That's me with Donna Santoro, my date for the Annual 6th Grade Spring Dance at Forest Park Elementary School. How good do I look? You can't beat a shiny plaid suit with big, gold buttons. Her mom made me take off my glasses "so I would be handsome for the picture." I guess the suit didn't make up for the glasses.
Mrs. Santoro, I was already a foot and a half shorter than your daughter without a single pubic hair on my underdeveloped body. Thanks for the confidence boost.
Donna's older brothers, Tony and Frank, after seeing this photo, gave me the nickname Slits. Slits is the kind of nickname that will stick with a fella. I was Slits throughout junior high school which is not good. In high school, they shortened it to Slit. Slit is an even worse nickname.
That's Mrs. Santoro working in her husband's salvage business. To this day, big Long Island hair makes me big.
Donna and I were not really boyfriend and girlfriend. You had to be a couple to go to the dance and all the nice, Italian boys were taken. I think Donna picked me because I looked more Italian than the other non-Italians.
Turned out that after the dance we spent a couple of Friday nights in Donna's basement listening to 8-tracks on her dad's stereo. Donna and her dad were partial to The Carpenters, The Beach Boys and Chicago (the band not the city). Her favorite single? American Pie by Don McLean. You had to flip the 45 over in the middle of the song because the guy whined about Buddy Holly forever.
I grew up on Long Island and had a dick so my favorite album of 1972 was Led Zepplin IV from 1971. Donna's dad didn't get the Led out.
Donna and I kissed a lot and held hands in that basement. Donna played the flute in the school band. She had serious lips. Outstanding kisser. No, she never played my skin flute, we're talking 1972. The French hadn't invented it yet.
One night I brought over one of my favorite new albums, Jethro Tull's Thick as a Brick because the main guy in Tull played the flute. I decided to give the album to Donna. I thought this considerate, well-thought out gesture might allow me to proceed from the on-deck circle to the batter's box.
Donna wore a gold crucifix that her dad bought her for her christening or her confession or her first communion or something. It was big, with an actual golden Jesus hanging on it. Little Golden Jesus was like 3/4 life size. He used to hang there on his cross standing guard over Donna's desirable breasts. It was creepy. When I slipped my tongue in a little too far or I "accidently" rubbed up against one of Donna's beautiful protuberances, Little Golden Jesus would frown at me. It was magic, Catholic, half-Jew-hating magic.
I thought Jethro Tull would be my ticket to the paradise located below Little Golden Jesus' feet.
Turned out Donna hated Jethro Tull. She hated the name. She hated the album cover -- and I found out she hated Monty Python after I used Monty Python to defend the album cover. Her hate continued. She hated heavy metal. She hated the way Ian Anderson played the flute.
I looked down at Little Golden Jesus, the bugger had a huge Kool Aid smile from from ear to pious ear.
That was my first inkling that breasts and vaginas weren't the only things that made girls different. On the upside, I got to keep the album.
Two memories from the actual dance:
It's really hard to dance to American Pie and not look like a tool.
It's good to be a foot and half shorter than your date when you're slow dancing to Colour My World by Chicago.
Bob "Slit" Melonosky
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