Ah, 1969. Oh, how well I remember. I was 14 years old and so wanted to be 16 like my much older and experienced friends. It didn't help that I was 14 and actually looked 12. My friends didn't seem to mind that I was younger and less experienced. They enjoyed teaching me how to smoke.
But that's a different blog.
In 1969, the movie to see at the drive in theatre was Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, and that is where I saw it, by the way. The top music hits were Aquarius by The Fifth Dimension and Sugar Sugar by The Archies. We watched television shows in prime time like Gilligan's Island, Gomer Pyle, and Hawaii Five-O. President Nixon had taken office that year and the war in Viet Nam was going on. The Manson Family killed Sharon Tate and six others in what would later be referred to as Helter Skelter, named after the song by The Beatles and the United States landed a man on the moon while America watched. It was CRAZY.
It was also the summer of '69 and although I aspired to be a bad girl, I just wasn't very good at it. My parents kept us in church whenever the doors opened, so that didn't leave much time for a rookie like me. Our church youth program (UMYF) was a big part of my life and I enjoyed the times we traveled together to church camps and retreats. One such trip was a trip that our youth group made each summer to Epworth By the Sea, which is located right here on St. Simons Island. We lived in Gray GA at the time, so our church youth group traveled to Epworth each summer.
During our free time at Epworth, we would go to the Casino at the beach, where there was an old time Roller Skating Rink on the roof top.
It was great! It had wooden floors and wooden side rails to stop and chat with your friends and look out over the ocean. Many places along the floor were buckled or uneven and you knew to watch out for those spots. They always played the best music to skate to such as Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond and Baby I Love You by Andy Kim.
My Mama bought me a brown and white polka dot shorts set to wear that summer.
It was actually a mini dress with shorts underneath. I was styling and profiling and was definitely looking the part on the skate floor. Renting roller skates was always a problem for me because they never had size five.
Inevitably they would plop a pair of sevens on the counter and I could take them or leave them. So I always put them on my feet anyway and skated like I had concrete blocks tied to my feet.
Anyway, I was making my way around the rink slowly at first and then building a little more confidence as I skated. The music was playing and I was beginning to get my groove on. I was waving and smiling to my friends on the side rail and trying out new skating moves. My main crush was skating around the rink like an expert skating backwards and roller dancing. I imagined us doing the couple skate . . .
and the two of us skating hand in hand as the music played Hooked On A Feeling by B.J. Thomas. I imagined my friends watching as we skated around the floor as though we were made for each other.
I was suddenly jolted into reality when this same dream guy bumped into me from behind and I fell forward, catching myself with both hands flat on the floor.
Since the size seven roller skates were so heavy, they didn't fall with me and so my butt was straight up in the air. I felt a seam pop and there went my brown and white polka dot shorts . . . split wide open! In fact, they not only split at the seam, they split horizontally, as well! There was no way this guy had missed it since he was right on my heels.
He helped me up and asked if I was OK, and of course I said I was fine. I had just flashed him. I was 14 years old. I was NOT fine. I scrambled to the side rail and sat down.
All my dreams of the couples skate were over. I unlaced those clod hoppers and put my bee bops back on, all the while pulling on my mini dress to cover up my hiney.
I'm just glad thongs were flip flops and we all wore panties.