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Connie Williams Page:

I don't remember exactly when or where we met at school, or how, but the memories that I have of Connie Williams are some of the most precious of my life.  Like friendly ghosts, I expect and hope that they will continue to haunt me until I am past this life and ready to do some haunting of my own.

 

I don't think it was love at first sight but I'm sure I was attracted to Connie from the time I set my eyes on her.  The first thing I remember though is what I think was our first "date".  She was possibly only 14 (or 15?) at the time and wasn't allowed to go out alone with me yet so we must have agreed to meet at a dance in the Sanford Elementary Gym. It may have been a Valentine's Day dance in 1963.

 

It was snowing lightly and very cold that night.  I got there before she did and watched her and a friend walk up the sidewalk after someone dropped her off. I remember trying to be near her most of the time we were there and to dance every slow dance with her. As many girls did, she danced the fast dances with her girlfriend. Some of the couples were kissing while they danced slow so, when the adults weren't looking so did we.  The feelings I had for Connie back then were all very new to me.  She was beautiful, she smelled good, she tasted good and holding and touching her felt better than anything I had ever done in my whole young life.  It seems that there are just so many first times that we are allowed in our lives and my first time with Connie was one of the best that could ever have been.

 

On the down side, I also remember trying hard not to step on her feet and that I was feeling as awkward at dancing as I was at kissing.

 

At the end of the dance, I was as high as kite as I watched her and her friend run up the sidewalk to the car when she left and couldn't wait to see her again at school. From that time on, even when I was with someone else, I was in love with her.  Whenever I looked at or thought of her or whenever she looked at me with those big, beautiful eyes, my heart would pound, my palms would sweat and I would almost com pletely lose my ability to speak or think coherently.

 

Until she got the OK to date, we met at games and after-game dances and in the hallways at school.  I suspect that I was too ton gue tied to talk most of the time, and she probably didn't notice but I would go out of my way to look for or be near her whenever I could.

 

I think that the first time that we went out alone together was when I asked her to go to a drive-in movie. I waited until the night of our date before I ask my dad to borrow the car and he said no! Begging and pleading with him didn't work so, out of desperation, I asked my best friend Mike Kauppi's dad if I could borrow his Volkswagen and, luckily for me, he said yes.

 

At the drive-in, I know I tried to pay a lot more attention to her than to the movie and I don't know why I remember that the name of it was "The Seven Faces of Doctor Lao" but I do.  The memories I have of my clumsy efforts to make out with her make me smile today but, at the time, I sure wished that I was a lot further along on the Ďmake outí learning curve.

 

By the time I dropped her off at home that night, I found the courage to ask if she would go to the Junior/Senior Prom with me two weeks from then and was awful disappointed when she said that her dad had given her the choice of this date with me or the Prom but not both.

 

It is jumping ahead a little bit but this is what she wrote in my yearbook in the spring of '64.

 

                                     

Max,

                                    No matter what you may think I feel,

                                    I'll always think of you as a dear friend

                                    and one who shared many good times

                                    with me. Always remember those good

                                    times. I wish you the best of luck when

                                    you enter the "outer world" and may you

                                    find the right girl some day.

 

                                    Love you always,

                                    Connie

 

                                    P.S.

                                    I'll never forget

                                    the valuable

                                    lesson you taught me.

                                    Thank you,

                                    I needed to learn it

                                    sooner or later.

 

I wish there'd never been a reason for the Post Script on this yearbook farewell.  There was absolutely no excuse for what turned out to be the most shameful thing that I have ever done.

 

In hindsight, I'm sure that I wasn't smart or mature enough to have sustained our relationship much past high school anyway but my heart still aches when I think about what I did to drive us apart so soon.

 

That offense and the events that led up to it made that night one of the most emotional and stressful of my young life.

 

We were at a dance in the Meridian High cafeteria.

 

Connie was there with her friends and I went by myself and, knowing how strongly I felt about her at the time, I probably tried to spend most of my time close to or dancing with her if I could.  I think I was doing OK at first, until I got carried away and was a little too intimate with her while we were dancing. I didn't understand the effect it had on her and she was very upset with me. I must have been frustrated that she wouldn't have anything to do with me after that so, just to help me get away from the situation, I tried to get friend Bob Davids to leave with me and go cruising. Bob couldnít go so I stayed at the dance.  I should have left anyway.

 

A little later on, Carol another girl I was close to came in upset and crying because she was trying to break off with an older boy who was harassing her and wouldn't leave her alone.  I was still way too charged up and, when her distress got to me, I headed out to confront the guy with Bob Davids pulling on my shirt tail to keep me from going.  Although he was a head taller and probably outweighed me by 30 or 40 pounds, I stopped Carolís ex in the hallway on his way into the cafeteria and said something like "If you want to bother Carol, you'll have to go through me and, though you can probably beat the shit out of me, I'm going to hurt you as much as I can in the process!"

 

Luckily for me, after a long mean look, he stopped and didn't call my bluff.  I don't think I've ever been so brave (or stupid) since but the fear and anxiety caused by that little episode probably didn't do me any good. I was even more angry and upset.

 

I don't remember what happened from that time until the end of the dance except that I must have been so emotionally screwed up and fuming about her rejection of me that on my way out, as she was standing at a locker to get her coat, I walked up and slapped Connie. 

 

Knowing instantly that I had done a terrible thing,  I turned and, cowardly, walked away as quickly as I could. 

 

Screaming as she ran after me, Connie caught up to me outside on the sidewalk and slapped me back as hard as she could. I only wished that she'd been able to hit me hard enough knock me out of my misery for being such an ass.

 

There was no way at the time that I could verbalize those feelings so I stayed up all night that night and wrote a long letter to her in an attempt to apologize and tell her how I felt. The next morning I hitchhiked to her house to let her read what I wrote.  When I got there, Connieís mother, seeming to understand what was going on, cleaned off the table so we could talk.  I sat across from her while she read my note.  I don't remember what was said after she finished reading.  I only know that I left as unhappily as I came.

 

For quite awhile after that, I felt so much guilt that every time I saw her, I just wanted to turn a walk away.  After some of the guilt was gone, most of my contact with her was just watching from a distance.  I have no idea what she was feeling about me.

 

After a long time, we did go out again and, although I remember some of the details about when we went parking, I don't remember what else we did that night or why we never went out again.  Whether it was because I asked and you said no or because I didn't ask again, I donít know.

 

I'm sure she didn't know but it always hurt a little to see her with someone else.  I remember that for a little while, she was going with a neighborhood friend of mine named Dave Schneider.  She also spent some time dating another friend named Bob Pyle and, for some unfathomable reason, I have a clear memory of her looking back at me when I walked by while she was sitting in the bleachers with Bob at lunchtime.

 

I remember a party at Leslie Wetherall's house on a cold winter night when she and a girlfriend skated across the lake to get there.  I tried hard but couldn't get or keep her attention.

 

Another, different sort of memory, is of a summer night when I was driving around Sanford looking to find someone I knew.  I met a new girl that I'd seen at school and asked her if she'd like to go with me to a dance at the fairgrounds. We went back to her house and, after a long conversation with her dad, he said yes and we went.  Although the girl was very cute and seemed to be awful affectionate for a first date, when we got to the fairgrounds, Connie was there with some friends.  The girl I was with kept asking if we could leave soon but that's all I could think about was what Connie was up to so I wanted to stay.  We finally left because the girl I was with had to be home by 11 but it wasn't until she dropped me off that I learned why she wanted to leave the dance early.   It turned out that she had just turned 15 and I was her first date.  Instead of going to the dance, what she really wanted to do is go out and park!

 

On another summer night at Francis Grove there was a DJ who started a dance contest.  I think that I may have started the contest with Connie but she dropped out and I finished the dance with someone else (I don't remember who she was).  I'm pretty sure a guy named Clay Maxwell and his date won the contest. I gave our second place trophy to the girl I danced with.

 

After high school, I spent a year at Utah State University.

 

When I got back to Midland from Logan, Utah, I got a job at the gas station next to McDonald's and went to school part time at the Community College.   That summer, I remember seeing Connie ride through McDonalds with a guy that I didn't know.  I remember feeling helpless to do anything to be with her again.

 

Our last time together when we were young was when I came home on leave from the Air Force sometime in the summer or fall of '66.  I went alone to a dance at a teen nightspot and she was there with some girl friends.  She accepted when I asked and we talked a little while we danced.  I don't know why I remember it but she laughed at something I said when she asked what I had been doing.  She went back to her friends and though I waited to ask her again to dance, she left and I didn't see her again for many years.

 

Our last contact by mail was when I wrote to her sometime in the fall of 1967 and she sent a nice reply.  She was at Michigan State and told me about a big snowstorm that just about closed everything down in Lansing.  The letter is long gone and I don't remember anything else about what she said.

 

I found her again in December of 2002 Ö

 ....but that's another, very different story and unfortunately, it ended too soon.

Here is part of that other story: Max and Connie meet again...

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