Friday, March 03, 2006

It was the summer of 1972. I had just finished a really tough year, living with Momma on 79th Street again, being a sophomore in college and spending a second year attempting a relationship with Danny Blair. I was now a junior in college, and that was the appropriate time to take advantage of Pepperdine’s Year in Europe program. So the plan was for me to spend eight months in Heidelberg, the same German city where I had such an unhappy autumn a mere nine years before.

Danny decided to go home to northern California for the summer and work. He lived with Larry and Carol in Concord, California. He would join me in Heidelberg in September, and we would have the fall months to be in Europe together. So I flew from L.A. to Frankfurt by myself. It was a seventeen hour flight, and the airplane had a leak that dripped on me, but Irene Johnson, Mom’s old friend from missionary days, met me at the airport with flowers, we shared a meal, and she put me on the train to Heidelberg.

Oh, how strange, to be on my own in this city. I caught a taxi and told the driver “Graimbergweg Zehn, bitte, beim Schloβ” (“Number Ten, Graimberg Way, please, next to the castle”), the address of the Moore Haus. This was the Pepperdine property that they named after my dad. A couple of years before he died, Daddy had taken another trip to Heidelberg, this time searching for a house for Pepperdine to buy. He located a mansion that would work wonderfully, on the hillside just down the street from the castle. He purchased it and supervised its restoration.

The workman who came to refinish the hardwood floors told Daddy, “I remember this house. I helped my grandfather lay these floors when I was a little boy.” The Nazi soldiers had occupied the house as headquarters during the War, and the floors had been badly damaged. The house bore other signs of war as well – there were cannonball holes in the outer walls of the bottom floor. When Daddy died, Pepperdine honored him by naming the house after him. I had never seen the house, and now it would be my home for eight months. Here’s Graimbergweg and the front gate that leads up the path to the house. The other photo is a look up the hill at the house itself, all four stories.

Oddly enough, Chip and Sharyn had been invited to spend a year in Heidelberg as well, as house parents for the students. Nobody really stopped to think what a bad idea it was for Chip and Sharyn to have the responsibility of being my house parents…least of all me. I imagined we would have fun together…not at all realistic about any possible conflict of interest. (Dumb!) In September, they planned to pick up a car they were buying in Milan, so Danny made plans to fly with them. I would take the train down through Italy to meet them there, and the four of us would drive back up together in their new Fiat.

At any rate, that was planned for September, and this was May. I had four months to be on my own before they would arrive. The faculty living in the house when I arrived were Grover and Betty Goyne, and they were a blessing. He was a cool professor, and what she might lack in cool, she made up for in kindness and welcome. I found out my roommate would be Betty White, who was a great, cheerful, funny, pretty girl who had lived on my hall in the girls’ dorm freshman year and was famous for introducing me to the combination of Wheat Thins and Granny Smith apples.

The morning after I arrived, I was so jetlagged that for the only time in my life I slept through both our alarms and missed my first day of classes. The next day, after classes in Amerika Haus downtown, I explored some old memories. St. Annagasse 7 was still there (the Hotel Goldene Rose), and the Friseur where Momma got her hair done each week. (The ladies there spoke a strange sort of German, and I figured out later it must have been Yiddish.) I shopped for a minute at Horten, at the head of the Hauptgasse, and bought a clock, some soap and some fruit auf Deutsch (in German), and then hoped I’d be able to find my way back up the hill to Moore Haus.

On the way I found Russ DiNapoli (who I knew from L.A.) and Nita Boverie who I knew to be a friend of Stephen Bennett’s from Texas. They were picnicking on a bench on Friedrich-Ebert Anlage. They invited me to go with them to Nita’s favorite Konditerei, Café Knösel. (It sits on a corner of Haspelgasse bei der Heiliggeistkirche – the Holy Ghost Church.) Wow – I had found a new home. This was a wonderful café. Terrific ancient sepia prints on the walls, old black and white photographs of fencing fraternities in frames, little vases of fresh wildflowers and weeds on each table, the best Käsekuchen (cheese cake, but unlike New York cheese cake – more like food than dessert) in the world. Warm, shadowy quiet. I loved watching the real cream make “clouds in my coffee.” After awhile there, Nita and I went shopping for Rapidographs, the first item on each of our To Do lists.

I needed a Rapidograph with that tiny fine point on it to fit everything into the postcards I wrote. Unbelievably small print! Why do I have so many of them? I don’t recall Naomi giving them back to me, but here they are. In addition to the series of postcards, there are some letters, one of which included a two-page transcription of the wedding scene in Divine Right’s Trip. This story was a serial which appeared in the bottom right hand corner of many pages in the Whole Earth Catalog, and I loved it so much I took the time to write out this passage to share with Naomi. The story was later published in paperback form, which I excitedly bought, and then lost. (I just love finding relics of my past through – I just ordered this paperback for $4.75. What a “trip” it will be to revisit.)

The very next week Betty showed me an advertisement for a Joni Mitchell concert in Frankfurt. A bunch of us went, and this made everything wonderful again for me. (I’ve reported earlier on that concert.) Then I set up a quadruple date with us four “new girls” (Betty, me, Meredith and Sally) with Dr. Goyne to the Orgelkonzert at Heiliggeistkirche. E. Power Biggs was rather famous as an organist, but I’d never heard of him. We heard Bach and Reger, the Fugue in G-minor. It was beautiful, cold, ethereal. I noted a freak there, blond in a black cape, slightly satanic and creepy.

When the first weekend arrived, every student disappeared from the house, and I was a bit mystified. I found the Goynes and asked them what was going on. They explained that everybody had a Eurailpass and all the students traveled on the weekends. That weekend, the Goynes had mercy on me and took me with them antiquing, because everyone else had gone to Rothenburg together. On an ancient gramophone in a musty dank cellar, I heard “I saved the last waltz for you…” – one of the songs Danny liked to play on the piano.

The Goynes encouraged me to call my mother and explain the situation, and ask for more money so I could travel like everybody else. They said otherwise I would be pretty lonely all summer long, Thursdays through Sundays. So I called Momma, and she explained quite firmly that she had already given me all the money she could afford until the fall, and I would just have to make do with what I had. So I did. This led to some very interesting adventures, and memories I wouldn’t trade for anything.

The following weekend, Betty and I went with Gary Collins, a red-headed friend of Danny’s from San Francisco, to Luxembourg so I could I take all the money that was supposed to last me the rest of the summer and buy a Eurailpass. The rule was that you paid full fare in whatever country you bought the pass, and then your travel was free in all the other countries. So the trick was to buy it in the tiny country of Luxembourg (the cheapest one to pay your way out of) and then start your major traveling.

After I bought the railpass, we had a few hours’ wait for the next train out of the country. We had nothing else to do but sit in an open air café and drink and people watch. We did walk around a bit, and viewed the ruins of the Roman aqueduct. As the sun set and night came on, we sat and chatted and listened to music playing from someone’s radio or stereo, and I heard the most delightful little tune. It was so catchy and singable that I learned it as we sat there. This melody became a personal love note from God to me that would find me almost everywhere I traveled in Europe that summer.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but when Jesus baptized me in His Holy Spirit (as unemotional as was the experience itself), it produced in me a new sensitivity to His love. He started romancing me that summer – or at least I started really noticing it that summer. Everywhere I went, I found personal little treats that seemed to be planned just for me. Maybe it’s that people in love are so egocentric, they think every blessing in the world is created just for them. (But they really are, aren’t they? Admit it!) At any rate, I fell in love with Jesus for real that summer. And maybe, too, it had something to do with being on my own, and not making Danny the center of my world. Jesus and I shared a summer romance. All my senses were heightened and I seemed to notice detail like never before.

In my red Travel Log I wrote, “Walking across the bridges, to the Dom (closed), more bridges, the Roman ruins, and bugs. So much green. Sitting on a bench, doing Stan Freberg
[i] to entertain Betty. The little Italian café on either side of the stairway, with the fifty-year-old couple in love, almost hilarious. Connie Francis, of all people, singing ‘I saved the last waltz for you…’” (There that was again! But this was not the “love note from God” melody – that was a different song.)

“On the way to Amsterdam, the niceness of sleeping in a couchette with blankets, and the misery of getting very rudely kicked out at 5:00 am. The amazement of a wildly vivacious French girls’ athletic team, all in blue, and their coach, so incredibly early in the morning. Gary knew of a place to stay, but we took forever finding it, only to discover that all of Amsterdam was full. Houseboats in the canals; the extremely sad thousands of freaks at the Monument. Three hours later, in a phone booth (the green Superman phone booth in the grass), we located a private home in Haarlem that rented rooms, with a shower even. Finally there, a lovely sleep. (Later I would discover Corrie ten Boom, who helped save the lives of Jews during the Holocaust, grew up in this village of Haarlem.)

“Next morning, we asked about church, but they, having very little German, couldn’t help. The man of the house did drive us to the train, after an amazing breakfast with ham and cheese and little chocolate shavings to sprinkle on anything you liked. Then the Rijksmuseum. Calliopes, all over the city – now that’s one cause that ought to be supported.”

I’ll confess to the reader that from this point through August of 1972, my memory is not as accurate as the tales might seem to indicate. I made notes in the aforementioned red Travel Log, and I have used them to describe those amazing four months of travel.

Since I had spend all my money on the railpass, one might wonder how I managed to pay for anything else. Well, I gave up lunch. Pepperdine doled out ten dollars each week per student to cover our lunch meals. Rolls and jam and tea were provided for our breakfast at Moore Haus, little Brötchen fresh baked and delivered each morning to the house. (We would take the stale, leftover Brötchen with us on trips to increase our likelihood of survival.) Suppers were down the street from Moore Haus, beside the castle entrance, at a restaurant which had been contracted to supply our meals Monday through Thursday evenings. For lunch, we were on our own, but we had paid for full board and thus were given the ten dollar per week allowance. So I skipped lunch, and I traveled all over Europe on ten dollars a weekend.

The following weekend, Betty and I went to Paris with a couple of other girls, and had a wonderful time. Old hand Jana, from Texas, went straight away to another car to sleep, while I attracted another slimy Frenchman. After stumbling out of the train the next morning, we sought a W.C. only to find that we had to pay for the privilege of squatting over a tiled hole in the ground. And then pay extra for toilet paper. And then there was that huge dog doo in the street. The city was putting its worst foot forward.

But Paris was redeemed for me by my first cup of café au lait, and a visit to Notre Dame. They were having a funeral, so we wandered quietly around the back of the cathedral. I noticed, sadly, that Jeanne d’Arc had candles galore lit for her, but Jesus had only a couple. Then to the Louvre. There was Miss Mona behind her glass. There was Danny Jackson’s green Howe Bicycle poster (located at “8 Boulevard de Sebastopol”). There was a Charlie Chaplin exhibit. There were Bing cherries and abricots for supper.

Ted and Jane-Anne Thomas had recommended a Paris hotel for two dollars (seven francs) a night, and there we had a long sleep between clean sheets, interspersed with the maid peeking in at us. The Hotel du Commerce was at 14, Rue de la Montagne-Sainte-Genevieve-5e, a decrepit yellow building below street level at the Metro stop called Place Maubert.

As we checked in, I had a real culture shock moment, an instant of depression, as I observed a classic Frenchman with his classic wine bottle and his classic baguette and cheese, having his lunch on an oilcloth covered table in the room behind the front desk (the tiniest front desk in the world). I realized that his life must be so incredibly simple, so quiet compared to what I was used to in L.A., and I wondered whether I could make such an adjustment. Then my mood changed to hilarity, because the little hotel had all these sets of stairs going up and down and up and down again, and one set that apparently went nowhere. It was a bit scary, sitting down on the toilet in the tiny, two-story unlit Water Closet, imagining that a bat might swoop down any minute from high above you in the dark.

The next day, we discovered that the Champs Elyseé has the nicest public restroom! At the Tour Eiffel I sat and watched the birds, and the fountains made rainbows. I saved climbing the Eiffel Tower for my trip back to Paris later when Danny would be with me. We girls found the most lovely wood-paneled restaurant nearby, called Auberge de Chamonix, where we settled in for a four-hour-long, special and terrific lunch, with a most solicitous waiter. He had a white towel draped over his arm and couldn’t have been more attentive to four young women with no money. He brought us cheese fondue, then endless pots of tea, and for dessert, a huge bowl of chocolate mousse. I have the address of the restaurant, but when we looked for it on another trip it was closed, and then on another trip I couldn’t find it at all, so if you seek it out you’re taking your chances. It was at 17, Rue de Ponthieu-8e, off the Champs Elyseé, near the Arc de Triomphe.

It was so wonderful to at least hear Godspell again, even in French, that I left with such a high, even though we had horrible seats and had to lean into the ones ahead of us to see anything. When the Jesus character is saying goodbye to each of the disciples at the last supper, he gives each one their own personalized gesture, and I loved especially his touching fingertips with the girl who sings “Day by Day”, counting one (“To see thee more clearly…”), two (“Love thee more dearly…”), three (“Follow thee more nearly, day by day…”).

The next weekend trip was to Munich. This time the group consisted of Meredith Houts and Betty and me, and we were swarmed by millions of swarthy Turks. Three Canadian girls from the youth hostel hooked up with us for protection and we all went arm in arm to dinner. We counted a total of maybe ten other women on the streets. We had salad and yogurt at an all-male Turkish restaurant. Then on to that world-famous shrine of beer drinking, the Münchner Hofbräuhaus. A lady on the street actually took us there instead of just giving directions. One liter for DM2, and you had no choice but to buy it or leave. Everybody sat together at the tables on long benches, no American privacy here. Plenty of smoke, plenty of Brezeln. Two French guys attempted a pickup, and four of us were quite happy by the end of the evening, but Meredith and I shepherded the others back to the hostel.

Next day at the Alte Pinakothek, the Schatzkammer (jewel house), and the chiming of the Glockenspiel at 11:00 am in the rain. With mock ennui, we said, “Yeah, after Disneyland, what’s the big deal? It’s a clock, for heaven’s sake.” So much nice walking in the rain. Rainbows in all the oil puddles, just for me. This crazy hostel insisted we get up at 6:00 am. Among our many roommates was a nutty lady who claimed that she enjoyed fresh air but still complained about drafts.

Early up again and off to the Bahnhof to see Mad Ludwig’s castles. First the train and then a bus to Neuschwanstein (where Disney got the idea for Sleeping Beauty’s Castle). Once you arrive, then you still have a whole mountain to climb! It was rough going but gorgeous woods all around. Blue work shirts were drying on the line down in the village below, and I enjoyed the wafting scent of hemp from the freaks heading back down the mountain. (I always said, if you could just bottle that scent…)

Back on the train toward Munich and then a little green trolley-like train and then a boat across a lake to Herrenchiemsee. Mock ennui again, “When do we get to Tom Sawyer’s Island?” We had a picnic under the trees, with Brötchen und Honig, Käse und Äpfeln
[ii]. We had a view across the lake that reminded me of a misty Malibu. Then we took the long, romantic, intensely green walk through the forest to the castle itself. They were having a chamber orchestra concert in the Hall of Mirrors (patterned after that of Versailles) and the whole long room was entirely lit by candelabra. No electric lights. We got to stand and hear the concert.

When the concert was over, unbelievably, there was no connecting train to Munich, and I was totally out of money, so I headed back to Heidelberg as best I could by myself while the other girls went on traveling. From the train station, since I was broke, I walked all the way home to Moore Haus. It was 4:00 am, and the dawn was just breaking. A car full of guys slowed down to harass me but I kept on walking, though I felt shaky about it inside. That was the morning I discovered that Heidelberg was, on top of all its other glories, a paradise for winos. One can buy wine at any hour in vending machines on the streets of Heidelberg. I sang loudly as I walked,

“This world is not my home, I’m just a’ passing through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door, and I
Can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

“O Lord, You know I have no friend like You
If heaven’s not my home, then Lord what will I do?
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door, and I
Can’t feel at home in this world any more.”

The door to the boys’ floor was open and the main door to the house was locked, so I snuck into Russ DiNapoli’s empty room and went to sleep. Later when I heard people stirring, I crept out and went back into the house the right way.

The next Thursday night was a special dinner arranged by the school in a town outside Heidelberg called Ladenburg. We all went together on the train, and Herr Luft met us at the station and walked us over to Kastellweg where he and his wife Sabine lived. It was a really wonderful house, full of that German brocade and dark wood, with a great garden. They took such pride in their son Basti. Sabine told me an amazing story. She was my German teacher, and had a typically German lack of patience with my errors. Now she revealed, “You know, your father spoke German, but only somewhat. Instead of learning the proper article for each word, der, die or das, he would just say ‘Duh’.”

They offered us afternoon Küchen und Torten und Schlagsahne, Kaffee und Thee und Schokolade
[iii]. Then we took a historical walking tour through the town with Herbert in the lead. Herbert Luft was a young boy when my folks worked in post-War Germany, and I had known him at Pepperdine as a college student, so it was kind of funny to call him “Herr Luft”. But he certainly acted the part of a Herr Professor, with impressive German dignity.

There in Ladenburg I saw my favorite flower, the one that has followed me around the world. I called it periwinkle but later found out is actually named Lantana. As we walked through a cathedral, I commented inanely, “There’s just something about cathedrals, I wonder what it is,” and Herr Luft responded sharply, “They’re an expression of faith.” We had a wonderful dinner together at Zür Sackpfeife (The Bagpipes), and Frank Wiswell, who had been in the Heidelberg program with us in 1963, was there. He was working as a reporter for the Stars & Stripes and traveling for his job.

For our fourth time out of town, Betty was brave and decided to go to London with just me. We missed our first train, and spent the Channel crossing being very cold in the cafeteria on the ferry, drinking grainy coffee. A lady just behind us at Dover was humming “Hello, Young Lovers” (famously sung by another British woman, Deborah Kerr playing Mrs. Anna, in The King and I). After much being lost and many deliberations, we decided to stay at Albion House, at an exorbitant price of £3.50 each. It was rather depressing to our aesthetic sensibilities, as there were fourteen, count ‘em, fourteen different colors in our hotel room décor.

We went to an English speaking movie, and out of all the possibilities we had to pick the very heart-wrenching Fiddler on the Roof. The next day, we called Brother Channing, my London contact, from Victoria Station and then set out for the Tower. (“That’s a long way from anywhere,” we were encouragingly informed.) A very long walk past fish-packing houses, with crabs and such lying around in the streets; Coffeehouse Alley; terrific little dark streets and an isolated, inexplicable patch of confetti on the cobbles just for my delight.

We eventually gave up walking and took the Underground to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the Guard. The crowd was so thick we saw maybe five whole red coats, but we did hear some terrific bagpipes. We paid 50 p. for a bus tour of the city, went to Westminster Abbey, and Betty was satisfied. I discovered a plaque I loved near the floor that simply said O Rare! Ben Jonson. We stopped by Foyle’s Bookstore but they’d never heard of the book Herr Luft was seeking, and they had a terrible children’s department. We had a feast back in the miserable hotel room, with hilarious loose tea which refused to sink to the bottom of the lukewarm tap water in our cups.

I couldn’t afford a poster I wanted desperately, but I did find out how to buy it for later. In the Underground tunnels, there were signs everywhere, “Buskers and Street Musicians Shall be Prosecuted.” I loved it! Of course, occasionally a little group of musicians would gather directly under one of those signs to play with their guitar case open in front of them, collecting donations. One can order such a poster from the London Transport Poster Shop, Griffith House, 280 Old Marylebone Road, London N.W. 1.

Next morning after lots of tea and toast we took the under- and overground, trains and buses to Aylesbury, where Bobby Chappin, my cousin’s husband, met us. My cousin Suzanne saw us at church and told me, “You look just the same,” after the several years since we’ve seen each other. A couple named Trevor and Joyce drove us to the Chappins’ house, and one of their little boys in the back seat popped up chirping, “I’m called Jeremy!” in the most delightful accent.

We had lunch with some additional folks who had dropped in, including a Texas cynic who informed me that he was certain Golding’s world view was right, and I must not have understood him properly. We ate chop suey and gooseberry pie, and listened to Bach’s Greatest Hits on the stereo. They took us in the afternoon to see Baron Rothschild’s kitschy old palace, crammed so full of treasures that it looked more like a storehouse than a home. Then they loaned us $20, because we were totally broke, and sent us on our way back to Heidelberg.

We took a taxi back to the house and arrived just in time for supper at Burgfreiheit, then just time for clothes washing, no mail, and some sleep, and we left at 7:00 am the next morning on Blaubusse for Salzburg. After lots of bus-type sleeping, we arrived at the salt mines where we dressed in Dr. Zhivago costumes and sat on a tiny train and whisked through cold tunnels and down warm wooden slides which wore out the plastic heels on my boots, and then were taken on a terribly boring tour which was lots of fun. Then on to an actual hotel, and actual dinner, traveling luxuries to which we were not accustomed.

Next day we toured Salzburg, complete with cherries and fresh bread. We visited the Dom, with its cemetery full of tiny gardens planted for each grave. One man was buried with seven wives lined up beside him. We saw the actual gazebo from The Sound of Music. On to Vienna, we passed through town and stayed out in the country, at Jagdschloss Magdalenenhof, a former hunting lodge, in a little village named Stammersdorf. The Goynes showed us the beautiful carved headboard in their bedroom. Slightly hilarious but actual Gypsy musicians played while we ate oily Polish soup. The next day, to the Spanish Riding School, which I’ve been passionately opposed to since I was ten, worried about the horses being injured in training. (Not everything I learned from Walt Disney’s Sunday night TV show, The Wonderful World of Color, was a happy thing.)

That evening, I walked with Gary and John and Sally down a country road of lush green to a Weinstube, where we had Weiswein und Brezeln and a long, traumatic talk which I wished would end, concerning personality clashes between Gary and me, and not resolving anything for Gary, who revealed that night that he was a mean drunk. The next day, I found Danny Jackson’s Geistliche Chormusik by Schütz at a record store, but it was very expensive and I forewent it. Rosita provided my first exposure to Gustav Klimt when she discovered his museum in Vienna.

Next day at the Czechoslovakian border, we had to wait a long while until the guards decided not to make all the men cut off their beards. The guards were arguing that it was not acceptable that they didn’t look the same as in their passport photos. Finally we were allowed to enter the country, and all shopping had to be done in half an hour because the town we were in closed at noon. I had my first experience of hearing loudspeaker announcements and marching music on the street corners, shades of Big Brother in an oppressive Communist atmosphere.

In Prague, I found my favorite cathedral window yet, by far the strongest, brightest, deepest blues and reds I’d ever seen. Later, I was told that no one knows to this day how the artisans created those colors, and they’ve not been duplicated. Then, for the first time, I experienced getting kicked out of a church…chased out. The Goynes teased me, saying, “Did you see that children’s bookstore? No? Oh, it was terrific, it would have made your trip. Heh heh.”

Back in Heidelberg, we had a special Thursday night supper at the Kupfer Kanne, with all the girls in long dresses. Then on to Bier und Brezel, all us girls and Steve, who had promised me he’d buy me one. He did, later, at Seppl, where he shared with me the name of his favorite Schnapps, Stichpimpuliforcelorum (a combination of Kirsch and Schokolade). Then a Charlie Chaplin movie, “The Circus’, in German at the Fauler Pelz Filmtheater. So sad, as he sat on a box in the center ring after the circus had left. A crumpled star, and his famous walk away. Hearing Carly Simon sing “Anticipation” as we walked up the endless stairs (so much easier with a beer in you) and through the cool, heavy night air.

Dave Rice was a cute guy who liked Betty White and me, an attractive blond I would never have dared strike up a conversation with on the L.A. campus. Being in Heidelberg together broke down a lot of social barriers. He was an older student who was part of the group that summer and he invited me to come with him to visit John “J.J.” Scheifele at his dad’s house in Kaiserslautern. John’s dad was not in the military but worked as a civilian for them, and John was spending the summer with him. Dave had bought a beat-up, used VW bus, painted blue, and when he left Germany, seven of us bought it from him for a grand total of $500.

I knew John Scheifele from the year before on the L.A. campus. He had a Corvette, and he and Sara were messing around some, so he had met me through her. He took me out for my first drink (a gin and tonic in the bar at Du-Par’s where I had spent so many tense Wednesday nights with my folks). John’s was the first freshly shaven, great smelling male cheek offered for my approval.

The minute we walked into the house, from another room the question was called out, “What are you drinking?” before I had laid eyes on the man. John’s dad was most hospitable, generous with his alcohol and already busy cooking us a steak dinner. We started with a Tom Collins (I had always wanted to try one), and wine with dinner. Then John and Dave said, “Let’s go to the Officers’ Club.”

Cheap liquor was flowing so freely, I figured, why not try whatever I wanted to? I had a couple of White Russians (Kahlua and cream), a gin and tonic, and who knows what else. When we got home, we broke out a bottle of champagne. (Why do people usually say they “break out” a bottle of champagne, I wonder?) And with all that, I didn’t get drunk. I was feeling very quiet and a bit silly/fuzzy, but not drunk, not really. I figure if an evening like that didn’t do it, it may never happen. We listened to Bob Dylan singing “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” and a bunch more of the Concert for Bangladesh, a double album which I hadn’t heard before.

I learned a big lesson that night. Most of the folks at the officers’ club were dancing, but I had nervously, embarrassedly said something about not liking to dance or not wanting to, probably as a sideways permission for the guys to feel they didn’t have to ask me. (You know the sick old trick, reject yourself before somebody else has the chance to.) It wasn’t my true heart, and later on John said, “I would have asked you to dance, but you had said something about not wanting to.” I could have cried for regret. It would have been so much fun to play the lady to his gentleman that evening, and I robbed myself of it.

[i] Remember The United States of America: The Early Years? I could (still can) do whole songs and sketches from Stan Freberg’s comedy album which Chip and I used to perform on long car trips.
[ii] Bread and honey, cheese and apples.
[iii] Cakes and tarts, whipped cream and coffee, tea and hot chocolate.

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