Archived Story

Write Again … A summertime coming of age

Published 9:39pm Monday, October 15, 2012

For my generation the 1950s were the sweet years. And in the early and mid-1950s Bayview was the place to be on Friday or Saturday nights in the summertime. Oh, yes.
The generation prior to mine also knew Bayview as quite the place to be in the summer. Tragically, fire wiped out the “grand” hotel.
August 1954 was my “coming of age,” so to speak. I had just begun my first year of summer practice with the Pam Pack varsity football team. I was a sophomore.
I experienced my first kiss (no, not on the football team) that summer at Bayview. That led to my first full-blown case of puppy love. And … that led to my first heartbreak not quite a year later. I bore my grief stoically and very privately. Ah. Such memories.
Now, the labels “machismo” and “macho” weren’t known in the South then. I like to think I’ve never aspired to being either.
The label “wimp” wasn’t used then either. But … had it been, we Washington boys would have definitely applied it to some — to many, it seemed — of the Greenville boys who were regulars on the Bayview scene.
They all seemed to dress pretty much alike. They definitely weren’t into the athletic world. They — some, at least — even talked, well, not like we did. It seemed a bit androgynous. Their demeanor and attire and manner of speaking. Wimpish, if you will.
And … worst of all, inexplicably (to us), the girls — the local girls — seemed to like them.
Sure, they seemed more at ease on the dance floor — doing the “bop” — than we Washington fellows. Well, not all of us, but certainly “cooler” than most of us “jocks.” It was simply a terrible situation.
Oh,  the Pam Pack always — always — beat the Greenville Phantoms in football. Why, there was a 21-year span when Washington won 19 games and two ended in ties.
Somehow, I don’t think those “cool cats” from Greenville were much interested in who beat whom in such a primitive endeavor as football.
So. That was a long time ago. Most of those memories are sweet ones. Especially my first experience of an affair of the heart.
I’ve matured (grown old) since those times. In many ways.
Shoot. I don’t even dislike those interlopers from Greenville anymore.

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