I had had a heartbreak, an old romance came to life again, but died in the reality, and I decided to be a confirmed bachelor. I bought a piece of undeveloped land near Lake Stevens, Washington, several miles from Everett, and my brother helped me build a cabin there--eight by twelve feet, with no utilities. I still had my apartment in Everett and was soon to move out into my hermitage, but worried about vandalism out there while working each day at the Everett Public Library. So I looked through the newspaper ads, hoping to find a good watchdog. And there it was--part Shepherd, part Dane, part Doberman, excellent guard dog, free to good home.
As it turned out, the address given was only four blocks up the street. I knocked on the door and heard a horrific roar of a large dog. His barks were so close together it sounded more like a roar. A man opened the door and a big, black, furry, live container of fangs lunged toward me, with a woman holding the animal back with both hands on the thick leather collar. I gazed at the dog, and said with a smile, "He's perfect!"
I hardly noticed the couple at the door, but certainly was impressed by their dog, Roshante. Right then, though, he seemed to want to kill me. So the couple, Micki and Jerry, suggested we go to Grand Avenue Park and play Frisbee with Roshante, so he could get used to me. That dog was one fantastic Frisbee catcher and retriever! He would run out as fast as the Frisbee flew and leap up, catching it in the air. I was amazed! He and I played Frisbee for some time, while Micki and Jerry talked about him. They then drove Roshante and me to my apartment, and I was the new owner of a powerful guard dog that roared.
Roshante was confused at first, wondering where his Micki and Jerry were, and who I was. But Micki came over now and then to visit him outside, and to assure him that all was okay. She and I would talk about all sorts of things, and finally she seemed to be visiting with me more than her dog.
She was different than any other girl I had met. She and Jerry had moved up from southern California, and it turned out that they weren't married, but only living together. Micki had hoped for some sort of commitment, some sort of permanence, some sort of faithfulness from Jerry, but Jerry had repeatedly disappointed her. For years I had been fascinated, infatuated, by hippie girls, and Micki was the most authentic I had met. She didn't use drugs because she could get high without them. And she was remarkably honest. I remember her telling me out in the yard of my apartment that most people she talked with kept looking around, but that I looked directly into her eyes. She was seven years younger than I, and she walked down the street with an easy gait that made her seem carefree. It was like she came from another planet. Her hair was long and straight, but had a red tint, and her skin was that of a redhead, and ever since I was a little kid and my Dad let a red-headed alcoholic named Gladys stay a brief time at our parsonage, I didn't like redheads. Micki's teeth were crooked, too. Things like this turned me off about her, but I was intrigued by her nevertheless, and day and night would wonder why.
I thought about her often. And one day I was out in the yard and saw Micki walking by on the sidewalk, without looking at me, without stopping, and I remember almost panicking and called out, "Hi!" I was relieved and pleased when she stopped to talk with me.
Finally Micki actually came into my apartment for the first time. Suddenly things seemed awkward. Micki seemed shy, and visiting wasn't as easy as it was outside. She sat down on the couch, rather stiffly, and I wanted somehow to break this ice. So I went into the bedroom and found my boffers. Boffers were strong, foam swords with snazzy handles, and came with hand-guards, ear-protectors, and goggles. I had bought them out of the Whole Earth Catalog, where the guy in the ad said, "I'd rather boff than eat." There in the bedroom, while Micki now sat cross-legged out on the living room floor, I put on the goggles and ear-protectors, stuck the boffer handle into the hand-guard, raised the foam sword, then ran out of the bedroom and walloped Micki on the head. She looked terribly insulted, wondering whether to be angry or cry, and I tossed the other boffer and accessories onto her lap. She stared at her sudden armament, then at me, and her eyes lit up. She put on the protectors, grabbed the boffer, stood up, and we had a major swordfight in the living room. The ice was not only broken, it was shattered.
We started going out after that. Our first date was going to a little carnival that had set up down on Broadway, walking distance away, where we rode on the Ferris wheel and other rides. It was while waiting to get on that scary ride with the cages that tumble upside-down that I held Micki's hand to reassure her. This was the first time I had actually touched her. Afterwards we got four-bean salad at Kentucky Fried Chicken and ate it in the cold, windy alley.
It wasn't the most common situation. I would walk over to their house. Jerry would answer the door, and I'd ask if Micki was there. She'd then come to the door, and the two of us would go out together.
The first movie we went to was "Conrack," starring Jon Voight, and during the movie I reached under Micki's shirt and gave her a long back rub. She leaned forward, thoroughly enjoying it, and at some points during my rub, my hand would mischievously move around and rub the sides of her bare breasts. She was such a naturally-high hippie that she didn't even notice my subtle fondling, but it was a dream-come-true milestone for me.
It was time for me to leave my apartment and move out to my hermitage. I borrowed my Dad's little truck for the move. Micki happened by and offered to help me. And she and I together loaded up my things, making several trips to the cabin. I was so impressed that this girl would offer to help me with such a tedious job all day, and it was then that I began to think seriously about our relationship. For a break we went to a restaurant in Lake Stevens, where, at my recommendation, Micki ate an omelet for the first time. She loved it.
While we were hauling stuff into my cabin, I discovered that Micki had lived in Washington for four months, next to Puget Sound, but had never ridden a ferry! So when we were done moving me into my new place, we drove to Mukilteo and took a ferry to Whidbey Island, where we walked on the beach for a long, pleasurable time. We made a teeter-totter with a log of driftwood and played on that, enjoying being together more and more.
Micki would visit me occasionally as I worked in the Everett Public Library. I was an acquisitions clerk in a basement office, and Micki would sit beside my desk just to watch me work. My co-workers there didn't seem to mind, and I certainly didn't. One day I was out when Micki came to visit, and when I got back to the office, Carol, a co-worker, said, "Your little friend was here."
Yes, I was twenty-six and Micki was nineteen, and her carefree bearing made her seem younger, but this was the first time the age difference was intimated, and I rebelled against it. I never noticed it.
For Mother's Day, Dad invited the whole family to dinner at the Black Angus in Everett, and I invited Micki. There she met my family and, to my delight, my family met her. She was my dream-girl from a dream I had never known I dreamt.
On the day I was going to take her up to my parents' house for the first time, Micki wore a see-through blouse, virtually topless! And I said, "You're not going to wear that up to my folks' house, are you?" That indeed had been her intent, and she thought it all very prudish to be made to cover herself more. She did have charming breasts.
We rode up to Camano Island on my motorcycle. We had a nice visit with my folks, and while Micki and I were sitting on the couch together during a quiet lull, Micki reached under my shirt and began rubbing my back. Soon I lay across her lap, and she rubbed my back for a long time, regardless of my parents, who were probably assuming that the two of us had a more serious relationship than they had thought. But all we had done was to hold hands and rub backs.
Riding back from Camano that evening, I was intending to drop Micki off in Everett before riding back to my cabin, but wasn't sure if we were done enjoying that day yet. I hollered back to her in the wind, "What do you want to do now?"
She said, "I want to do it."
My mind shot through a million possibilities of what this meant, and only one kept popping up. I stopped the bike on the quiet road, turned around to face Micki, and asked, "What did you say?"
"I want to do it," she repeated, the tell-tale dimple in her cheek showing.
So we rode into the night to the little cabin, where I lit the kerosene lamp, and she and I climbed up the ladder into the loft. Micki and I made love before we had kissed.
What twilight there is
Is lost from her sight
As she tip-toes her way
Through the lonely mid night.
Her only companion is the voice of the creek,
Her foe’s in the bushes,
Her courage grows weak.
She knows of the pathway
But not of its turns,
She’s stroked by the hands
Of the branches and ferns;
As the little trolls giggle
From deep in the brush,
The big trolls say,
“She’ll find it, now hush.”
“How can she find the cottage at night?”
The little ones laughed,
“There is no light.”
But the big ones were wise,
The big ones were smart,
They knew this girl’s light
Comes from her heart.
The big trolls gathered the little ones ‘round,
And proceeded to tell them secrets they’ve found.
“No matter how gloomy the night is tonight,
Regardless of darkness, regardless of fright,
There’s a feeling she has that rules o’er the rest;
The young man in the cottage will soon have a guest.
“They’ll both be warm from midnight on,
The loneliness will all be gone.
Sweet little ones, please revere
The feeling that we witness here.”
We had known each other only two months before telling our families that we were going to get married, and, feeling it was surely enough time for preparation, for our families' sake, we made our engagement last a whole ten days. The wedding would be in my parents' backyard on Camano Island, and Dad would marry us.
Dad made a beautiful arch in the backyard out of lilacs and snowballs and greenery, spending a long time on it. Mom created a three-tier wedding cake (banana cake). Many family members came, and several friends, including Jerry. My nephew Tom performed "The Wedding Song" during the ceremony. Micki's Mom was her matron of honor, and my brother Paul was my best man. Dad read the love verses in I Corinthians 13 before we took our vows, and Micki and I gripped our hands together. Micki was going to keep a penny in her shoe "for luck," but was barefoot, so taped the penny to her bare sole. It was a wonderfully happy day.