Thursday, June 01, 2006


Secret Crush - Karen of Troy

I had just seen the latest version of the movie, Helen of Troy. This production of the oft-told Homer classic starred Rosanna Podesta and I may have dropped a tear or two while watching this heart-tugging love story. I kept it well hidden, though. I sure as hell didn't want my buddies to see me tearing up in the movie. Why in the hell I went with the guys to begin with, I haven't a clue. Very poor judgment in those days! I should have been there with a date but I probably didn't have enough money to get her in. In truth, I was probably too shy to ask anyone and what would I do after we were in there anyway. I at least knew that you weren't there to watch the movie when you had a fair lass sitting beside you. Afterwards, in my very most secret thoughts, never to be revealed to anyone, I began to come to the conclusion that Helen couldn't hold a candle to the angelic Karen Jensen. Here was a face that could not only launch a thousand ships but, maybe even a million!

Karen was my secret 'Helen of Troy'. One day Rudy Kleingartner, (I had to spell his name for him until we were in the 8th grade), and I were doing about 60 per, heading west toward the high school on 154th St. behind Burien in Rudy's slick blue '48 Ford, (complements of his dad, of course). Rudy was offering me one of his Lucky Strikes (I was out of cigarettes as usual) and as I was taking one out of the pack and engaging the lighter , I caught, out of the corner of my eye, another car coming at us from the right, heading north on about 4th Ave SW. In those days there weren't even any stop signs on these roads. When you were a block out of Burien, you were out of town and in the sticks. The collision was imminent. With brakes locked, we collided, right front fender to left front fender of the other car. I had never been in an auto accident before but it was strangely gentle as the metal of both cars crunched as they began to absorb the shock. Thankfully no one was hurt but, who should pop out of the other car, much to my pleasure and chagrin, driving her daddy's Buick, but Karen Jensen? I had always wanted to run into her but not quite this way. Nobody was angry. We just shot the breeze until a cop showed up. I kept trying to think of a good opening to ask her for a date but, of course, none came to me. I think I did get the last word in as we were parting, after the official info had been exchanged, as I quipped, "Hope we run into each other again soon!" I don't think I even realized at the time, the pun, but she sure gave me a funny look. I think she may have gone with Ronnie Quinill for a while and Pete Johnson, too, but my memory isn't clear on that. I doubt she even knew I existed.

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