My hell-raising high school years were a thing of personal adolescent legend, though like most youthful behavior the stories were far bigger than reality. At base, my reckless image was a harmless projection I used to cover my innate shyness and lack of confidence. Regardless, my teenage female classmates loved to play in my jalopy’s backseat for reasons common to many girls of that age. Those who participated quickly passed their exaggerated tales on to their younger sisters. A few of these younger budding adolescents – three or more years my junior – further embellished the lurid stories they’d heard from their elder siblings. The result was a simmering, estrogen-laced, gossip pool that fed on itself. My reputation as a love-’em-and-leave-’em wild child was therefore still alive by the time the younger girls reached college age. But by 1961 I was at least trying to steer a course that was more mature. My years as a bad boy were in the past, I figured, or so I naively believed.
The year 1961 – a long time ago to most – was pivotal in my life. I’d put myself through two years of college, had developed a social conscience in keeping with young President Kennedy’s dictum, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but…,” and I was approaching the future with starry-eyed enthusiasm. I also approached it with no money.
So, I dropped out of college and worked two shifts a day as a pharmacy clerk and delivery boy for several months. At the end of that time I had a sufficient bankroll to go to Europe to enhance my education…something many of my more fortunate friends were able to do with the aid of their parents. My way – and that of my traveling buddy, Bill – was to travel on the cheap. At the time we were guided by a paperback guidebook that explained how to tour the Continent on five dollars a day.
A couple of months before leaving our west coast hometown with packs on our backs – and our thumbs in the air to hitchhike to New York for ship passage to England – we bid adieu to our friends through a succession of parties. One such gathering was around Easter, where I happened across a high school acquaintance. Her name was Allison, a bright girl whom I’d respected, but who would probably never win a beauty contest, and to whom I’d responded only in a Platonic way when her eyes had twinkled at me while we’d been classmates in high school. In 1961 she was attending an east coast women’s college and had returned home with another girl whose parents were traveling, to stay for a week – what now is called “Spring Break.” While the parents were away, of course, the girls threw a wild party.
Before the night was over, I’d grappled with the moaning, half-drunk Allison and – at the end of a dark hallway – we’d rutted joyfully atop a wrought-iron table capped with travertine marble. Her reputation had always been that of a good sport – and she was, I was convinced when I left the party – since the frigid temperature of the stone tabletop couldn’t have been very comfortable against the warm, silky skin of her soft, fleshy, bottom as we’d coupled like rabbits. She’d really put her heart into it, as well as her ass. I remember also that at some time during the evening she’d said that her younger sister, Melinda, or “Lindy,” would be studying in France for the next year, and that I should look her up. I’d seen Lindy once at an overnight slumber party given by my younger sister and had been very impressed by her cuteness and high energy. I also knew of her reputation of being much more a party girl than her elder sister. Of course our social paths never crossed. High school girls were off limits to mature college guys – which I considered myself – so I’d never pursued her.