06 September 2010

Back To School: September 1980

President of the Student Government Association

Very important business

Student government at work

Making sausage

Future leaders

SGA Officers - The big four

President second from left

I ask her out...

...or did I ask her out here?

My first assignment as photographer for the college paper my freshman year was to cover the SGA and the installation of new officers. The new president impressed me with her Kate Hepburn looks, a wonderfully naughty laugh and a smile to go with it.

Those first shots were during an SGA meeting. Later I did group shots and finished up with the four officers. I have no idea why I still have these negatives. Back then I liked to talk to people while I photographed them. While photographing the officers I asked the SGA president out. I think you can see it. I know I can. Everyone laughed but I was serious.

She told me she was already dating. 'Pat' was his name. I suggested a dinner just as friends. No strings. I offered up a little northern Italian restaurant. She said yes but added Pat got off his bartending job at 11 and she'd have to meet him. I told her it wouldn't be a problem. I was pretty sure a couple hours of conversation gently paired with a slow dinner and plenty of wine would erase Pat from her mind. It would also erase a significant portion of my GI Bill that month but, "All the world loves a lover - whatever the price."

We had martinis before dinner. Then scallops and grilled fish. We drank white wine that came in a fish bottle which she asked to keep as a souvenir. I was ready to order another souvenir when, at 10:50, she asked that I take her to Dan Jans where 'Pat' was getting off at 11. Out of luck and $150, I drove her to the bartender.

We dated one summer a couple years later. During the Lebanon war we argued politics and cooked steamed broccoli for dinner. She loved the Republican Party, Dr. Pepper, Bozz Scaggs and Richard Nixon. There were heated arguments but we bonded over the movie Cat People and played the David Bowie - Giorgio Moroder soundtrack non stop.

Some more years later we traveled to meet at a wedding. Or a lighthouse. Or dinner. Intimacy had turned into friendship and I looked forward to her letters in smeared fountain pen and our long cocktail hour phone calls. More years passed and I married while she devoted herself to the federal government. 14 years after the SGA meeting, at an alumni event, I saw her across a crowded room where she was holding a Nantucket basket and a conversation with the college president. Both flawlessly.

Later that night we were with a couple who had dated all through college and had married. The four of us stood close together telling stories and sipping our drinks when Pat interrupted with a Long Island yell that made the night somehow seem dirty. I turned to look for his Trans Am but only saw a man who was gaining weight as fast as he was losing hair.

He kissed the SGA president on the cheek, greeted the other couple and nodded at me. He talked about his success and the SGA president slid her arm through mine. Pat yelled to another group and ambled off. I watched him walk away, turned to her and asked, "What time do you want me to drop you off at Dan Jans?"


Wrecked Stellar said...

Loved reading this- love when you said 'intimacy had turned into friendship'.

Brummagem Joe said...

Love that last pic tintin with it's "Are you out of your mind" expression. On the whole I find encountering one's contemporaries (Pat?) after a long break is a sobering experience.

Anonymous said...

Nice narrative, story arc, phrasing. Reveal it together as you do, to us, only sometimes.


Alice Olive said...

Love it.

Is she addressing everyone in the first few pics? Very Ali Macgraw-esque.

Bill Smith said...

Great story Tintin, looking at the pics and add on about six years, that would have been the same look at my high school in the suburbs of Toronto, only with more Ralph Lauren Polo and Beaver Canoe (a distinctively Central Canadian prep brand).

James said...

Yes. I see it. I envy you the friendship.

Ben said...

I'm going to stop complimenting you on your stories and your storytelling now. It seems understood at this point.

Hereafter, I will only point out when you misspell something or use poor grammar. Or when your stories suck ass.

Otherwise, in my silence it should be assumed that I've enjoyed what you've written.

Rulingpart said...

That was beautiful.

Genuine Lustre said...

Great memories. Always interesting to wonder about "how things might have turned out" in these situations.

I have the sewing pattern for the dress the officer on the far right is wearing.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Great denouement.

I'm beginning to avoid all reunions like the plague. Good for you staying in touch.

AndrewY said...

Love this story. Wow.

Anonymous said...

I was in SGA in 1980 and have a smiular story and outcome. Glad you stayed in touch; sometime I wonder when I am up late at night reading when everybody is in bed.

Gail said...

Great story - where is she now?

tintin said...

Gail- Uh, not returning my calls or emails.