The Power of Music – Diane was not a Green-Eyed Lady


Diane's Eyes were Brown

Diane’s Eyes were Brown

The other day I was listening to my car radio and heard Carole King’s song, “It’s Too Late”.  After it was over I kept wondering – where is Sugarloaf’s Green Eyed Lady?  All night I was mentally singing to myself It’s too Late which then got followed up in my mind by Green Eyed Lady.  So, I got to thinking about it and I realized that anytime I hear Carole’s song, I just automatically expect to hear the Sugarloaf song immediately afterwards.  Why was that?

I gave it some serious thought and came to the conclusion that it’s connected to a vivid childhood memory of love lost.  My summer girlfriend of 1971 when I was 13 was Diane Mathews.  In hindsight, Diane was my first ‘long-term relationship’.  Diane was a year older than I and attended St. Peters Catholic school, whereas I attended public schools.  She was cool and she was a good athlete.  She became the mold for my perfect woman, the one who I eventually fell in love with and married.

My city block had an amazing number of children.  In my baseball-playing-age-range there were about 30!  We lived a block away from St. Peters which was a Catholic church and school.  The larger Catholic families helped to explain the number of children, but not all of us were Catholic (or perhaps we were the founders of ‘Unplanned’ Parenthood).  My family, for example, was a Brady Bunch style family of 9 kids.  Within our age range though, almost all of us were boys.  The predominant number of girls was either older or younger.  Diane and Jo Ann were the exceptions, both being one year older than I.  Jo lived next door to me and Diane lived across the alley and down three houses.

This is probably more light than we had that night

This is probably more light than we had that night

Diane and my relationship began one night as a result of playing Spin the Bottle.  We were teenagers, we were all close to each other and we were curious about sex, each other and the world beyond The Alley.  Before our back porch became enclosed, we used to have an outdoor storage room attached to the house.  I don’t recall whose idea it was, but I think it was Jo Ann’s.  About 5 of us squished inside the storage room, complete with dust and spiders.  Three boys and two girls – Jo, Diane, Me, Tommy and Jeff are who I seem to remember.

We kept spinning the bottle until each of us had kissed each other a few times.  I remember Tommy was complaining because Diane was his sister and so he was feeling cheated because we each had two girls to kiss and he only had one.  It was funny because at some point I remember Diane telling him to stop whining and that he could kiss her.  We laughed at that, but they went ahead and kissed – just that once.  They both agreed that it felt too weird.  We all had a good chuckle over that.

What I remember most about that night was how well Diane and I felt kissing each other.  It was the first time in my life where I recall thinking – whoa!  So ‘this’ is what it’s like to really kiss a girl!  I was to have that same reaction the very first time I kissed Kim, (now my wife), several years later.  Both of those kisses are a great memory, but this story is about Diane.  After that night, Diane and I were an item, peas and carrots, sausage and eggs – we were together constantly that summer.

Spin the Bottle had occurred at the beginning of summer so our little summer fling was to last the entire duration.  It was a great summer, the best so far.  We played a lot of spin the bottle that summer, along with all the other games we always played.  I really liked spending time with Diane.  She had a good sense of humor, she laughed at all my stupid comments, she was a good baseball player, (not so good in basketball), and a great kisser.  We would play ball together in the park with the rest of The Alley and when it was all over, we’d hold hands during the walk down the alley back to our houses. No one teased us and no one complained.  I guess we considered it to be normal Alley Evolution.

Yup - she was dark, I was blonde

Yup – she was dark, I was blonde

Like a lot of girls, Diane had put on her height during her 13th and 14th years.  She was maybe 3 inches taller than I was that year but my being shorter didn’t seem to bother her.  One of our favorite activities was to sneak away to the inside of her garage where we would neck for minutes and minutes at a time.  We both must have enjoyed that because we sneaked away a lot!  (And ok, the time her mom drove into the opened garage and caught us sucking face was not so fun).  We gave each other our very first hickeys (not in front of her mom though).  Putting a hickey on someone is easy and fun.  Taking them off is not so easy so if you find yourself in need of hickey removal, here is the Wikihow link (note I recommend jumping to option 6 – just wear a turtleneck):

How to Remove a Hickey

We were both too young for anything much more serious than love bites – I never attempted to steal home and wouldn’t have even known how to steal home at the time.  I was definitely making notes though as I rounded a few bases.  I distinctly remember thinking to myself – this is the kind of girl that I would like to marry one day.  I wanted to be with a girl (woman) who liked sports.  I really wanted to avoid divorce, to stay married forever, and I thought it would be a good idea to be with someone who I could actually “play together with”.  Maybe playing together would help us have fun with each other?  Besides, how much fun would it be to be married to someone you could play ball with during the day and then give love bites to at night! (I wonder if gays have this exact same thought?)

Funny comic diversion from Trailer Park Boys – Ricky ‘maybe I’m gay’

I was only 13 but my parents had gone through a divorce and even then, staying married and not putting my kids through a divorce was going to be a very, very important life goal for me.  I can honestly say today that Diane Mathews established the mold for me of the type of girl I wanted to have – and I did later find that very type of girl!

When school started in the Fall, Diane went back to St. Pete’s Catholic school and I to the public junior high, (Wilson Jr. HS).  She was in 8th grade and I in 7th.  Soon, Diane started ‘liking’ someone at St. Pete’s and had to deliver the bad news to me that she was breaking up with me. Teenage breakups are so devastating that I can still remember the guy’s name, (Gary Davish), yet I never even ever met him.

I can still vividly remember a bunch of us kids hanging out in our backyard the day Diane delivered the crushing blow to me.  We had the radio on as we were all sitting on our back porch.  The song that had come on was Carole King’s ‘It’s too Late’ which then was immediately followed by Sugarloaf’s Green Eyed Lady without a commercial break.  I am extremely grateful she did not happen to choose the summer hit of the following year – Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road.  I much rather enjoy remembering Diane to Carole than a dead skunk (although now as I type I am wondering what thought will cross my mind each time I see a dead critter on the highway).

He didn't see the station wagon car

He didn’t see the station wagon car

I was hurt.  I really loved Diane and didn’t want us to be over – I missed her for a very long time.  Diane was the first little girl I had said I love you to.  I hadn’t realized it until now as I was writing this story, but I did not say I love you again to another girl until I dated Kim at the age of 16, (Kim is my wife).

This is not a sad or bittersweet story, but a happy one, one I am very happy to write about.  1971 was a great summer for me.  It was my thirteenth year and was a very impressionable one for me in many ways.  Most important for me that year was that I learned what type of girl I wanted to be with.  I wanted to be with someone who generated heat when we kissed.  I wanted to be with someone I could play catch with, someone who not only laughed at my jokes but made me laugh too.  Diane was all of these things for me; she established the standard I wanted a wife to fill.  How many people get to learn what type of person they want to spend eternity with when they’re only 13?  For those of you reading this and are showing interest in these ‘growing up’ stories – yes, there will be a number of Kim stories eventually hitting the blog press.

They really should put these two songs together in Youtube!

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26 comments on “The Power of Music – Diane was not a Green-Eyed Lady

  1. Lori Konrad says:

    Diane is my next door neighbor – thanks for the visual. Now every time I see her…………….

    • rlwyattcali says:

      She’d probably like reading this. I had shared a draft with Bees (Chris) earlier but the final version is better. Tell her she can sleep at night knowing that some things will go the grave. 😉

  2. The Waiting says:

    Ah, spin the bottle. I feel like that’s one of those games that will never be replaced even as kids grow up in a digital age. That moment when that bottle spins round and round is one of the most deliciously stressful times I can remember from my own adolescence.

  3. Shannon says:

    Can’t wait for the Kim stories! How amazing it is how music really can be the soundtrack of our lives. And you earn bonus points for the great picture of Davy Jones (channeling Bobby Sherman) with the taller, brunette babe 🙂

    • rlwyattcali says:

      Ah….finally – that story has had a lot of reads for me, but you win the booby, (or Bobby), prize for pointing out the Davy Jones pic….super bonus points for even knowing who Bobby Sherman is! 🙂

  4. Darn! Shannon beat me to the prize! I knew immediately what that picture was. That’s a great episode. But I would expect Shannon to get that, since she’s my Monkee buddy 🙂 My boys are certainly getting their mentions in this week’s blog hop!

    Such a sweet story this is. I never had a young relationship like this, but I totally got a “Wonder Years” vibe reading this. And Carole King is the bomb. I love her.

    • rlwyattcali says:

      OMG – I LOVED Wonder Years!!! And yes, I’m not afraid to admit that I’m a weenie and I cried at the final two episodes. I’ll give you credit Kelly for picking up on the Wonder Years vibe. I’m trying to model my stories as a combination of Wonder Years narrative combined with a hint of Christmas Story. My wife’s probably learning a thing or two as she’s following my blog. I am working my way through my relationships before writing my very first story about her. I have one more written in Draft that is poignant and I’m really proud of, dying to hit the ‘publish’ key on but it will be several weeks yet as I’m spacing them out. (and yes, I need your acceptance….I’m a blogger….., so I’m hoping I have you in anticipation now) 🙂

      • Definitely. You have succeeded with the Wonder Years vibe. Didn’t you already write a story about dancing with your wife? I seem to recall that being really cute. I look forward to more stories, and I’m sure she will love being idolized on the internet.

      • rlwyattcali says:

        ‘Almost’….dancing was with my first official “steady”. No wife stories yet. First one will be the very first time I saw her.

  5. ginjuh says:

    I learned what kind of a spouse I *didn’t* want through the boyfriends I had at 13. Either way – useful stuff.

  6. […] other two cohorts besides Joe and myself, but I believe it was Rick Law and Rich Mathews (Rich was Diane’s (read me) little brother).  We had just made a Frisch’s run for a Big Boy and hot fudge cake […]

  7. […] as it was my idea.  The additional culprits in this caper, (if I recall correctly), were Tom & Diane Mathews (read me).  There might have been a fourth involved, but I just can’t place […]

  8. […] date without their parent in the front seat.  As fate would have it,  I would say I love you to Diane (read me) and then not again until I met the girl who would later become my […]

  9. […] girls’ softball attire, complete with ball cap and tube socks.  After learning what type of girl I really liked, (read me), how could I not be smitten by this little brown squirt with the baseball glove who was […]

  10. […] west side of Hamilton together, every nook and cranny.  We played baseball together, we shared our first kisses with each other, we argued, we made up….and we grew […]

  11. […] and they’re drawn to each other by instinct? It’s sort of like that. So it was that my first long term girlfriend, Diane (read me), knew that I was smoking when we saw each other one day in our alley. She and I would […]

  12. […] teaching me how to hold and throw a slider.  It was hoping to play on the same team that day as my first love, Diane (read me).  It was Randy showing off his talented knuckle ball and it was ground rule doubles in a […]

  13. […] who liked me seemed to also like that I could make them laugh.  I became afraid to say I love you after losing Diane (read me).  The time frame coincided with the time early in puberty, I assume, and it continued […]

  14. […] promise, this is not another story about a childhood sweetheart named Diane (read me).  I am a retiree.  It seems surreal to even speak.  Being retired from anything just […]

  15. […] was 13 that year, Diane and I were summer lovers (link).  It was a great summer.  We all had summer passes to the local community swimming hole, […]

  16. […] in the summer before entering the 7th grade with my girlfriend Diane. (Diane was written about in this story). The educational topic of hickeys had come up one day in one of our small alley friendship […]

  17. […] several occasions and in fact, I believe I spelled out that the mold was set for me in this story (link).  To that end, we had played coed softball together for several years.  In ’97 we were […]

  18. […] After breaking my leg, I was told “no more running sports, Rob”.  If you’ve been a long time reader, then you’ve probably picked up on my thoughts regarding the importance of common activities and sports, especially in a relationship.  (If not, here’s a sample story – link). […]

  19. […] when he writes his lyrics.  Dylan takes me to the basement of Mathews house where Diane (link) and Tommy would play records belonging to an older sibling (I think the Dylan collection belonged […]

  20. […] the time we had a run in with Cujo (link) and of course there was my young teen heartthrob Diane (link).  Bees was just a ‘baby’ to us older kids but she had plenty of other girls in the […]

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