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Over Here: 116 - Shared Songs

Ron Pataky recalls the days of shared songs.

I was what you might call a walker. I thought absolutely nothing of packing my imagination and taking off on a walk that might eventually last two or three hours. My goal might be Barbara Darling's house way off in the other school district.

I'd never said more than fifty words to Barbara, but it was reward enough if she ended up asking her mother if it was all
right to go out a meet "a friend" at the front fence, and joined me, with equal amounts of permission and watchfulness, for a minute or two of small talk. Then I'd walk jauntily back home, secure in the knowledge that life in my world, at least, was a bit of OK.

Meanwhile, I mooned over songs by Patti Page and the like. When a thing called, "With my Eyes Wide Open, I'm Dreaming" came out, that was it. Patti had given me a song for me 'n
Barbara. No matter that Barbara didn't know it. Hell, Patti didn't know it, either! But I knew it! And that was - apparently all that counted.

The thing was a catch, more or less - that my walk to Barbara's house took me directly past the set-back, up-on-a-hill abode of one Maryann Davidson, who actually went to my school, and on whom I could gaze virtually at will on a daily basis. Practicality being the siren song it is where true love is concerned, how could I have known, in advance, that Maryann's "availability" would ultimately transcend Barbara's whatever in the natural order of events? How indeed? Only later (I think) did I realize that the walk to Maryann's was, as well, a good bit shorter than the one to Barbara's, and the begonia, I think, was thereby potted.

Having made that decision (without, you understand, the knowledge of Barbara or Maryann!), I figured it would have been naked nonsense to waste a perfectly good love song. Accordingly, "With My Eyes Wide Open, I'm Dreaming" was transferred, as an "our song," from Barbara to Maryann, where it eventually, like the unwatered, pitifully ignored grape it had become, died flat dead on the gossamer vine. To this day, neither Barbara nor Maryann has ever known that I once shared a song with each of them; and to me, it's simply a case of "tough stuff, girls! Better luck next time."

(All during this period, incidentally, I'd have given every cent of my non-existent allowance for the merest whiff of Sandy Nichols's dampened gym shirt or whichever used item of
clothing she might have had available! Sandy was a gal, neither gorgeous nor stacked, who had a certain something I'd have described as sexy had I known what "sexy" meant at the time. Allure would be a good word today. But Sandy had two strikes against her - in the form of two goofy younger brothers who also happened to be Gordie's friends! Only if she'd knelt and absolutely begged me would I ever, for example, have kissed the older sister of a friend of Gordie's, let alone the older sister of two such friends! In any event, sharing an "our song" with a girl like Sandy was simply out of the question, given the sibling intricacies involved on both parts).

I might mention in passing that the day came when pin ball's lure no longer stood a mini-fart's wind-tunnel chance when pitted against the growing, actually smellable, siren-inity of
females of the species. I never played a pin-ball machine again. Not once!


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