Memoir: Date with Girl, 1955

I was 18, in the Navy, stationed at Alameda Naval Air Station across the bay from my hometown, San Francisco.

A different 1934 Ford, five window coupe with rumble seat.

I had recently bought my first car: a 1934 Ford, 5-window coupe with a rumble seat. It had already been modified with a ‘41 Mercury engine, moon hubcaps, spade bumpers and horse-cock taillights. It was powder blue. I was ready to take girls out in style.

I had met Virginia, briefly, through her dad who was a “lifer” in the Navy. She lived with her parents on Potrero Hill in San Francisco. She was half Irish and half Pilipino, a very exotic combo for me, and seemed like a nice, well-mannered girl. She had freckles across her nose and her skin was as brown as a good suntan would be on me.

I was all spiffed out in my civilian clothes when I called at her house just after dinner. We were to go to a movie on Market Street in the City.

Her mother, a small Pilipino woman, greeted me cordially at the front door. She called to her daughter who was on the second level. Virginia floated down the stairs in a billowing wide skirt that ended at knee level. She swirled around the final corner to face me. Her radiant smile, and the brief glimpse I had of her legs above knee level, made my heart pound. I was barely able to get my mouth to work in greeting her.

As we sat together in the movie I wondered how to place my arm around her shoulder, but could only get it to lie on the back of her seat. I brought her home at the promised time and knew I had not been a good date for her. I just didn’t know what to do with a pretty girl, or any girl. I wanted to be a gentleman, but I also wanted intimacy. I couldn’t reconcile these objectives.

I felt defeated by my inexperience and lack of courage. I bought a bottle of whiskey to drink while I drove all over San Francisco trying to deal with my feelings. I finally realized I was going to get killed if I continued drinking, so I stopped in a park and sobered up before I drove back to Alameda.

I still occasionally dream about her, reviving the vision of her skirt twirling around her pretty legs and her warm smile as she descended the stairs to greet me.

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About Ron Pavellas

Expatriate Californian living in Sweden with wife. Retired from employment in the USA. Currently focused on blog articles and creative writing.
This entry was posted in Memoirs, San Francisco and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Memoir: Date with Girl, 1955

  1. EGAN says:

    Why do some memories like Date with Girl 1955 remain so very clear, even quite insignificant events? Reading this story brought back a banal occurence from the 1970’s. At a dance, a girl inadvertantly stepped on my foot as I sat close to the dance floor. She apologised and stroked my cheek with the outside of her hand. As I recall this memory, I can feel the warmth of her hand on my cheek. Perhaps events such as stroked cheeks and swirling skirts evoked some primal feelings, which are stored inside forever.

    PS Thanks for the photograph – I was perplexed by the rumble seat. Where does it come from?

    • Ron Pavellas says:

      Primal, yes, I can accept that. At age 18, everything was primal. I googled “rumble seat”–it’s from when there were horse-drawn carriages and the servants stood or sat in the “rumble-tumble” at the end of the carriage.

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