I'm getting ready to drive down to Philly, my hometown, for a wedding tomorrow night. It promises to be a wedding to rival the Royal Wedding of Will and Kate. At least that's what several of Stephen Harbaugh's friends have said on his Facebook Wall. Stephen, at long last, after nearly four decades on this earth, is tying the knot with Gina Brennan, a dark-haired voluptuous beauty. I'll meet Gina for the first time ever tomorrow night. The wedding will be in a downtown Philly Catholic church. The reception's at the Bellevue Stratford, the they're having a 10-piece dance band called The Heart Beats. As anyone who's been following "Bob's blogs" knows, I, for one, am fully ready to DANCE-DANCE-DANCE my heart beats out, yo'.
Before I can leave the house, my dear, long-suffering wife, Susie, wants me to clean up my mess because we're having an open house on Sunday afternoon. Hopefully, somebody seriously interested in buying the place will show up, ready to write a big fat deposit check. We'll see.......
Part of "the mess" I cleaned up were the two black and white rare photographs of Susie at about 20 years of age. The picture of her with her long blonde hair flying with centrifugal force out of the pond is fairly dynamic. But the one I really love is Susie standing in the doorway of our old first rental apartment on Pease Avenue in Middletown, when I was still a Wesleyan student. We lived there my senior year, from the summer of 1970 through the time we left for law school in September of 1972. Our landlords were Jim and Gloria Squarlino, wonderful Italian Americans who eventually became our neighbors in our present neighborhood on Chimney Hill in Middletown. They lived in a much smaller house on Jacobs Terrace, but still we were neighbors when I was a lawyer and two of our sons, K.C. and Tim were their paper boys, back in the days when paper boys were actually boys, they collected the paper money each week directly and not by computer extraction, and The Middletown Press was still a very good newspaper.
The first photo is Susie standing in the doorway on Pease Avenue, looking through the screen door. Our kitten, Spot, a male, is walking from the left side of the photo towards the righ. Susie has blonde pigtails, with a whisp of blonde hair falling down her upper neck area. Susie is barefoot, which she did a lot of the time. Her dress is a little, mid-thigh sun dress which scooped low, back and front. It had a fabric string which tied just under her breast line. What's not apparent in the black and white image is how light blonde her shiny hair was at that time. With her sky-blue eyes, curved eyebrows, aquiline nose, delicate lips, and straight white teeth, the pig-tail look made her look like a fraulein from some small town in Germany, where one-quarter of her ancestory hailed from.
Also visible in the picture are a curved sunburn area just below her neck and down her upper back. It stops well above the top of the back of the sundress. And that little detail ties this photo into the next one, of Susie in a pond in Cummington, Massachusetts. The sunburn area is precisely the area of the skin of her upper back left uncovered and unprotected from the sun's rays when she wore the black leotard for swimming, as shown in the second photograph.
One of my roomates from sophomore year, 1968-1969, was Steven Skinner. His family had a cottage in Cummington, MA, which was rarely used, since most of what was left of Steve's family lived in the South.
Cummington, MA is more famous for one of its other inhabitants, Richard Wilbur, a Pulitzer Prize winning poet. I still remember the one reading of his poetry, which he performed, at Wesleyan when I was a junior, I believe. Tall, handsome, elegant, Richard Wilbur was a force majeure which demanded to be listened to, and appreciated, but in an understated way.
Steve Skinner suggested Susie and I accompany him to his family's cottage in Massachusetts. We did, and had a wonderful weekend there. There is a pond nearby which we all went swimming in. It was a very sunny day, Susie wore the black leotard, and I saw her swinging her long, luxorious, lovely blonde hair up and out of the pond, sprinkly and splashing oodles of water. Fortunately I had my 35 mm camera with me and the presence of mind to capture the moment.
Enough of that story for now. I have to finish cleaning up my stuff around the house, pack up the car, stop at McDonalds for coffee, and get on the road to Philly. I plan to do some stand-up spontaneous ad lib comedy at University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, or other fine comedy clubs in the Philly area. Just to keep my skills from getting rusty, and also practicing timing, not loosing the audience through boredom, and other tricks of my developing trade.
Here are the two photos of Susie, probably from Fall of 1970 or Spring of 1971. I hope you enjoy seeing this Blast from the Past as much as I did writing about it.