Sunday, June 23, 2019

First date

A few days ago a long time friend and published author of some repute, Barbara Briggs Ward, posted on face book a story to commemorate icecream soda day.  Reading this sparked a memory from my distant past and I felt compelled to jot down that memory:

Ahh, Barb, thanks for the stroll down memory lane!  You missive compels me to relate a favorite memory, from the “Busy Corner,” of my own.  Dad was a frequent visitor and often let me tag along. While he commiserated with friends and relatives I would plop myself down on the floor in front of the magazine rack and devour the comic books there.
I, too, remember the aroma of cigars, and newsprint.  Dad told me once that Mr. Lynch and Mr. O’Donahue were relatives of our family; I think he referred to them as “touch hole” relatives 😂.  But I digress.

Only a few times in my life did I partake of ice cream sodas, but this one time is particularly poignant for me. It was the site of my first date with my first girlfriend.

The year was 1957.  I was 12 years old.  Judy Smith was the girl.  I doubt if anybody from the ‘Burg will remember her.  Her family moved here, to a little 4 trailer trailer park across from our home at 425 Oak St., because her dad worked for a company working to build the “Seaway.”   She only lived here for one year, but I was smitten from the first day we met.  Being a self-employed business man; two paper routes (Ogdensburg Journal an Syracuse Harold American) and I washed cars in my back yard. So I had money to burn in my pocket.

With trepidation and fear of rejection, I asked Judy if she’d like to go out on a date with me.  My heart kept with joy when, with a bright smile surrounded by her white blond hair and without hesitation, she nodded and said yes.

We went to the soda fountain that you have so eloquently described, at the “Busy Corner.”  We sat at one of those small round tables on the wrought iron chairs.  The waitress was super attentive and teased me about having a girl friend.  We ordered vanilla icecream with rootbeer sodas and grilled cheese sandwiches.

After our lunch we walked down the street to the Strand movie theater to see the matinee.  I’ve forgotten the movie, but remember that we sat in the balcony and I put my arm around her shoulders for the entire time.  My arm “fell asleep,” but I didn’t notice ‘til the movie was over.  We walked home afterward, holding hands.

Thanks for bringing this delicious memory to my consciousness Barb.


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