Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Ex-Files: Summer of '91

This post is the second in a series. For now, I'm keeping it to girls I dated for at least two months. Also known as, until the new wears off.

It was the Spring of 1991. My favorite sports teams were in the midst of an incredible hot streak. The Reds had just won the '90 World Series. The Bulls were on their way to winning the first of their six NBA titles. And my Crimson Tide and Dallas Cowboys would soon follow suit in football. Life was good. And about to get much better.

I was at the mall with a couple of friends. In the arcade. Or as I liked to call it back then, my office. That's where I met Shelly. She was with friends as well. And one of her friends, Christy, had evidently come into the arcade with the sole intention of finding and introducing herself to my friend Mark.

While Christy went looking for Mark, Shelly and I started talking. We invited the girls to play putt-putt that night after leaving the mall. And as we sat on the bench by the 18th hole, I asked for Shelly's number.

The next few months we talked. Dated. Made out. A lot. Hung out at the ball fields, which was the cool thing to do then. And when Christy broke up with Mark for one of his best friends, we kept dating.

Shelly was pretty. I always thought so. My friends approved. Which shouldn't matter, but does when you're 18. She was plain and simple. And I mean that in the best possible way. I liked that about her. She had big, dark eyes. And brownish-blonde hair. More blonde than brown.

I fell in love. For the first time in my life. Heels over head. It sounds trite. And you may not think it possible. But I was in love with that girl. As much as an 18-year-old boy can be anyway. She introduced me to Beverly Hills 90210. How could I not love that?

She lived way out in the country. I'm talking two miles out a one-lane dirt road. Many nights that summer were spent on her parents' couch. Or on the front porch swing, looking out at the stars, listening to the crickets. And occasionally seeing the one neighbor who lived past them on that dirt road driving by like the mailman on Funny Farm.

It's amazing how much I've forgotten. And a little sad. There was a trip to Opryland with her church group sometime late that summer. And one night I got overly excited while making out and bit her lip, causing it to swell up and turn purple for three days. Why couldn't that be one of the memories I forget.

We dated the whole summer. Then came the fall. I'm not sure why we broke up, unless it was the lip-biting incident. I remember her acting like something was wrong. And then handing me a letter when I came over one night. What is it with these girls and letters? It said something about getting too serious and being too young.

She had told me a few weeks earlier that her mother had been talking to her and was worried about us getting so serious. So I always figured it had something to do with that. Either way, I was crushed. Shelly was my first broken heart.

Songs that remind me of her include "Everything I Do" by Bryan Adams, "Good Vibrations" by Marky Mark (don't ask, cause I don't know), and "Then Again" by Alabama. It came on the radio as I drove home from her house that night. That was the first time I remember crying over a girl. Wouldn't be the last.

Nevertheless, when I think back to those days, I remember them with only fondness. And a smile. There was a sense of innocence in that summer, one that seems to get lost too often as we get older. It was young love. Pure, sweet, and simple. Just like her.

Thus went the summer of '91. Kinda like the summer of '42 without the sex. Or the older woman.

I ran into Shelly a few times after that summer. At ball games. At a concert. And most recently, at Wal-Mart two or three years ago, or more.

Not long after she got married, they tore Opryland down.

I loved that place.

"Oh how quick they slip away. Here today and gone tomorrow. Love and seasons never stay. Bitter winds are sure to follow..."


  1. Bone-

    Yet again brilliant reminder that you will be one of the Great American Authors... now listen to Pia and get submitting!

    This post is excellent.



  2. I'm with OCG. That was beautifully written! One of my very favorites of yours.

  3. Oh aren't the 18 year old heartbreaks the worst? I remember just being crushed when a guy didn't like me or didn't want to see me anymore. I thought for sure the world would end.

    I do like your Ex Files entries. If I did this they'd last oh...about 2 weeks and only that long if I wrote about them once a week.

  4. Not sure why girls that age have to communicate with letters. Folded up nicely like an actual envelope. With bubble letters on the front.

    I think I once "dated" someone entirely through letters in Jr. High. He would fold his letters into a paper football and "kick" it over to me. Yes, my life is sad, I know.

    You're going to have such fun in Florida this weekend. This is me, jealous. You can't see it, but I'm green with envy.

  5. This post reminds of the guy I chased around Opryland on a youth trip. I remember sitting in front of him on the Chaos ride (the one that was inside a building and really dark). I remember how good he smelt for a 15 yr old boy (he had older brothers). He was chasing my best friend the whole trip. She liked someone else. He finally noticed me on the way home. We wrote letters to each other alot b/c he was older and we never had classes together.

  6. OCG: Thanks for the vote of confidence. I have been slacking on pursuing anything beyond this blog.

    Lizzie: Why, thank you Miss Lizzie. I LOVE the camel pic!

    Carnealian: Yes! I used to get so tore up. And always think I'd never find anyone else to date. And now I'm mostly like, whatever, there'll be someone else along soon enough.

    Carmen: Ooo, paper football! There's few things I liked better between the ages of 10 and 16 than paper football.

    Sounds like he was a keeper. No, seriously ;-)

    Grooviechick: Ah, Chaos. So much opportunity to flirt in that long line in those narrow halls with the weird clocks.

    It was really a good pick up ride. As opposed to say, Grizzly River Rampage, where you had to sit in a boat with eleven other riders.

    I also found the zoo conducive to chasing girls around.

  7. Chaos. I was thinking about that ride just the other day. That's the one that I ALWAYS wanted to ride when I was with a date. I mean, she got to sit in front and I got in the back. Embrace tightly and pray the ride got stuck.

    The wonderful memories of Opryland.dtm

  8. What a sweet story... as most of yours are.

  9. How could you even think it wasn't the lip biting incident?

    Well, today anything to do with mouths, makes me....rm

  10. Buzz: Also, there was little chance of either of you throwing up on Chaos.

    The log flume was pretty good, too. Long, peaceful ride.

    Dea: Clown hat, curly hair, smiley-face.


    BeeLond: Thanks, dear.

    Pia: You really think it was? Hmm. Well, at least I never once turned a girl's lip purple again.

  11. I enjoyed this post tremendously as I love your walks down memory lane. And we both did "adventures in dating" (or non-dating in my case) today! Great minds, eh? :)

  12. Oh, I LOVED Opryland!! The last time I went there was when my hubby's company paid for all their employees to go....then they tore it down like the next year. And replaced it with a shopping mall. Um, WHY?
    However, rumors are swirling that Manchester is getting a Six Flags. I don't know WHY Manchester, but they've gotten a Starbucks lately, so they're definitely more up-and-coming than my little town.....and they're on the interstate....so, who knows?
    I loved Bryan Adams. We played "Everything I Do" from "Robin Hood" at our wedding.
    Thanks for the congrats on my blog....I'm excited...will let you know if it comes out in any papers :D

  13. Oh, and I am so stinkin' jealous of you going to the beach that I almost canot stand it. Hubby's vacation starts Friday...he will be off for two weeks but we can't go anywhere because we have company coming Monday morning, I have my cochlear implant evaluations Thursday, June 29th and we have a wedding to go to July 4th. We might try to get away after the 4th for a really long weekend, but we can't go too far...Atlanta, maybe? Any family-related stuff anywhere near your area?

  14. Eh, she wasn't good enough for you anyway. A letter? I mean, who writes breakup letters? Wait. Did I do that? Oh gosh I hope I didn't do that. Nooooo!

  15. Circe: Yes, I noticed that ;-) I'll have to go back and do another series on girls I only went out with once. That could be interesting, I'm sure.

    Jennifer: That'd be OK, but it still won't be Opryland :-(

    Umm, I don't think this area is a big vacation destination :) We have a couple of 4th of July festivals around here every year. And a water park. And the space center in Huntsville. And... that's about it.

    Lass: Well I'm sure it would have been an email had either of us had internet back then :)