These are Birdie Kline’s stories. She loves to tell them and her granddaughter, CeeCee loves to hear them. I hope you will too. They are fiction, but taken from my real life’s journey.
BIRDIE’S FIRST KISS
Birdie’s granddaughter, Cee Cee, had been begging her to tell her some stories from her past. Her grandfather, Bumpo, was the big story teller in the family and all the grandchildren knew most of his by heart. Birdie had never wanted to upstage him as if she could have any way. But he was gone now and Cee Cee yearned to know more about her grandmother. As they sat on Birdie’s front porch in their rocking chairs, her grandmother began to tell some stories about her younger years.
“My first kiss was most memorable,” Birdie began. “I was about fifteen I think. I met William P. Mackey, III (better known as Booga) at Camp Cheraw. I was attending the Methodist Youth Fellowship gathering there for two weeks. During that time, he followed me around like a puppy dog. He was going to be a Junior and I would be a Sophmore when high school began in the fall. I had a huge crush on him. He was a good looking tall, well built athletic boy with brown hair and big brown eyes. You know, “the jock type” that I liked back then.”
He was from Columbia, but had an aunt that lived in Charleston. He called one day late in the summer after we got back from camp and said he was in town visiting his aunt. He asked me if I would like to go to the movies.
I jumped at the chance. He was adorable, a hunk as you kids would say. Much cuter than any of the Charleston High or Bishop England boys and he had manners. This was my first real date. Charleston boys just wanted to meet you at the movies. They made sure they didn’t have to pay for your theater ticket.
We had a great time, talking and joking around. We settled ourselves in the Movie Theater close to the back. After a bit he sort of slipped his damp hand into mine slowly but surely and let his dangling arm come around my shoulder. I could feel a tingling sensation from the top of my head right down to my toes. I was so nervous that I got all tongue tied and felt slightly nauseated. My mouth was dry and I could barely breathe much less answer him when he spoke. In the darkness of the theater, I could see his adam’s apple move as he tried to swallow. When the movie was over,
No I do not remember what was playing – Mrs Mineva or something like that.
Do you want to hear this story or not?”
Birdie shifted in her chair as if her granddaughter’s interruptions were beginning to aggravate her.
She continued, “After the movie ended, we headed to the local teen hangout, Mr Mike’s on St Phillips Street across from Memminger High School for shakes. I remembered what my Momma had told me about not letting your young man think you were a pig if you ate too much on a date, so I ordered a cherry coke instead. I was starving as he gulped down his hamburger, fries and shake. We left when he was done and I got home well before my eleven p.m. curfew. I knew I would be grounded for life if I was late. My Daddy was so strict and there was no margin for error. I sure didn’t want the wrath of Daddy to come down on me. On Beaufain Street where I lived, our front door was painted dark Charleston green and you entered right from the street. You opened the door on to our piazza which was located on the side of the house. That was typical of a Charleston single house. We stepped onto the piazza and sat on the porch swing being careful not to wake my parents. We talked softly for a few minutes when he admitted that he had a curfew too and had to get going.
“I’d best be getting home or my Aunt will have the Charleston police looking for me.”
I was glad that he had a curfew too. Somehow, it didn’t make me feel as if my parents were treating me like a baby. I walked him to the door. By then, he had gathered up the courage to kiss me good night. I wanted it to be perfect just as I had dreamed about, not like when you played Spin The Bottle at a party. I’d read romance novels and thought his lips would be parted and soft and moist, but since I had never personally experienced kissing a boy, I had just surmised what it would be like. I’d never kissed a boy, but I’d played it over and over in my head. However, I knew I wanted it to be perfect and wanted his lips to be the first ones to touch mine. Just as we embraced and Booga’s dry lips met mine, as if on cue, my Daddy burst through that dark Charleston green door as if he had been outside waiting to spoil my magic moment whenever it might occur. Booga about jumped out of his drawers, (if he had, Daddy probably would have killed him). He was so scared and was quivering and could barely speak. His face turned a shade of ashen gray.
“Mr Parham, sorry sir, it won’t happen again sir.”
“Indeed it won’t boy. Boy get yourself home, NOW.” He looked at me and grumbled, “and you mIssy, (as if he had forgotten my name), you go straight to your room.”
I didn’t even see Booga’s shoes hit the pavement as he ran like the wind during a hurricaine down Beaufain Street. Momma said that Daddy probably scared him into becoming a Presbyterian as I never saw him at any Methodist events after that. I never heard from him again. He made sure that he wouldn’t incur the wrath of my Daddy under any circumstances. It made me mad, not because I cared so much about Booga but I sure cared about being robbed of my first kiss.
When The Citadel beat Carolina (that was before I met your grandfather), I got a glimpse of Booga in his Carolina uniform. Actually, all I saw was his number on the back of his jersey. He was trying to high tail it off the field after the game. When he turned his head, he saw me, he winked.
“I’m still running,” he said. “I knew it was a bad omen for me to come back to Charleston.”
“Good to see you too, Booga.”
When Booga was a senior at Carolina, he was chosen second string All American.
One day, I overheard my Daddy tell some of his business associates, “My daughter, Birdie, dated that young man. Good boy, fine boy.”
What I didn’t hear was how he had scared the bejibber out of him and ran him out of town on a rail. He should’ve told them he personally experienced how fast old Booga could run.
After your grandfather and I started dating, I always secretly hoped that I’d run into Booga when I was with him. During that Carolina/Citadel game, he threw a block on Booga and caused him to fumble the ball. That fumble cost Carolina the win against The Citadel. It was a big deal. Carolina was a power house and The Citadel was just a small school Carolina used to fill up their schedule. No one expected The Citadel to score, much less win the game.
I wonder where old Booga is these days.”
“I can google him for you if you would like.” Cee Cee said with too much enthusiasm.
“Don’t bother, let’s let sleeping dogs or I guess one could say, sleeping Boogas lay.”
But in her mind, she thought I’d like to see what he looks like now that he’s an old man. I know he would remember Reed. Football players never forget any plays in a game that they played in. I know Reed could remember every play, but could never remember where his keys were. I’m sure he would remember Reed, but I wonder if he remembers my Daddy?