1951 #10: Farm Girl
September 19, 1951
Rain came in loud, heavy, wind-blown sheets. Currents of water surging along gutters buried the curbs and collected, forming deep pools around the mouths of whirlpool-like sewers that struggled to swallow the onslaught. Cars slowing to a crawl to make the turn from Lincoln Avenue onto Niles Center Road went hub-deep in the water of the bisecting streets’ lower incline, then, speeding up again, the cars threw curling waves of water as though from the prow of a ship.
The three boys stood back, away from the curb, waiting for a break in the traffic or for the traffic signal to change from red to green. Two of the boys wore yellow slickers over their sweaters. The other boy, Mitchell Lipensky, wore a trench coat. None of the boys wore hats and the hair of all three was plastered flat on their skulls.
One of the boys, “Shit, come on!” anxiously motioned the cars on until there was a slight slowing of approaching automobiles from both directions, then the three boys made a break across the wide street.
The plate-glass window steamed to a pearl-like opaqueness, the one-line neon sign announcing “Roundy’s Coffee Shop” was a blur on the foggy glass.
Shivering, the first of the boys opened the door to the accompaniment of the tinkling bells suspended above the lintel.
“Mule train! Mule train!
“Clippity, cloppin’ over hill and plain!”
Frankie Lane singing from the juke box, the clacking of voices and the clatter of dishes, silverware and rain all blended to make a garbled cacophony of noise.
Dripping water on the linoleum-covered floor, the three boys stepped into the musty warmth of the sandwich shop across the street from Niles Township High School.
“Jeeze, it’s wet out there!” Lowering the collar of his slicker, Jack Brandon shook his head, showering the boy standing next to him.
“Thanks, you dick! I ain’t wet enough?” Bill Westguard pushed the steel clasps through the slicker’s grommets, opening it then, reaching beneath his sweater, into his breast pocket, removing a plastic cigarette case, “Man, do I need a smoke!”
Unbuttoning it, taking the soaked trench coat off, Mitchell surveyed the kids facing him in the booths and those sitting on the chrome and Naugahyde stools alongside the long, Formica counter.
Reaching towards Bill’s cigarette case, “Gi’me one’a those, will you?”
“Shit, Brandon! Don’t you ever buy your own?”
“An’ let my folks know I smoke? Anyway, It’s a hell of a lot cheaper smokin’ yours.” Pulling a cigarette from the pack, putting it between his lips, “Hey, you dick, how’s ’bout a light?”
Flicking his lighter to life, “Jesus, Brandon!” Holding it forward, “Maybe you’d like me to kick you in the chest to get you started, too?”
“Hey, Westguard, don’t be such a wise-ass!” Taking a deep, appreciative draw, smiling at his friend, “Thanks.”
“Don’t mention it, mooch… You want a butt, Mitchie?”
“Yeah, sure.” Taking the offered cigarette, bending his head forward, Bill flicked his lighter back to flame and Mitchell drew the cigarette to life. “Thanks.” Nodding his head towards the row of booths, “That girl there… Either of you guys know her?”
“Who?” Looking. “Which girl?”
“Her,” pointing. “The blonde in the second to last booth.”
“Not me.” Westgard said. “I wish I did.”
“Yeah, I do.”
“She looks kind’a good. How do you know her, Jack?”
“We went to the same grammar school. Her name’s Sally Brockman. Her family’s one of the originals around here. Matter’a’fact her folks still have a farm here.”
“She’s a farm girl?”
“A farm girl? Well, yeah, guess you could say that.”
“What’s she? A senior?”
“Nah, a junior. She was in the class behind me.”
As though sensing they were talking about her, looking up, the girl waved, and for a moment Mitchell thought she might be waving at him, but then realized the acknowledgment was for Jack.
Nodding his head in recognition, “You want to meet her, Mitch?” Jack asked.
Oh, yeah! Draping the trench coat over his arm, “Yeah, I’d love to meet her!”
“Okay, come on.”
Holding the cigarette between his teeth, the up-curling smoker causing him to squint, Mitchell combed his wet hair as they wove through the milling crowd.
She had seen him at a distance in the hallways and noticed him when he came into Roundy’s, and he was the only reason she’d even bothered to wave at Jack Brandon. Watching him now, the closer he came, Oh, yeah! the more she liked what she saw.
The closer Mitchell came, Oh, yeah! the more he liked what he saw:
A round face with light-gray eyes and a small, straight nose, Sally Brockman had prominent cheekbones and—though Mitchell would not see them till she smiled—deep, vertical dimples on either side of her mouth. Her honey-colored, shoulder-length hair was streaked darker where the rainwater had yet to dry and, to cover a high forehead, was worn in bangs. Wearing a light-blue cardigan with a white dickey, the mounds of her breasts were, Oh, yeah! noticeably outstanding.
The girl’s and Mitchell’s eyes locking and brazenly holding, “Sally, hi!” Jack said as the three boys came abreast the booth.
Without so much as a glance at Jack, “Hi, Jack.”
“Uh, Sally, this is Mitchell,” jerking his thumb to the left, then to the right, “and this is Bill.”
“Bill.” Quickly glancing at Westguard, her eyes coming back to Mitchell, “Mitchell.”
Thinking, Oh, yeah, this is definitely my kind of shiksa! smiling his smile, “Hi,” he said. “But call me Mitch, will you, or when you get to know me better, Mitchie, but please don’t call me Mitchell; it sounds so damned formal.”
“Yeah, Mitch, uh,” forcing her eyes from his face, “this is Joan.” nodding her head towards the girl sitting across the booth.
“Hi!” Knowing her friend, knowing Sally was interested in Mitchell, moving to the side, “Why don’t you guys sit?”
Looking about the shop, then back to Sally, “It is kind’a crowded in here.” Mitchell said. “You sure it’s okay?”
“Sure. Come on, have a seat.” Patting the Naugahyde-covered seat, Sally moved aside, making room for him.
Bill and Jack began to slide into the booth alongside of Joan but, stepping between them, Mitchell sat on the outside position, kitty-corner from Sally, causing Jack to sit next to her.
“Jack says your family’s from around here.”
“Yeah. My folks and grandparents have been here forever.”
“He says they’re farmers here.”
Glancing at Jack, “Farmers? Well, yes, they still have the farm. They’re holding onto it because the land’s become so valuable they’re waiting for some developer to come along and make ’em an offer.”
Reaching across the table, pulling the ashtray to him, grinding the cigarette out, “How much land you got?”
“My parents have, oh, ’bout a hundred-fifty acres.”
“Wow! You’re going to be rich!”
Smiling, showing her deep dimples, “That would be nice for a change, but in the meantime we’re living in a fifty-year-old farmhouse.”
“You got indoor plumbing and stuff?” Bill asked, innocently.
“Yeah.” She smiled again. “And toilets that flush and running water and electricity, and all that stuff.”
Pretending to be chastised, “Oh, yeah,” Bill said. “I knew that.”
Laughing, Joan nudged Bill in the ribs with her elbow. “You’re kind’a cute; you know that?”
Turning in her direction, “You really think so, huh?”
Laughing again, “Yeah, I do! Your mother ever have any kids that lived?”
Smiling at the joke, “Nah,” Bill said, “just me. But you’re kind’a cute, too. You want’a go out on Friday?” he asked bluntly.
“You asking me for a date?”
“Yeah. Sure. Why not? So, you want’a go out on Friday?”
“Hey, I don’t even know you! You a nice guy, Bill?”
“Yeah, I am! Ask Jack. I’m a nice guy, ain’t I, Jack?”
“Yeah, sure, for a mooch he’s a nice guy. Ain’t he, Mitch?”
“Yeah, sure he’s a nice guy! Ain’t he, Sally?”
Laughing, “I don’t know. Are you a nice guy, Bill?”
“Hell, yeah! Ask Jack. I’m a nice guy, ain’t I, Jack?”
“Enough already!” Holding her hands forward in surrender, “Yes, okay, I’ll go out with you on Friday!”
“How’s ’bout you?” Mitchell asked Sally. “You busy?”
“Why, sir,” dramatically pushing the tips of the fingers of her left hand vertically into her chest, causing the material of her sweater to strain between the protrusions of Sally’s 36D breasts—which, Oh, yeah, Mitchell looked at appreciatively—“I don’t even know you! You a nice guy, Mitch?”
“Damn right I’m a nice guy! Ain’t I, Jack?”
“Let’s not go through all that again! Okay, Mitch, I’ll go out with you… Hey, if we’re going on a date, you think I know you well enough to call you Mitchie?”
Tickled at the ease of this, “You bet’j’ya!”
“We goin’a double?”
Thinking, I’d love to be alone with her! But, jerking his thumb to the right, “It’s okay with me if it’s okay with them.”
“Yeah, sure,” Bill said. “Sounds like fun. Okay with you, Joan?”
“Joanie. You can call me Joanie. And, yeah, it’s fine with me.”
“Okay, then,” Mitchell said. “I’ll drive.”
“Any idea where we’re going?” Joan asked.
“Don’t know.” Bill looked at Mitchell. “How’s ’bout a drive-in?”
A drive-in. Oh, yeah! But before Mitchell could respond…
Unconcerned, “The passion pit?” actually looking forward to being at a passion pit with Mitchell, “On our very first date?”
Not knowing Sally well enough to know whether or not she was serious, “No, not if you don’t want to.”
Looking at Mitchell, “Oh, no,” she said quickly. “If it’s okay with them, the drive-in’s just fine with me.”
Being a girl that did not have an over-abundance of dates, the thought of a drive-in, and necking with Bill, whom she really did think was cute, didn’t bother Joan in the least so, “Yeah, the drive-in’s okay with me, too.”
Reaching into her coat pocket, finding a scrap of paper, writing on it, “Here’s my address and phone number.” Sally handed it to Mitchell.
“Uh,” Rather than a number and street, beneath her phone number it read, “Rural Road 9A.” “Where is this? How do I find it?”
“Don’t have time to explain now.” Nudging Jack with her elbow, “The bell’s going to ring any minute now.”
Bored with the four-way conversation, Jack looked at his watch. “Jeeze, time sure does fly when you’re havin’ fun.” Standing, he moved off the seat so Sally could pass.
Standing also, “Yeah,” Mitchell said, moving into the aisle, helping Sally on with her coat, “we’ve got to get back, too.”
The door to Roundy’s was now constantly held open by the flow of kids moving out of the coffee shop, into the rain, and back for the remaining three hours of that afternoon’s classes. As they made their way out the shop, “Come on, I’ll cover you.” Mitchell held his trench coat over his and Sally’s heads, but as they stepped outside the wind caught the coat causing it to billow upward. Reaching up, Sally helped hold the makeshift umbrella. Standing closely together, having no place to put his right arm, he put it about her waist and was pleasantly surprised as Sally’s arm immediately went about his waist.
The trench coat flapping in the wind, their arms held tightly about each other as they began across the wide street, Mitchell, badly off-key, began to sing, “Sing-ing in the rain!” And Sally, not quite as badly off-key, “Just sing-ing in the rain!” joined in. Singing, hugging, skipping across the wide street, water sloshing in their shoes and, where they weren’t protected by the trench coat, rain falling on them, “Sing-ing in the rain,” off the street, onto the sidewalk, up the eight stairs, “I’m happy again,” and through the entrance to Niles Township High School. Stopping, each reluctant to release the other, Sally moved her arm first.
As the day was Wednesday and he had to work that night, he wanted to ask Sally if he could see her Thursday evening also, but, Don’t be too pushy, thought better of it.
“Gotta get going!” Running through the hallway, calling over her shoulder, “Call me for directions, Mitch!”
The running motion causing Sally’s well-defined buttocks to shift from side to side beneath her skirt, “Yeah, later!” he called back, thinking, What a great tush! while doing the “male” thing: visualizing Sally naked. Then, realizing that he was about to be late, ran to his next class also.
Always having a hard time in school, the remainder of this day, scholastically, was an absolute, complete loss. Thinking, She didn’t want to let go of me any more than I wanted to let go of her. And she’s a farm girl, and she’s used to seeing things like, uh, cows and horses screwing. Visualizing the size of her breasts when she had touched her chest, God she’s got great tits! And she’s really pretty and, Oh, God!
Visualizing her swaying buttocks as she ran up the hallway… In his sixth period class he had an erection that would not go away and—remembering that day in grammar school when, his hand in his pocket, he had masturbated in class—Mitchell hoped he wouldn’t be asked a question and have to stand.
(A “Becoming” excerpt)