Senior year of high school 1968–69. Finally, I was reaching the end of school. I hated school, so many dull, uninteresting subjects. As my books slid into my locker on the first day, I noticed someone next to me doing the same. My heart skipped a beat when I saw her. Cute, medium-length pure blonde hair. I had to know this girl! I said, “Hello, I’m Marc.’ She smiled and said, “Hello, I’m Vicki.” That was the first step to climbing over the “Great Wall of Rejection.”
“Would you like to go out with me?” My heart was pounding as I asked her. If she rejected my request, the devastation to my ego would send my self-confidence down a deep well. “Yes, I would like that…but I can’t right now. I’m on restriction.” Self-confidence was preserved. It took several weeks before she was free to accept my offer. We did the typical 17-year-old first date, a since-forgotten movie. Afterward, coffee (or coke, or something) and a lot of talk-talk. I Had her home by 11:00 (significant points with the parents).
We became very close friends, going out frequently. I graduated high school in June of ’69 and headed off to college, so our times together became sporadic. One hot day in May of 1970, Vicki called me to see what I was doing. I told her I was just about to wash my car. She asked if she could help (stay tuned for the ulterior motive). When we were almost finished drying the car, she said, “Can I ask you a question and promise not to laugh?” “Of course!” I replied. She went into shy mode, then popped the question (not that question!), “Will you take me to my senior prom?” I smiled and replied, “It would be my honor.” Hugs pursued. She was …ok, WE were thrilled!
As we entered the ballroom, someone announced our arrival. I noticed everyone turned to see us. At that time, I was a minor local celebrity because I was working on-air at KDFM, our small-town radio station. We didn’t dance very much, mostly just chatted with friends. Years later, I was certified as the “World’s Worst Dancer” by a professional. I wear the title proudly. The next day everyone went to the beach at Santa Cruz. The day wore on, and we headed for the car, but I grabbed her from behind, and we fell to the sand, quietly holding each other. Her family was moving to Texas the next day, and I whispered, “I don’t want you to leave.” She responded, “I don’t want to go.”
We both thought of each other throughout the following years, and one time I flew to Dallas to spend a few days with her family. Her father picked me up at the airport. Vicki sat in the front passenger seat, I was in the back, and we held hands on the way to their home. After that, we lost touch as we both established our lives…Vicki as a Nurse, me as a Television Cameraman. Keep in mind, this was the 1970s; there was no Internet…no email. I often searched for her online once the nineties gave us access to the world wide web. And I found out later that she also searched for me.
Finally, on January 26, 2022, an email appeared in my inbox with her name as the sender!
“Hey Marc, hope you are well. You took me to my senior prom in 1970. I hope you remember me. You have had a fascinating life, and I would like to hear more from you.”
The fifty-year gap was about to be shortened. Since that email, we have talked for hours on the phone, several times a week, just like when we were 17 and 18. We used to talk about music, movies, and the future. Now we talk about aches, pains, kids, and grandkids. Don’t laugh; you’ll be doing it eventually. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that we’ll get to meet since we live half a world apart. Travel issues during Covid make it difficult, but I won’t give up hope. I want one last dance to take us back fifty years.
Each call doesn’t just end with ‘goodbye’; it ends with “I love you.”