1halffull's Blog

The Kiss that Missed….

January 11, 1969. A day that will live in….what? My mind? My heart? The front porch?

It lives on in all three as the day Dan thrust his class ring into my hand, slid a kiss down my cheek and fled.

Let me start at the beginning….

It was the summer of 1966. I was enjoying summer with my cousin and friends.

At the time, I had a faithless boyfriend that I would soon be rid of. What a jerk. At the same time, my cousin was seeing a boy named Tim. Tim’s side kick happened to be Dan. If we lived closer, he’d still be Tim’s sidekick – one of those enduring relationships.

Dan first saw me swimming in the park pool. To his credit, he didn’t run away screaming. Instead, he asked my cousin ‘Hey, is Page (my last name) going with anyone?’ How’d he even know my last name? I had no idea. Tracy told him the bad news that I was seeing someone else. All very high stakes for an eighth grader, don’t you think?

Life moved on and I didn’t see Dan again until we both ended up on the school newspaper.  Dan’s brother Rich was also there.  Even though Dan and I are the same age, he was in 10th grade.  Apparently he was some big smarty pants, or else his birthday just happened to land him a year ahead of us. :0)

Rich and I became pretty good friends while Dan behaved like the typical, shy 10th grade boy. He’d do what I like to call ‘the rooster dance’. The rooster dance worked like this: He’d talk to me for a week or so, then he’d retreat and act like I had the plague. Then he’d talk to me again, etc. Very annoying and not an encouragement to hang around much.

Rooster Dance nothwithstanding, I decided to invite him to the upcoming Sweater Hop (it was girl’s choice).

I called his house and Rich answered. He had some idea that I was calling to ask him to the big dance and was very surprised when I asked to speak to Dan. Unbelievably, Dan said yes and we went shopping for our matching sweaters. After the dance Dan resumed his position as rooster and didn’t ask me out again.

So I got another boyfriend, Chuck.

While I dated Chuck, it was not uncommon for Dan to make drive bys of my house with Tim. Later he would say that was because they were on the way to Tim’s house. If that was true, they were taking a completely round about way to get there. The truth was that he was spying on me and would usually see Chuck and me on my front porch. Served him right.

Freshman year ended and sophomore year found me in chemistry class with guess who? Dan and Rich. I was really uncomfortable with this state of affairs.  Since I was still dating Chuck, I contemplated changing to another class.  That never happened and I later learned that Dan also contemplated the same action. Had we both changed to the other chem class, we’d still have been together, just without Rich!  Weird, huh?

Class was uncomfortable, but I tried to ignore who was there. Chem class was so hard for me that I didn’t dare do otherwise.

In early December, Chuck and I broke it off. When he learned what happened, guess who swooped in with an invitation to midnight mass on Christmas Eve?  A more beautiful night I don’t think I’ve ever seen.  It was very picturesque with lightly falling snow, candles lit in the church and the music of the Christmas choir all around.

The next day Dan went with his family to Lorain to visit grandmas, aunts, uncles and cousins. While there, he used his tape recorder to make me a wonderful audio tape of their activities, including interviews with family members and my favorite piece of all, his Uncle Nemo singing ‘Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime.” It was the sweetest and funniest gift I’d ever gotten.

Although I don’t remember the specifics, I’m sure we went out a couple times during Christmas vacation and met at the Youth Center after a couple basketball games. I know we talked on the phone because my folks limited my talk time to something ridiculous like 10 minutes. Did that mean 10 minutes on with two minutes off? LOL

On the evening of January 11th, Dan called about 9:30 to ask if I could take a ride with him in the car. Hey, why not? What else was I going to do, watch paint dry?

When he arrived, he came bravely up to the door to get me. We went out and drove around town, just talking about life and beliefs; I don’t remember, but I’m sure there must have been some sports talk in there somewhere.

After driving around for an hour, he brought me home. It was 10:30; I remember looking at the clock. He opened the car door for me and walked me onto the porch to my door. As I opened the door, he thrust his class ring into my hand as he said, “Will you go steady with me?” and bent down to seal the deal with a kiss. Just as he did that, I turned my head and the kiss went sliding down my cheek. I think I giggled and he dashed off the porch, leaving me to wonder what had just happened??

In that moment, Dan went from doing the rooster dance at me to doing what has become a lifelong run of many forms of dance with me. In our lives, that is a moment that lives in infamy and is celebrated every year with at least a ‘Happy (year) Anniversary” and a kiss that doesn’t miss!


Sharing The Upper Hand
March 18, 2010, 12:50 am
Filed under: battle of the sexes, Change, God, Life, Respect for women

There’s so much power mongering these days.  There’s hardly a place you can go or a facet of life where you won’t find someone trying to wield power over another individual or group.

While you’d think that the supposed liberation of women over the last 40 years would have leveled the playing field between men and women, on a regular daily basis you will find that not to be true.  The reality is that many men are still hung up on dominating and controlling the women around them.  There are some who just ALWAYS have to have the upper hand.

I’m so fortunate:  My husband is not one of those men.  While he’s not a pushover, he’s also not someone who has to dominate nor always have the upper hand over me.  While he trusts in God, he doesn’t use the ‘wives must submit to their husbands’ scriptures in a way that presumes I should have very little or no say in our lives.

He works with women in his business life but never seems to feel the need to assert himself in such a way as to make them feel inferior.  Sure, he may get annoyed sometimes with their behavior, as he does with other men’s behavior, but he never takes it upon himself to denigrate them or make them feel like second class citizens.

In the church, where there can be an even greater tendency to try to put women in some supposed lowly female ‘place’, he is kind and values what the women have to say in the areas that he co-serves with them.  When he listens, he does so with an open mind and ability to help them know that he has heard and understands their point of view.  He doesn’t automatically presume that ‘because he’s a man’ he automatically knows best.  Nor does he behave in such a manner that they are made to feel as though their input doesn’t really count.  They are treated as equals whose input is incorporated into the overall plans.

I really like that about him.  He’s figured out that receiving many ideas from many people, men or women, usually gives a better quality to the discussion.  He knows that broader input builds trust and makes for better group interactions overall.

He and his cohorts don’t limit themselves by invoking some ‘men are the heads’ credo in an attempt to keep women in the pantry ‘where they belong.’  They’re actually evolved enough to be secure in who they are, without need to shout down any woman who they fear might have a better insight than they do.  They don’t insist on their way or the highway because they know this isn’t any way to navigate successfully and peacefully through the narrows of relationship building.  And isn’t that what life should really be about – relationship building?

So, the next time you think it’s all about having the upper hand, take a tip from my husband by opening your heart and mind to what the other person is really saying.  Let go of your prejudices and learn to understand that their input can be possibly even more valuable than your closed mind.  Maybe just once, open your ears and put your hands in your lap.