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Tuesday, 15 April 2008

True Loves in a Small Town

By Peter Tibbles

My first love was Marilyn Glidden.

She lived in the house beside ours, but it faced on to another street. There was a lane between them. I suppose it would have been romantic to climb over our fence and climb hers as well. I didn't do this as they were far too high for a five year old. Instead, I walked around the streets to her place. We'd listen to Kindergarten of the Air together.

We drifted apart after we started school and her family moved away sometime later. I always thought they left quite early, but I recently found a fifth grade photo, and there she is. I must have put her out of my mind after that initial torrid affair, listening to the radio. Perhaps she preferred someone else, maybe Lenny Nuske who lived even closer to her than I did. I don't know. Lenny is no longer with us. He died of leukemia sometime in primary school. He's in the photo as well.

My second love was Wendy Scott.

I was older and more sophisticated by then - eight years old. I had advanced to listening to Rocky Starr and Biggles. She began school with us at the beginning of fourth grade and I fell desperately in love with her. Her family left town at the end of the year. They went to Portland. It seemed so far away. I was devastated. I never saw her again.

The last love of my life before I left town was Lynette Middleton.

She was from Stawell. Her aunt and uncle lived next door to us in the Wades' house, as we all still called it. That house was on the corner of our street and Marilyn's. Marilyn no longer lived there, but I still thought of it as her street. Lynette came to stay with her relatives for a week or so during that summer. The day after she arrived Buddy Holly died.

Towards the end of her visit her uncle took us all out on patrol with him, to the Little Desert. He was the Lands' Department officer in charge of all that. Occasionally he'd take his two sons and one or two of the neighborhood kids with him. Those were the days when he wasn't laying 1080 for the rabbits and foxes.

We stopped somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Mr. Corry went about his business and his two sons, who were a year or two younger than I, went running off somewhere. They weren't interested in their cousin. She was, after all, a girl, a little older and a relative as well.

I was interested. We went walking through the bush in the opposite direction to the others. It was hot. Damned hot.

"You look rather sad," she said.

"Buddy Holly died."

"Oh. Yes I heard."

We walked on through the scrub. We could hear the others in the distance running around trying to upset their father.

"You liked him then?" she asked, "Buddy Holly?"

"Yes I did. He was my favorite. Him and Little Richard."

"Little Richard."

"I don't know him."

"Oh. I have a couple of his records. Come on in when we get back and I'll play them. Mum hates him."

"All right. I will. She doesn't like rock 'n' roll then, your mum?"

"No. Yes. She really likes Elvis. Buddy. Ricky Nelson. It's just Little Richard she doesn't like."

I took her hand, or she took mine. This was the first time I'd held hands with a girl. We had found a clump of orchids and were admiring them. I touched her arm and we kissed. A dry, mouth-closed kiss, but a kiss nonetheless. Another first for that day. She was as tall as I was. We fit together well.

"Lynette. Peter. Come on, we're about to leave."

Oh damn.

She didn't like Little Richard much.

We wrote to each for some time. It seems like years, but it was probably only a couple of months.

Our family left town in the middle of that year. I remember writing Lynette's and my initials in the waiting room of the railway station the day we left. My mother and I returned for a visit a year or so later and I looked for them, but they weren't there.

[If you would like to contribute to The Elder Storytelling Place, the guidelines are here. We would all be pleased to read your stories.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


This story is a revelation to me. All these many, many moons I had believed that boys hated girls until they reached middle school. Thank you, Peter, for making this day the day I learned something new. I guess you can teach old dogs new tricks.


What a delightful story.

You certainly were a romantic, weren't you? Even at 5 years old.

I guess you are the guy they were thinking of when they wrote the song:

"If I can't be near the girl I love, I love the girl I'm near."

I think boys want girls to think they don't care about them until they're much older.....LOL

Ah, unrequited young love. I remember it well.

Such a sweet memory, and we ladies thought we were the only ones who remembered that far back!!

What a great story! What a great stroll down memory lane. We carved A.G + D.D. I've often wondered if guys ever thought about such things.

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