I shared the story of the very first time I ever saw Kim, my wife, in the Thunderbolts story (read me). That experience was very unusual and the memory that lives with me is very vivid. This is the story of the second time I ever saw Kim. We still did not know each other. Likely she didn’t even know my name yet….but I knew hers.
Terry Staton was my best friend in 7th to 9th grade but moved into a different high school district in the country right after 9th grade. During that summer though after 9th grade I ran into him again at the local skating rink one weekend, the Hamilton Round-Up. I learned to skate several years earlier when our next door neighbor taught me. The skating rink was a very popular hang out for kids of all ages and for us boys, getting a girl to skate with you during one of the special “couples skate” was our best chance at the possibility of getting a kiss or holding another sweaty palm.
On a very regular basis I would go skating on Friday or Saturday nights, sometimes both, with Terry or with others. Our big adventure each night was to check out all the girl skaters with the hope of getting one of them to make out with us over in the restaurant table section, (aka make-out area). Before you earned the right to a kiss though, you first had to get a girl to accept your invitation to a couples skate session.
The rink had a regular routine – one part of the night they would have boys and girls races. Another special part would be couples or waltz skating and yet another might be the part where the owner came out to sing Rockin’ Robin (oh yeah, we really looked forward to the monotone Rockin’ Robin). We all had favorite songs and there were some that would send every one into a faster skating frenzy, songs like Stevie Wonders’ Very Superstitious or Higher Ground. As soon as one of those would begin, we’d all step it up a notch. The guards would then slow us down so we didn’t accidentally take out an innocent 8 year old. If it was KC & The Sunshine Band, then of course we’d all break a disco twist into our circular skating path.
One night Terry had his sights on a new girl we’d not ever asked to skate or seen before at the rink. As with all future prospects, he was excited at the hope that this new girl would accept his skating invitation. He wanted to point her out to me. The rink was always crowded as it was a very popular place to be at in Hamilton, Ohio during the 70’s. We sat at one of the spectator benches, watching all the skaters go buzzing by when she began to come around the corner. He pointed her out and asked if I knew her. There she was – the girl he was pointing out was Kim Pike! It was the girl I had the freaky weird experience with a year ago over behind the YMCA.
Um, yes I know her…well, I don’t know her – I just know her name, it’s Kim Pike. She goes to Wilson. Sure enough, it was indeed the same Kim Pike. She appeared to be with another cute girl, maybe a little younger than she. So Terry informed me that he was going to go out and ask her to skate with him during the next couples’ skate. And so he made his way out to the rink while I waited on the sidelines.
He came back soon, a little flustered, and shared the tale with me that he asked this girl to skate with him, but she turned him down. Terry could be a charmer so it was not too frequent he got turned down. Me, I got turned down so many times that I could have been confused for an obnoxiously loud stereo. When I asked Terry what she said when he asked, he said that she told him “Jennifer was teaching me to waltz skate”. (Hmm, too bad, I thought). So Terry’s ego had been burst by the same little girl that gave me the wild sweats a year ago; turned down for another girl, no less!
Not wanting to go out gracefully, Terry decided that he wanted to try to get the upper hand by yelling “Lezzie” at this girl when they skated by us. Really? You sure you don’t want to just eat a coney dog while the skate’s going on? I’ll buy? You want to call her a Lezzie? Terry was my best friend. I have to support him right? Ok, so I agreed – when Kim Pike and Jennifer Howell skated by, we would both yell lezzie at the top of our voices…only I wasn’t going to.
It was always rather loud there at the rink with music, skates on wood and general shouts and loud conversation. At the proper moment when the girls skated by, sure enough, Terry yelled “LEZZIE”! Me? Yes, I yelled. I yelled “AAAAA! ” I didn’t feel right calling someone a lezzie and I didn’t have enough scruples yet to explain to Terry that anyone yelling lezzie to someone would only be a person without scruples, someone without moral senses (in other words, most ninth grade boys). Kim and Jennifer came around once more and a repeat performance – Terry “LEZZIE” and Me “AAAAA”! It was so loud there that we couldn’t even hear ourselves, let alone one of the skaters hearing us.
I was still a good year away from having my first real conversation with Kim. So far I had been confused by our initial ‘introduction’ and now I had yelled out a fake lesbian slur….oh yeah, this is destiny alright!
Stevie Wonder was so awesome in the 70’s that I just couldn’t leave you without a link to one of the awesome fast skating songs. Here he is in Higher Ground
Thanks to Ginger over at ginjuh.wordpress.com for suggesting this appropriately nostalgic piece: