45 and Counting
1965. A year like 2010 in one way–New Year’s Day fell on Friday. Hence, I returned to Forney Hall on the University of Idaho campus Sunday afternoon, January 3rd, in preparation for classes Monday morning. Little did I suspect that a phone call that evening would change the course of my life.
I lived with roommates in suites on the third (and topmost) floor of the dorm. We had a bathroom with showers and toilets at our end of the corridor. The girls at the far end had a bath tub which we shared. The only phone for some 40 of us occupied a small booth at their end. A chalk board on the wall held messages which we checked often. (MCWCB remains forever ingrained in my mind…man called, will call back.)
So it was that a girl from the far end of the hall knocked on my room door that Sunday evening and announced, “Man calling.”
“Hello,” I spoke into the receiver.
“Hello,” a male voice rejoined. It was the redhead asking me to go to the movies Friday night!
“Sure,” I replied, smitten! So much for resolutions!
Now Forney Hall had scheduled a dance for Saturday night. My roomies, upon hearing the news, suggested I call him back and see if he would switch to Saturday. At this point I sought counsel from our resident assistant–a Junior named Suzie who had actually gone out once with the redhead! She instructed me to call him and ask. His answer? Affirmative!
Unbeknownst to me, the redhead already had a date for Saturday night! I don’t know if the free steak dinner that came with the dance invitation swayed him or not. But he said “yes” to me–then called and switched nights with her.
Saturday, Jan. 9, 1965 arrived. I wore my best dress–a brown A-line with a slightly scooped neckline, flared skirt and black trim–handed down to me from my Aunt! The color gurus would have rolled over and played dead at me in brown.
The redheaded choir singer, fully taken with the steak dinner and oblivious to my color faux pas, continued to ask me out as the winter waned. Then one lovely spring day as I started walking home from church, he strode up beside me and inquired, “Are you walking home alone?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“You’re not anymore,” he said.
Forty-five years later, the redhead is silver, the brown dress a trim-waisted memory. But each year we smile and celebrate the anniversary of our first date, January 9, 1965.
I think I’ll take out steak for dinner. And tomorrow, we’ll drive home from church together.