I was 17 years old in the summer of 1979. It was a good summer filled with fun at the beach, working at the restaurant, and hanging on the boardwalk. There was always something fun to do at the seashore. Even if it was a rainy day, we’d play Monopoly or read comic books. I’d be writing songs on my guitar or just practicing or jamming out to my records. (Actually the stereo was in the living room I had an old 8 track player in my room. Google it Millennials!)
I was usually hanging at Botto’s arcade if I just wanted lay low and stay local. There were always the regulars that hung out there. Me, my friend Tony, Anna Marie, (See: Anna Marie – Summer of 1978 – Awakening) her sister, my buddy Richard (Who was a pinball wizard) some of the local kids from the neighborhood. Sometimes my middle sister would show up with her friends. It was just the best spot to chill out and socialize and play. Think of it as a bar for teenagers that only serves soft drinks and snacks.
There was this one girl who was there quite often. She’d be shooting pool or playing Pac Man. Lola was a cute brunette with dark brown eyes. She was 5’2″ and Italian. I would have to say though Lola’s most distinct feature was her well-developed full bosom. And they even looked larger on her small frame. I’m a leg man, but that is a healthy girl!
Her folks lived in Newark, NJ. She and her mom stayed at her aunt’s place over on 9th street. So she was only a couple of blocks away from the arcade.
It was the end of the Summer. My shadow was getting longer in the golden afternoon sun. August was coming to a close and the darkness would soon descend upon me. But at the moment it was still hiding in September.
I was alone in the arcade one afternoon kicking ass on my favorite pinball machine ‘Flash.’ Lola came over and started chatting with me. We only knew each other because we’d see each other at the arcade. She was joking around with me about how I always played the same songs on the jukebox when I was here. But I have always had a sarcastic with so I fired back.
“Oh, you must mean I only play the ‘good’ songs on the jukebox.” (Not taking my eyes off the steel ball that bounced around in the machine)
“I’m going to show you what good music is.” She heads over to the jukebox and drops some quarters. After a bit “Our House” by Crosby, Nash and Young comes on. If you’ve ever heard that song, it’s a sweet little folksy song. I’m a 17-year-old musician. I only like rough house rock and roll. Bands like Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, and Van Halen. Anything else just sucks to me. I hate all that soft stuff. It doesn’t make me feel anything.
“That song sucks. It’s so gay.”
“No it doesn’t! It’s good music!”
So for the next hour or so we went back and forth putting quarters in the jukebox. Playing all of our favorite songs for each other. We were dueling each other with music and also on the pool table and pinball machines.
Anne had a sharp wit and a fiery little personality. I was really having a fun, anxiety free, afternoon with this chick. This was new to me because normally I would meet a girl and then the anxiety would jack up and I’d be a mess when I was around them. I was getting a little better but not by much. But this just felt easy. Calm. Playful. Relaxed. Fun!
Lola sinks the 8 ball. “I win again! One more?”
“I wish. I gotta go. I promised Jim we’d jam tonight.”
“Hey. Do you want to go to the beach with me tomorrow?”
“Cool. I’ll swing by tomorrow around one?”
“You better!” (Gives me a wry smile)
I laugh and leave the arcade smiling as I walk the two blocks home.
What just happened in there? Was that a date? Is tomorrow a date or are we just hanging out. Why did that feel so easy and fun?
I guess I’ll find out more tomorrow.
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