Friday, December 21, 2012
Party Animal? (Part 2)
All right--back to that party stuff. In a post a few days ago I mentioned that my party life--boyhood, pubescence, adolescence--was pretty tame, for reasons that ranged from religion to isolation (Hiram, Ohio, was/is not a metropolis) to an overall personal wussiness: I thought alcohol and cigarettes were evil; I was a budding star for MLB and the NBA (hah!) and did not want to defile my body; I was sore afraid. Of ... ? I'm not sure. Getting caught? Finding myself an addict?
Then came college. Fall 1962. I had never tasted alcohol. Never tried a cigarette ... well, maybe once or twice in high school. Had not ever drunk coffee. It was time for ... corruption!
But Hiram College offered little to corrupt. In my four years there (1962-1966) I never saw any marijuana or any "hard" drugs. The entire township was "dry" during my years, so carloads of undergrads had to drive east to Mantua Corners (Ernie's), south to Garrettsville (lots of options), or north to Welshfield (the Riverside Cafe, known affectionately among us as "The Road").
But I remained pure.
For several months.
In the fall of my freshman year, my roommate got me to join a bunch of lads who were going off to spend the weekend in Pennsylvania at the riverside cabin of some classmate or other whose name I cannot summon from the swamp of memory. There was lots of beer. And wild irreverent talk--which grew ever louder as the night progressed. I drank Cokes and felt supremely superior. We all slept on the floor, scattered about like toys discarded by a bored child. As we were all readying for sleep, one very drunk guy (who would later become a minister) cried out: Let's take off all our clothes and jump in a pile! There was not an enthusiastic response. It was one of those ideas whose time had not come.
On through the fall I remained a teetotaler (Coke-totaler?). There was no alcohol on campus (no legal alcohol), so at the campus parties--where I practiced wallflowery--were, again, very tame. I stood and watched things swirl around me. I was being loyal to my girlfriend from high school, who was off being loyal to me at another college. Right? Not that I wasn't noticing the young women of Hiram. But I was doing little about it other than the yearning so much a part of the soul of the shy adolescent (me).
And then ... spring break ... freshman year ... my girlfriend came home (her letters had trailed off in recent weeks--this in the days before cell phones and email) ... she did not call me when she arrived ... I called her ... we arranged to meet ... we went for a drive ... she didn't want to "park" ... she had something to tell me ... she told me in her driveway ... can you guess what it was? ... and I tearfully went looking for my high school friend Paul ... found him ... told him the news ...
And we headed north immediately for Welshfield ... for The Road.
A road which led directly to a significant change in my party experiences for a while.