It was a hot summer day in 1975 and Steve Geraci was slowly sipping his cold Dr. Pepper under a shady White Ash tree when his friend Larry Tantalo called to him.
“Hey can I bum a ride home from you?”
Geraci nodded affirmatively as Larry sat down beside the 16 year old boy. Geraci and Tantalo, high school friends, had just completed a round of caddying at the Philadelphia Country Club, a prestigious private golf club in the Philadelphia suburb of Gladwyne. One of the oldest country clubs in the United States, “PCC “was a gathering spot for Philadelphia’s elite. Executives from banking and big pharma companies joined to play golf there and to be seen with the movers and shakers of the Phily area.
“Hot day,” said Tantalo as he opened his own soft drink. “Thought I might die out there.”
Geraci smiled. “Glad we got out early before the serious heat comes in. Want to take off?”
The boys stood up and started to walk up the asphalt pathway from the caddy shack to the country club parking lot. The heat was oppressive and both boys simply wanted to cool off.
As they approached the parking lot, Tantalo casually looked to his left toward the country club swimming pool. “Holy shit !!” was the sudden, astonished outburst from the young boy.
“What?” replied Geraci as he turned to look at what had caught Tantalo’s attention.
“Look at all the freaking girls.” Geraci’s gaze followed Tantalo’s pointing hand and in doing so, he saw what Larry was talking about. The country club pool was packed with young, slender teenage girls wearing all sorts of swimwear. Bikinis dominated and in the boys’ minds it was a sea of loveliness
“You know Larry, its times like these that convince me that there is a God.” Geraci laughed and looked up toward the sky while mouthing the words “thank you” in gest.
The boys’ laughter was interrupted by a call that seemed to come from the pool. “Steve, Steve. Is that you?”
Steve Geraci looked over to the pool and saw a slim, tall blonde girl in a white bikini getting up from a tanning recliner located pool side. Her tanned body clearly indicated that she had been sunning for days, if not weeks. As she recognized the young boy, she went into a “girly run” to meet up with him at the pool fence. You know the type of run. Hands up in the air as she skipped along the ground yelling.
Geraci walked casually to the pool fence to meet her. He knew that he was breaking country club rules which clearly stated that employees were not allow to fraternize with country club members, especially teenage daughters at the swimming pool. But as a geeky, socially awkward high school boy, he clearly was not going to let country club rules interfere with a chance to talk to one of the popular girls from school.
Amy Matthews meet Geraci at the fence with a level of enthusiasm normally reserved for a teen idol. “Steve, wow, it’s great to see you. Do you work here?”
Steve smiled and nodded yes. “Earning money to help pay for college. Hope to go to Penn State’s main campus after graduation.”
Amy giggled. “You are always thinking ahead. My dad wishes I were more industrious like you.”
Geraci turned a little red. Roger Matthews, the father of Amy, was a country club member that he had caddied for during the summer. Matthews was an executive at GlaxoSmithKline, a big pharmaceutical company with operations in the Gladwyne area and was a self-made man. He had taken a liking to Geraci after hearing that he was saving money for college. By comparison, the senior Matthews felt his daughter was drifting without ambition.
“That’s not fair Amy. You work hard.”
“Not as hard as you. You get good grades and deserve it.”
Geraci turned slightly away to shield his embarrassment from the young girl. In doing so, he noticed that the lifeguard was waving frantically at him to “move on”. His infraction of country club rules was becoming more obvious and he knew that he had to somehow wrap things up with Amy to avoid trouble.
“Hey, it’s great to see you Amy. But Larry and I have to take off to meet some friends at the mall. Hope to see you again really soon.”
Amy frowned in disappointment but mouth the words “call me sometime” as he left. Call her? A popular girl like Amy? The thought of doing so made him nervous, nervous enough that he nearly wet himself just thinking of the idea.
The next day, Steve Geraci found himself in the uncomfortable position of explaining to Caddy Master Armand Mastrangelo why he had broken country club rules the day before. The old Italian was generally sympathetic to Steve’s story and he liked the young boy who reminded him of himself.
“Just don’t let it happen again, OK.”
Geraci nodded yes, wondering how he was supposed to avoid catching the girl’s attention since he had to walk by the pool to get to his car. He decided to worry about all this later.
The caddying was easier that day due to reduced heat and Geraci went home physically feeling better. He dropped to the floor of his living room and put a Three Dog Night album on his small stereo system. Laying between two extremely small speakers, Geraci softly sang along with the song “Eli’s Coming”. He didn’t notice his Mom coming into the room.
Nudging him gently in his side, his Mom gestured that he had a phone call. “And it’s from a girl,” she said looking curious. Calls from girls were rarer than Da Vinci paintings for Geraci so he was anxious to get this one.
“Can I take it upstairs?”
Geraci’s Mom nodded yes and he rush up to the master bedroom to take the call. It was from Amy.
“I just heard you got into trouble because you talked to me at the pool.”
Geraci grimaced. What should he tell her? Sometimes the truth works best.
“Well, the country club has a policy that employees aren’t supposed to socialize with the daughters of club members. I guess they don’t want us trying to hit on you guys.”
“But you’re my friend. We go to school together. What am I supposed to do, just ignore you?
Geraci smirked on the other end of the line. Yes, he thought, that is exactly what they want you to do. I am lower class in their minds and you are not supposed to even acknowledge that I exist.
“I know this sounds bad but those are the rules.”
“Well, I am embarrassed that I caused you all this trouble and I want to make it up to you. Do you want to go with me to see ‘Jaws’ this Friday night? My treat.”
Geraci sat on the other end of the line in shock. Do I want to go out with Amy to the movies? Is the pope Catholic? Is the sky blue? Am I hornier than a rhino? Um, skip the last thought.
“Yes, that would be fun. Should I pick you up at your house? And if you are buying the movie tickets, then at least let me buy burgers and drinks afterwards.”
“Then it’s a deal. Pick me up at 7:00 PM on Friday.”
Geraci finally exhaled as he set down the receiver. Holy crap, had all this actually happened?
“Stevie !! Stevie !! Stevie !!”
The kidding at the caddy shack the next day was out of control. Larry Tantalo had told all the caddies that Steve had a date with Amy Matthews and of course everyone knew who Amy Matthews was. The younger caddies were jealous and looked at the socially awkward Steve as someone to admire. The older caddies were all eager to provide advice for the date.
“Now Steve, remember to have her sit to the right of you in the theatre.”
“Huh?” Geraci was clueless about what the older caddy Bob was saying.
“You always want to have the girl on your right.”
“Oh, for God’s sake Geraci. You’re right handed. So you want her to be on the right so you can put your right arm around her shoulder. Then you have your right hand available to do things.” Bob winked several times as Geraci looked away.
“Hey, if you get lucky perhaps you can move from her shoulder…….”
Geraci cut the older boy off. “Hey, enough. She’s my friend, OK?”
“So what are you going to do when you are with her?”
“None of your god damn business Bob.” And with that, Geraci left the caddy shack in a huff. Embarrassed, he tried to collect his thoughts.
Well, he thought, what am I going to do Friday night??
Friday evening came quickly. Geraci drove his father’s 8 year old Pontiac to the Matthews house to pick up Amy. The Matthews lived across town in the more prestigious area of Gladwyne called “Delaware Estates”. The large red brick Victorian had a well landscaped lawn, an oak shingle roof, and an in ground pool in the back. A new, blue BMW convertible sat in the driveway. Geraci immediately knew he was out classed but this was no time to turn back.
Steve waited in the kitchen with Mr. Matthews as Amy finished getting ready. Girls are always late for dates for some reason. When Amy came down, Steve was taken aback. The girl was a mixture of formal and informal. She was wearing light makeup and pale peach lipstick that accented her face so nicely. As for clothing, she had on a Ramones t-shirt and jeans that were so damn tight that Steve couldn’t figure out how she even got into them. He tried not to focus on the tight, smooth jeans but it was difficult not to do so. Well, he thought, I guess those jeans prove that she is a girl…..
The two teens walked out to Steve’s car and being the gentleman that he was, he opened the door for Amy. Amy looked back at the house and sensing that no one was watching, quickly kissed the boy on his right cheek. “You’re always so nice.”
Geraci blushed as he walked to his side of the car. Then he decided to ask her a burning question. “Um, your hair kind of smells like vanilla soda.”
Amy giggled. “Yeah, that’s my new hair conditioner. Like it?”
Geraci laughed. “Yeah, I like vanilla soda.” Well it wasn’t the most enthralling conversation in history but at least Geraci was finding something to talk about as he drove to the theater.
As recommended by Bob, Steve sat to the left of Amy. But his arm stayed at his side as he just couldn’t get up enough nerve to put it on her shoulder.
His one opportunity to hold Amy during the movie was unfortunately squandered when the most frightening scene took him completely off guard. The scene involved scuba diving Richard Dreyfuss exploring the hull of an abandoned, partially submerged ship. When doing so, he peers into a hole in the side of the boat and a severed head pops up in front of him. The scene was so sudden and dramatic that Steve impulsively pulled both of his feet up onto his seat and then grabbed both of his legs with his arms. Amy reacted to the scene as well but in her case, she grabbed onto Steve for comfort and protection. Having Amy’s arms around him was nice but Steve would have preferred being in a more dignified position when it happened.
It’s been more than 40 years since “the date” took place. Steve Geraci is now a mature man, married to someone else. But he often thinks about that summer in 1975 and wonders if Amy still wears tight jeans today…..
Author’s Bio: Tom Schmidt is a Chemical Engineer working in medical diagnostics in upstate New York. He enjoys creative writing and has been published on www.short-story.me, www.fartherstars.com and in overmydeadbody.com.. He is currently working on the “Paul Garigan Crime Mysteries”, a collection of short stories centered around a Malibu based police detective which he hopes to publish in the future. Tom can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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