After 61 years, I still think twice when I see the date September 8. My father hadn’t allowed me to date in high school, but in 1951, I had graduated from school and was a secretary at Procter & Gamble. I had been dating a little bit – never more than one date with the same person and never feeling it was a successful outing. On September 8, 1951, my sister suggested I come along with her to the neighborhood St. Rose Bingo.
We didn’t go to St. Rose Church, but my sister was the best friend of a girl named Cecilia who was a member. I didn’t really want to go but it was Saturday night with no plans and I gave in. Besides, there was a possibility that a boy who was being suggested as a potential date might be there. Cecilia’s boyfriend Peanut had a pal who had moved away while in the 6th grade at St. Rose – Buddy – and everyone thought we would make a great couple. So, I went to the bingo and sat at a long table with the rest of the group and sure enough, in came Buddy, dressed in nice slacks and a maroon corduroy jacket. He sat across the table and was very sober and serious but he had pretty green eyes and seemed pleasant enough. There wasn’t a word of conversation between us that night but it was an introduction and later in the week we did meet again, made a date and on my birthday on September 30, we agreed to go steady.
“Buddy” told me immediately that he hated the nickname and wanted to be called Frank and his pal “Peanut” also insisted on being called Rich. We double-dated with Rich and Cecilia all the time – mainly because Rich had a car and Frank didn’t have a license (or a car) yet. We had some really nice times – Rich and Cecilia were both outgoing and funny and they usually made the plans on where we would go. We went to football games, drive-in movies, Frisch’s for Big Boys (which were really huge then and I had never tasted one, plus they were served by car-hops on trays that hooked to the car door), a hayride in the back of an old farm truck, lots of house parties, and many, many evenings playing poker with Frank’s family where the only outlay of cash was for a jug of beer and whatever money we might lose playing cards (Cecilia and I nursed a soft drink for the evening).
We even went to one of Cecilia’s high school proms which was good for me since I hadn’t gone to my own. I picked out heavy gold satin fabric and Mother made the dress for me. Frank wore his standard blue pinstripe suit. The prom was predictably boring but at least I could say I had been to one.
Dating came to an end pretty quickly when Frank left for the Navy in February. By the time he came home on leave in May we were getting married and dating was over, but for a short time I experienced what the kids talked about all through high school – going to movies, eating hamburgers in the car, watching football games, going to parties and proms – some of it was nice, some was boring, but at least I got to try it. And it all started on SEPTEMBER 8.