Friday, July 29, 2011

Thursday, July 29th, 1976

D-DAY!!!!! A red letter day I've waited for for almost five years! I SAW DEBBIE AGAIN!!!! I went to see THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES at The Place downtown and I was running late. As I was waiting for the light by Walgreens I just looked across the street and thought I recognized Debbie's sister...and then her brother. Then I looked and I saw her mother, too, so I immediately looked for Debbie and there she was!! As the light changed I stepped out into the crosswalk and so did they. I probably looked like an idiot but I started telling, "Debbie! Debbie! Hi, Debbie!!" As we passed each other she returned, "Oh, hello." Oh my gosh, I'm not even sure she recognized me! I HOPE she recognized me! Weird!

For the rest of the day, I was shaking. Terribly at first. Oh, I was shaking! I couldn't even tell who else was with her except the ones I recognized first. Her hair was shorter. I couldn't see how she's developed in any other way because I was too busy looking at her face and trying to get her attention. I did notice her sister was much taller and heavier than when I last saw them and the mom had completely white hair! Any other time I would have stopped to talk for sure. After all, seeing her again is something I've been hoping for since 7th grade! But seeing them in the middle of a busy street with me already running late, I just kept on going toward the movie. All during the long movie, I kept two fingers crossed that I would remember everything about the moment.

I was so nervous, my stomach became messed up so I skipped Wendy's and haven't really eaten anything since I got home, either. Listened to some Simon and Garfunkel tonight and tried to pay attention to a TV documentary on Liza.

IT happened and I decided to destroy SNATCH afterwards.

NOTES: Yep--Debbie Day. The key phrase here that hadn't really hit me yet was "...I hope she recognized me." Jeez, I was hopeless! Just a refresher, Debbie and I had been close friends for not quite three years in grade school and I was devastated when she moved away early in the sixth grade. We talked on the phone pretty regularly for a while and eventually her mom drove and picked me up to come visit them one bone-chillingly cold day a year or so later. In retrospect, whatever "chemistry" we had was gone by then and I guess he could tell. I couldn't. I wrote her enough letters that her Mom called my Mom and told her to make me quit! But here I was, nearly a high school senior and still pining over her from time to time if only because no other girl had ever looked twice at me since. This was the last time I would see her. As excited as I was about it at the time, eventually the realization set in that she probably didn't even know who I was and if she did, she certainly didn't care. I doubt she gave me another thought a block later.

A few years back her father died. I found that out one one of the amazingly rare times that I actually looked at the newspaper obits column. It listed his kids,Debbie included, of course--their ages, their locations, their married names. It felt so weird to see all that. I sent a condolence card to the funeral home.

SNATCH was one of the undergrounds I had purchased at Omnicon, a digest-sized collection of ultra-dirty cartoons by Robert Crumb. Let's just say it was TOO lascivious for even me at that time. Over the years, Crumb went from subversive hippie pornographer to internationally respected artist, recently the subject of a major US art exhibit! He and I actually have a number of mutual acquaintances these days. That first issue of SNATCH, in its first printing, is now valued at quite a pretty penny! The entire short run of SNATCH was recently reprinted in trade paperback form. Guess I shouldn't have been so hasty about ripping my copy to shreds.

Oh, and I swear, somehow I remembered enough of THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES for it to become my all-time favorite western. I've now seen it about ten times!

"The Place" is not a misspelling of "the Palace," by the way. This theater had opened a few years earlier and tried to be hip. They were advertised as "The Place--at Seventh and Race." To give you an idea how close I was when I saw Debbie, the Walgreens I was in front of was at Sixth and Race.

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