons of the surprise ball. All for my enjoyment. Proof that I had a friend. Who had a birthday. And a party. And, most importantly, invited me.

The ubiquitous goody bag of 1950s birthday parties. Minute treasures unravelled one at a time. Streams of colorful paper revealing special treats. De rigeur. Our Betty Crocker moms in lock-step. Starched frilly aprons tied perfectly around their 26 inch waists belying childbirth. Pink preludins and martinis.

Flash forward two decades.

Pop culture is whirling frenetically trying to catch up with the mood. Hues of color flashes dimming. Jim Morrison is found dead in bath tub in Paris. Kent State ended the euphoria the year before. Four innocents murdered in cold blood. Their crime? Walking to class. Caught in the cross-fire. America's polarization begins. Flower power and the Woodstock nation's ebullience fades. Sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll slips into a quagmire. The military-industrial complex bullies the world. Tricky Dicky announces a "War on Drugs". It is dusk in the Age of Aquarius.

We have been ridden hard and put away wet. Ambling across that proverbial bridge over troubled waters. Aretha knows best.

It is November 1, 1971. Boston before high tech. Summer of '42 and Love Story romance my imagination. Marvin Gaye urging me to "Get it On". Janis crooning about Bobby McGee. I am primed.

A knock at the door. Placing the spoon on a plate, I wipe my hands on the ever-present dish cloth flung casually over my left shoulder and walk down the winding hallway of my Boston apartment. The one on the second floor a block from Symphony Hall and another from the Fens. The Boston Strangler's turf.

My long chestnut hair drapes gracefully over a billowy pink blouse color coordinated by my Southern self with wide wale cranberry corduroy elephant pants. A gold chain circles my hips. I am barefoot (forever the Kentucky girl). I smell a bit like the spaghetti sauce I am preparing for my ever tardy roommate. Can I pretty please start supper and make sure the wine is chilled. She is hosting a dinner party. I am to be paired with the friend. Probably because we are both Jewish. She wants the handsome one. Both are second year law students.

I open the door. A lightening bolt strikes down. Before me is the most gorgeous man I have ever seen. Our eyes lock. The rest of the night floats into morning as I miss my econ midterm. Oops. This is the handsome one. My roommate is pissed.

Trouble with a capital T.

Tumultuous passion, tender moments. Shared sensibilities. Topsy-turvy. Abandon cast to the wind. In and out of love. Dance like no one is watching. Give until it hurts. Pain is pleasure. N'est-ce pas? Why not?

His demons got the best of us then. Again in 1994. A do-over in 2010?

Careful, girlfriend. Be on guard. Watch out for the sharp bejeweled trinkets. Be skeptical. Remember. Those smooth, satiny pastel ribbons aren't always the confection they seem to be.

But hell, ninety percent of life is showing up. Three just might be the charm. I am a sucker for his gorgeous eyes. Wish me luck!

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