As for teenage romance in my senior year at East High, the best opportunity for something special presented itself in September of 1963. An opportunity which I — being at the time a complete idiot and fool — totally wasted.
In the autumn of that year there was a girl who started working in the office (that is to say the front end or customer service part) of Aurora Cleaners, where I still toiled part-time, sorting and making up hangers, cleaning up after hours, and performing other such chores.
This new employee was my age, a senior at West High, and pretty, intelligent, sweet, and generally, as I saw her, a dream come true. After a short period of time — in which I took advantage of every excuse, real or imagined, to “go up front” and possibly talk with this girl – I mustered my courage and asked her out for a date; and she accepted.
We went to the Sandwich Fair, which I have always liked for its autumnal theme. We strolled about doing Sandwich Fair things. We looked at animals, both familiar and strange. I tried to win a bear (I did not). We drank hot spiced cider, and rode the Tilt-O-Whirl, and all in all had a rather nice time.. Because the air was a bit nippy, we wore light jackets, and she wore a scarf; which she absentmindedly left in my car at the end of the evening.
Soon after, on a day when my recent date was not working, the ladies of the front office – all friends of my mother and my aunts – surrounded me and were questioning me closely about my date. When I mentioned the scarf, a wave of satisfaction rippled through the group. They began to chatter excitingly, saying that this was a tactic. That she wanted to see me again, and this was her way to ensure that I would call. The ladies were pleased. It was at just this point however, when my being an idiot assumed control.
Rather than taking advantage of these invaluable allies, I instead somehow resented the involvement and vowed to myself that they weren’t going to orchestrate me into some workplace romance, just for their own entertainment. The next day, I brought the scarf in and gave it to one of the ladies, asking her to please return it for me. And that was that!
I say again, for it certainly bears repeating, I sometimes was, and hope I not too often am, a complete fool.