My First Date

I tend not to use daily writing prompts, as many of them I find silly or just stupid. However, every once in a while, one will come in the email that makes me go “I haven’t written about that” or “That might be fun to write about.” Today, the prompt was “Do you remember your first date?”

My first date happened when I was a sophomore. It was the first year that I was in marching band. I wasn’t the one who asked, it was actually a girl who asked me out! A senior!! This, in itself, was pretty mind blowing to me, but it didn’t blow my mind at first … because I thought she was joking!!

Let me say that I never went to dances in junior high school. I suppose if I had a steady girlfriend, I may have went to a dance, but I didn’t.

In high school we had two bands. One was the varsity band, which was made up of all freshman (there were a lot of us) and we all knew each other from being in junior high band. By the time I got to concert band in 10th grade, there were plenty of upper classmen that I hadn’t met yet. I met many of them for the first time when we gathered for Band Camp in August.

Homecoming always happened in October, and I guess it was sometime in late September that I was in the band room after class and one of the French Horn players walked by me and said “So, Keith, you’re taking me to Homecoming, right?!” I remember answering “Oh, sure” or something like that. I kinda blew it off and kept walking. Who in the world would want to go to a dance with me??!!

If memory serves me correctly, she asked me one or two more times after that and I again, chuckled, said yes in a joking way and blew it off. She must have figured out that I didn’t know she was serious and the other French Horn player came over to me one day and said, “You do know that she is 100% serious, right?!” THAT blew my mind!

I could not even imagine that anyone would want to go to a dance with me. Hell, I had never danced with a girl before in my life! My mind was racing with all kinds of things. “What do I do on a first date?” “What do I wear to a dance?” “What if I can’t dance?” You know, typical high school questions….

Once I was told she was serious, I think I asked her – just to be sure! She laughed at me and said, “If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t have asked you!” So now I have a date! I came home and told my folks. I remember my dad saying I needed to wear a nice tie. He had to tie it, because I certainly had no idea how to tie one! My mom said I needed to get a corsage (“What is a corsage?”) for her. I think they thought it was cool that I was going to be going out ….. on a date …… with a girl!

I didn’t have a car, so I am sure we went with a friend. They picked me up at my house and my date was already in the car. I remember my folks with their camera, snapping pictures (which have been lost somewhere, sadly). Once we were able to break away from the paparazzi, we were off to the dance. I remember walking in and feeling out of place, but my date quickly made me feel better by making jokes and making me laugh.

My first dance? I don’t remember much about it, as I was kind of spaced out. I sort of remember the slow song (probably a Madonna song) starting and my date asking me to dance. I told her I had never danced before and she pulled me out anyway. Butterflies?! Boy, did I have butterflies!!!! So there I was, both hands on her back, swaying back and forth to the song. I remember later dancing to another slow song and her laying her head on my shoulder. More butterflies.

You’d think I would have a better recollection of such a big moment in a teen’s life. I wish I did. Outside of those two dances, the rest of the dance is kind of a blur to me. For what it is worth, it has been over 30 years since my first date. What I DO remember about that night is actually very embarrassing.

Our Homecoming happened all in one day. We were up early to be at the Pancake Breakfast. Then we headed to the band room to prepare for the Homecoming parade at 9 or 10. After that we got an hour break to eat lunch and then head to the football game. Kickoff was like 1pm or so. We were there early for the pregame show and then stayed through the whole game, which ended about 4 or 5. The dance would follow that evening in the gym at 8. So it was a long day.

After the dance, my date and I went with the others who drove us to Chi-Chi’s. This would be a very popular “after dance” or “after concert” place to eat. The dance had probably ended at about 11pm and then we all went out to dinner. I was usually in bed by 10pm. So here we are at dinner and I am literally fighting to keep my eyes open. I know I probably put my head down at some point. I was a light weight. I couldn’t hang with the big boys and girls! I probably dozed in the car on the way home, too. It was pretty embarrassing. I know the others got quite a laugh. I was a terrible date for her.

I’m sure one of the others may read this and correct any misinformation or add to the story, but this is what I remember. It must not have been THAT bad, as I remain friends with her to this day.

Voices of the Past

This weekend, I DJ’d homecoming dance.  For high schools, all my new music is on a hard drive and I play it from the computer.  When I do weddings or parties, I still bring some CDs.  Recently, I have been going through boxes of CDs in hopes of putting what I don’t have on my hard drive, on the drive.

While most of my CDs are professional ones containing albums and music, I have some homemade CDs of things that I have burned to CD from various places I have worked.  I found 2 CDs marked “B95 Stuff” and “More B95 Stuff” in a box and took them with me to listen to in the car.  I was unsure if these CDs were data or audio CDs.  When I popped them in the CD player, I was happy to find they contained audio clips.

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Most of the audio was phone calls from listeners.  I used to do an “impossible question” every day for prizes and there were many phoners of listeners guessing the answer.  One of my favorite calls was on the first disc.  A woman caller simply asked, “Yes, is the answer poop?  Going poop!?”  Like the word poop wasn’t enough … she had to explain “going poop”!  There were also many requests, as I did a request lunch show.

I also found some interviews with Mary Chapin Carpenter, Tim Rushlow from Little Texas, and Terri Clark.  Some of the phoners were just silly things, I used to have listeners say things like “Keith Allen?  They let him out on parole?” or “I love every thing about this station, but Keith Allen!” or “Keith Allen?  Turn that radio off!”  There were a couple calls that took me by surprise.

Call #1

The first one was hearing a call with my friend, Marie.  If you read my previous blog, Marie was my friend who just passed away last week.

That blog is here: https://nostalgicitalian.com/2019/09/21/time-life-death-ripples/

There were actually 2 calls from her on that disc.  One of them she wins a contest I was doing, and another she called to talk about watching Trace Adkins rear end when he was in concert.  (There were other females who called to talk about his butt, as well.)

She was one of those friends who would do anything for you.  When my oldest son was born, she had this beautiful blanket made with his name on it and also had a small photo album made with an engraved nameplate.  When my youngest was born, she bought him one of my favorite outfits.  I spoke with her just a few days before she passed and she was asking what we needed for the baby.  She was always doing things for her friends.  While it was nice to hear us joking around about Trace’s butt on the CD, it was sad to remember that she has just passed away.  Her funeral is Wednesday.

Call #2

The second call was one from my friend Pat.  I always called her Pat, but I think most people called her Trish.  I also met Pat while at B95.  She was forever trying to win prizes.  She always came up to our remote broadcasts and talked with us.  She was a HUGE fan of the band Alabama.  She used to call up and say that she was lead singer, Randy Owen’s wife.  I used to kid her and ask is his wife knew about that!  She and I had a lot in common, and became good friends.  She was a huge Elvis fan and we often talked about him and his music.  I remember how excited she was when she told me she was going to Graceland.  I had been there while in Memphis for a St. Jude visit, and I told her how much she was going to love it.

The first time Pat won a prize from me she was SO excited.  “I won?!  OH MY GOD!!  WE DID IT!  WE WON!!!  THIS IS AMAZING!!!  (Laughter) I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!!”  It was such a great response that I used to use that call as my “stunt winner”.  If we ever had someone win a prize who was not excited about it, I’d say “Bring in the stunt winner” and play Pat’s call!  The call on the CD was when she won some hockey tickets and she kept saying how much her boys were going to love it.  She passed away suddenly in 2014, leaving behind her four boys and a granddaughter who she spoke of so often.    She was such a wonderful person and we shared many laughs together.

Call #3

The third call that got me was a call I made to my grandma.  Phone calls from my grandma were a staple on the show.  I used to call her every Christmas Eve (if I worked on the holiday) or the day before.  Christmas Eve was ALWAYS at her house – I wrote a blog about it here:

https://nostalgicitalian.com/2018/12/24/the-ghost-of-christmas-eve-past-and-yet-to-come/

The phone call would consist of me asking grandma what was for dinner.  She would go on to talk about homemade ravioli, breaded steak and ammoglio (pronounced moy-gyoo) sauce, the many varieties of cookies, cakes, and cannoli, and the other items featured in the Christmas Eve Feast.  This call, however, was NOT about Christmas Eve, which is what made it even more special.

This call actually helps me date the CDs.  This call was made July 24, 2001.  How do I know this?  I was calling grandma to wish her Happy Birthday.  During the call she offers up without hesitation that she is 77.  She goes on to talk about how my dad was razzing her about something and then asks when I am coming over.  She then went on to tell me how I needed to come see her “while my eyes are still open” because “I’m not going to be around much longer” as she often said.

It was emotional to hear her voice.  She was sharp as a tack for so long.  She was your stereotypical strong willed Italian woman.  Knowing that shortly after that call, she would develop dementia was sad.  She passed away in 2007, at age 83.  Hearing her say “I love you” one more time on the phone – was priceless.

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A Recovered Memory

I must have been doing a phone topic about teddy bears.  There was probably a story about people sleeping with Teddy Bears or something, which led me to ask “Who still sleeps with a Teddy Bear?” or “Who still has their Teddy Bear from their childhood?”.  The calls were about bears and toys that they had growing up.  I don’t remember what the caller is talking about, but I respond about something I had growing up that I had totally forgotten about.  This has a tie-in to my grandma, who I just mentioned.

It is funny how you can forget about things.  I will forever remember a Teddy Bear that I had when I was little.  I had it with me in the hospital when I had my tonsils out at 3 years old.  The thing I had forgotten about is something I probably had around 5-7 years old.  It was a hand puppet of Ernie from Sesame Street.  Today, PBS has tons of kid shows.  As I remember, Sesame Street, The Electric Company and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood were pretty much it on PBS.  On CBC there was Mr. Dress-up and The Friendly Giant, but that was it. Sesame Street was my “go to” show.  I think somewhere there is a picture of me with Ernie and Bert slippers!

What do I remember most about this Ernie puppet?  First, the head was not felt like the real Muppet.  It was a hard rubber/plastic.  This helped when you went to make him talk.  I guess I took him everywhere.  I remember I’d bring him over to my grandma’s house and she would tease me.  She’d put a lit cigarette in Ernie’s mouth and make him smoke.  I hated that!  “Ernie doesn’t smoke, grandma!  That’s bad for you!”  Grandma never said his name right.  She always called him “Arnie”.  I remember her telling me when I was older that when my brother and I stayed overnight there I used to make her kiss Ernie goodnight!  “I had to kiss that dirty old Arnie!”  I literally just chuckled out loud as I wrote that because I can hear her saying it!

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In Conclusion

I have CDs of my Honey Radio shows with my partner, Rob (https://nostalgicitalian.com/2018/04/26/get-a-load-of-this-guy/), which I listen to often.  I still laugh along with them.  He always made me laugh.  While I am sad that he has passed away, I think he’d be happy to know that I still listen to those shows and they are still funny 25 years later!

I’m glad that I decided to pop those CDs in and give them a listen.  Much like the CDs of Rob and me, these also made me chuckle, but also made me sad.  At the same time, they are a reminder of good friends and family, who continue to make ripples (see previous blog) long after they have gone.