Ever awaken in the middle of the night and suddenly a thought of somebody you literally haven’t thought of in decades decides to permeate you consciousness? That happened to me last night and it involved one Karen Walters.
It all goes back a very long time. In the summer I finished my senior year of high school two friends and I decided to book onto a mini-cruise up the British Columbia coast out of Vancouver. The cruise was organized by a youth-oriented religious group. My friends and I were not particularly religious youths by any means, but we’d heard by scuttlebutt that the craft would be heavily populated by babes from all up and down the coast from southern California to our own back yards.
So, despite our relative godlessness the idea of plethora of suntanned beauties of the sort the Beach Boys sang about was infinitely appealing. And so we booked on. And there were girls. Many, many girls. And, while we were none of us necessarily paragons of urbanity and suavity and all those other Cary Grant-ish elements that females apparently found irresistible, especially back in the day, we seemed, via the odds, to stand a pretty good chance of meeting somebody.
The first girl I chatted up was an excruciatingly cute proto-Valley Girl from Riverside CA (I have no idea why I remember her provenance). That was a dud. She seemed to regard me the way Deborah Forman’s (whatever happened to her?) snotty friends regarded Nic Cage’s character in ‘Valley Girl’. In other words, it was to be a non-starter.
Then, immediately after my snub, I noticed a girl lurking beside a lifeboat. She had a very nice smile. She said something to me, though I cannot recall what, and we began to chat. She was nice and had no airs at all. Her name was Karen Walters and she was from Colorado Springs and was just entering her senior year.
We talked for hours and hours. We also made out just a li’l bit. Just kissing and no fondling or questionable behavior. And at the end of the day, back in Vancouver, we exchanged addresses and vowed to write each other.
And we did. We wrote for quite a long while even though I had linked up with a steady girlfriend in the interim. Anyway, her life started to turn pear-shaped. Problems with her parents, slipping grades, general sadness and I felt bad for her, but Colorado Springs was a long way away. In fact, I wasn’t exactly certain where it was back in my doltish teens.
At one point she was shipped off to her grandma’s because she had threatened to run away. She wondered if she could come to see me. I didn’t think that would happen, and it never did.
I still have her letters and I have wondered periodically how things worked out for Karen. Last night was one of those times.
So, Karen, I was thinking of you. Just thought you should know.
PS: Just a thought on the passing of Lou Reed. Singer Patti Smith says ‘Your Pale Blue Eyes’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcDuR9BF0Oc is her favorite Reed offering. Mine too. It reminds me of Wendy, except for the ‘getting mad’ part. Well, sometimes, but it is about the exquisite eyes.