Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Before There Was 'Social Media'

I was reading the Sunday, August 7 entry in my 1960 diary yesterday afternoon and was stumped by one of the things I had written: "Went over to Stanton to Lake Viking this afternoon. Dad, Leslie and I went swimming. Went through Villisca and down to the swinging car bridge. Didn't drive across, though. Came home on Guss Road (J20) then north. Only 1/2 mile from Johnson's. Made me furious!" That's the line that I didn't understand. There were at least three families named Johnson in the area. I wondered which one I was referring to?

The summer of '60 I was 16. I would start my senior year of high school and turn 17 in the fall. My steady boyfriend had graduated high school in May and left for his six month National Guard training the second of July. I missed him and I missed having someone to go to the movies with, etc. I did go along with his brothers and their girlfriends a few times, but I felt like a fifth wheel. I did a lot of running around with my girlfriends and some flirting with the guy friends of some of their boyfriends.

I looked back a few pages in my diary and there it was, the reason I was furious about being a half mile from Johnson's. "I had a date with Denny Johnson from Mt. Ayr tonite. He had his green '50 Ford. Went to the show, "Cole Younger, Gunfighter."

So, it really wasn't Johnson's I was mad about not driving past, it was George's. His mom had remarried and she, Denny's two younger brothers, and the step-father had moved to our neighborhood. Mrs. George (I can't even recall her first name now, though, because we were raised to respect our elders, I probably called her Mrs. George anyway.) and I got acquainted at church, bible school and youth group activities. She told me she had an older son, one my age, who had stayed in Mt. Ayr with his grandparents so he could finish high school there. He would be coming to visit them during the summer, would I like to meet him? She even told me he had a steady girlfriend, but I got the impression she wasn't too fond of her and was hoping they would break up.
Well, even though I had written in my diary, "He was very nice." There were no sparks. I wasn't going to be the one to break up him and his girlfriend regardless of his mom's hopes. But apparently I wanted to drive by their house on the chance I might see him and was 'furious' that Dad hadn't gone that way.

Mom and Dad weren't too happy with me for accepting a date with another boy when I had kept Kenny's class ring when he left for guard training. Even though they would have preferred that I hadn't tied myself down to one beau at my age, they also believed that I should be true to him. What they didn't know was that Kenny and I had talked about it before he left and he said it was okay for me to date others while he was gone as long as I took off his ring and also told him about it.

I had written in my diary after my date with Denny that I would tell Kenny, but not until he got home and I could tell him in person.

One of my classmates saw me with Denny at the show. The next morning I had phone calls from two girl friends wanting to know who I had been with and what was going on?

A week or so later I got a letter from Kenny telling me he had heard I was going out with someone else. So much for my not telling him - even then, in the age of snail mail, before instant messaging, texting, face book, instagram, and all the other methods of communication available now - someone couldn't wait to send Kenny a letter and tell on me, hoping to cause a problem between us.

I'm still very glad I grew up in the 50's and 60's though. The peer pressure was bad enough then, but nothing like it is now. I wonder if I could have even handled the crap my grandchildren have gone through?

Me, age 17.

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