It’s 6PM and still warm outside. I’m getting ready to go out with Donnie. I guess you could call it a date. I told my mom I was going to the movies with Tracy and that it lets out at 10:30pm. I have all bases covered. I’m wearing Levi’s 501s, worn out in strategic places, a top that shows an inch of my tan, and my favorite tiger’s eye necklace. It’s not too sexy, but it makes me feel grown up. I carry a small brush in my pocket and a Bonne Bell cherry lip gloss. It’s sticky but it adds to my grown up look.
We make the trek across town to Desilu. I am pretty excited. I have never been to this back lot before. Donnie has brought a knapsack this time. I am so curious about what’s inside. The best entrance is from the creek. Donnie informs me there are attack dogs inside… so be extra quiet at all times. This makes my legs a little wobbly.
Donnie shows me where Gomer Pyle’s barracks are. It’s located next to where the Hogan’s Heroes set was. We climb up a ladder inside one of the guard towers. “What’s in the knapsack?” I ask. “Not yet,” he replies, like he’s got a very specific plan… “hold your horses.”
We continue to explore. The sun doesn’t set until after 8:00 on these summer nights, but it is getting dark now… like some colossal reminder that time is ticking. Donnie opens the doors to what looks like a barn, and says “Voila!” I stand in shock. It is an exact replica of a setting that I told him about. I had been reading a love story novel and told him about a chapter that I found to be particularly romantic. It seemed he was only barely listening, as I was describing this tale. “Silly girl stuff,” he grumbled. Well, he listened all right…
Just last semester, my teacher allowed me to read this romance novel for book report credit if I verbally summarized each chapter to him (to prove I was actually reading). He found it thoroughly titillating. I got an A. Both of my sisters also burned through this novel after I was finished with it. Hot, hot stuff.
I am overwhelmed. Down to the last detail. A barn, a pile of hay, well you get the picture. How incredibly romantic… How thought out and sweet. All this for me? But, my wave of giddiness is now being replaced with the feeling that I am walking straight into a lion’s den. Legs wobbly again.
So, now, what is in the knapsack? A small blanket, two lukewarm cans of Bud tall beers, that he swears will not be noticed missing from his dad’s collection, a flashlight, and the newest issue of Mad magazine (our favorite). The beer is strangely delicious. There is plenty of moonlight outside, but not enough to read the magazine. We are reading by flashlight. We put the blanket over our heads so that no guards, who may happen by, can see the light. There’s nothing more romantic than reading Spy vs. Spy by flashlight. Donnie turns the flashlight out. We are doing our best to kiss like they do in the movies. We are really, really getting the hang of it. Our chemistry is dangerous and it’s hard to control. This complicates things, I think. I remind Donnie of my strict curfew. We still have to trek across town to make it home by 10:30. “Wake up little Susie!”
Donnie says he needs a minute to cool down before we run across town. Secretly, I do too. Whoa Nelly! At my front steps we usually share an awkward good night kiss, but tonight our kiss conjures up all the naughty feelings inside us, all over again. He pulls the last strands of hay from my hair.
Tonight, I will revel in a romantic memory. Tomorrow, I will do my best to steer clear of the barn.