Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Bittersweet Memories of 'The Mind' She Admired ; Good Morning

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Bittersweet Memories of 'The Mind' She Admired ; Good Morning

Article excerpt

PORTALES, N. M. - There was one final person whom I wished to visit before I knocked the dust of my old hometown from my shoes and began my return trip to the Hoosierland - Mrs. Martha Scoggin. And yet I was half afraid to visit her, for Mrs. Scoggin was the woman I had selected, in those deep, secretive recesses of my mind, to be my mother-in-law.

I was hopelessly, agonizingly, terminally smitten with her only daughter, Wavis, and while I suppose adults would laughingly discount the whole thing as puppy love, to this day I cannot put such a light value on it myself.

Seldom since then have I felt a greater trembling in the limbs, a greater eruption of sweaty palms, a greater ecstatic agony of the soul, than I felt those many years ago when Wavis was the lady fair of my existence.

She was the only girl I ever dated in high school - and I dated her but once.

I gladly would have dated her again, but SHE never asked me.

You probably don't know what it is to be so bashful that you stammer when somebody even says hello to you, but that's the way I was back then - so totally unlike the suave, dashing chap that I have become.

So I obviously couldn't ask HER, I just couldn't. I wanted to, yeah, but my tongue always stuck to the roof of my mouth as if I had slathered it with epoxy glue.

Wavis was in the class behind me in school, a spirited, happy, clowning wisp of a girl who once tried to teach me to dance the Irish jig. We were both on the staff of the school newspaper when I became so keenly aware that my existence depended so totally on her.

Not that I TOLD her. Or I didn't tell her, anyway, for a long time. And by then, as so often has happened in my life, I had waited too long - for by then she was a college freshman, casting amorous glances at a classmate, a vain little creep whom I detested instantly and forever.

She introduced me to him one time, certain we would become friends. I kept wishing he would say something smart-alecky so I could hit him.

And when, eventually, I told her of my everlasting love, she reacted with surprise, telling me with an infuriating gentleness that she thought of me as a dear friend whose mind she admired. …

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