Following is a story about music and falling in love during college life in 1964-65.
The first time I saw and heard the Beatles sing, was the first time they appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, Feb. 9, 1964, like forever ago.
And just like that, much of the youth of America fell in love with them, and their music. Today, their music is almost as popular in this country as it was back then.
As my youngest son was growing up and became interested in music, he first came to like the Beach Boys, but soon after that, he elevated The Beatles to top place of all the performers he likes, and probably to this day, he likes them the best of all time.
When he was a freshman in high school, he sang the Beatles song, “Something” and brought the house down at that particular music concert.
He went on to initially major in vocal music/performance when he went to college, and ended up with a minor in Music, and a major in communications. While in college, he sang in a number of performing choirs, and sang the lead in several musicals, possessing an amazing tenor voice.
What prompted this post about The Beatles, was that it was playing on my CD player in my car this evening, as I made my way back home to my travel trailer, driving along in the rain, on the beach highway (90), from Biloxi.
As I listened to the boys sing (and sang along with them) during my drive, my thoughts drifted back to 1964 and 1965, when I was a sophomore in college at one of the State Universities in Wisconsin. The spring semester of my freshman year, I pledged a fraternity, and then signed up to live in the fraternity house on campus the fall of my sophomore year.
I remember vividly that the Beatles music was played almost non-stop in the fraternity house that fall semester of 1964, by one or more of the brothers residing there, and, consequently, it was almost impossible to have a quiet study area anywhere in the house at any time of the day or night.
Basically then, it was because of the Beatles and their music being so popular in my fraternity house, that I became almost a fixture evenings at the campus library, at a certain table, every week night, in order to get my school work done, and get ready for the next day’s classes.
I did come to love their music, though, and still do, to this day. It was like deja vou, having the Beatles come to be so well-liked in America, after first having it happen to Elvis, a little earlier.
At the dances and parties the fraternity threw at the house, their music was always played, and usually very loudly.
During that year when I lived at the house, my academic performance wasn’t exactly sterling, to be sure, and I attribute that to a couple of distractions. Also, many of the weekends of that sophomore year, I drove an hour and 45 minutes back to my home, where I tended bar on Friday and Saturday evenings in my parents’ supper club. Not much studying got done those weekends, either. But I did earn a little spending money for the following week at school.
It was during that fall, while studying at that same table in the campus library, that I met and shortly thereafter, came to love, a sweet, little blue-eyed, red-haired, freckled young coed, by the name of Kelly, who was also a sophomore, and was from a small town from north of Milwaukee. Thanks for getting me to the library every night, Beatles!
After meeting and going out a few times, Kelly and I spent a good amount of time together, as much as her and my studies and work times allowed, and became rather serious about each other. One memory I have is from that following spring, on St. Patrick’s Day evening, we decided to drive up to Madison and visit some of the bars on State Street in celebration of the holiday, and both had way too much green beer to drink to be able to safely drive back to the campus. That was back in the days that I actually drank.
So, we ended up sleeping in my car on a Madison street that night, and drove back the next morning, when our blood alcohol levels were much lower. In consideration of the amount of beer we had consumed that evening, sleeping was, um, all we ended up doing in the car. Good thing I had a quilt in my trunk, or we’d have probably froze to death that night.
I could have attempted to drive over to my great aunt’s home on the east side that night, and stayed there, but I probably would have had an accident on the way there.
One night about a month after that St. Patrick’s Day road trip, Kelly sat down to talk with me one night and explained that she had decided to leave school and go back home, so that she could try to discover what she wanted to do with her life. She wanted a complete change in her life; complete. This included leaving our relationship.
I had felt that for some time, she was feeling unsure of herself, in many ways, so it wasn’t a complete shock when it came. She felt bad that I felt bad, but I assured her that I understood, and would abide by her wishes, no matter the pain involved, as I loved her and wanted most of all for her to be happy in life.
So, with a hurting heart, I let her go, and walked away, thankful for the precious time that we had had together. She was a sweet soul.
Shortly after that, I did the paperwork to transfer to another university for the fall semester, partially because I wanted to leave my former campus, and the memories of Kelly, behind, and go on.
As fate would have it, a former high school friend, told me about a student apartment house he and another friend were renting at the college I was transferring to, and my brother and I were able to rent a room on the third floor of the same building for the fall semester.
Coincidentally, the apartment house was located about ten steps off State Street, and only a few yards from the very bars that I had visited the previous St. Patrick’s Day. And, more unknown to me at the time, it was only one block up the street from the high rise student dorm where Blond Girl was living, while she was also a student at the same university.
That fall, in 1965, during one of those weekend bar-tending trips back home from school, one Saturday night, standing next to a Juke box, I formally met, and thanks to God and my gracious brother, then shortly thereafter, came to fall in love with Blond Girl. What a ‘coincidence’ that I had moved to campus that fall, and was now living only a block away from where she was living.
We have been married and in love now for over 40 years, and counting.
One of my good friends here on the coast, Andrea, will understand when I say, that Kelly’s going away, my changing colleges, and moving to within a block of where Blond Girl was living, were ‘God winks,’ so that then I could meet and fall in love with the one I was supposed to be with in this lifetime, Blond Girl.
That definitely works for me.