Looking back from 2009-10-17.
[Molly] was a 14 year-old, very pretty girl who visited WPSBC for the day on April 9th, 1974 along with the Lynchburg school choir. She sang low alto with them, and they performed for us in the chapel for an hour or two in the late morning. Then they mingled with us through lunch and some time afterwards.
After they’d finished singing, [Molly] approached me, introducing herself and asking about the silver Braille watch I was wearing. Not that I needed a Braille watch, as I had enough vision to read a print one if I held it close to my eyes. But I’d been borrowing this watch from [Ranaldo] for some time because though it was Braille, you could still see the position of the hands and the numbers through its transparent glass face without opening it or touching it at all. Thus, it could be read visually, just like a sighted person’s watch though it was intended for a blind man.
Indeed, the watch was quite useable (and useful) as a regular print watch. So normally, I never opened it to feel the Braille. But when she asked me what time it was, and though I could very well see it, I snapped open the face and felt its hands with my right index finger and said, 1:45 PM. I made her think I was blinder than I was, because she seemed to be so compassionate toward the blind, if not deeply impressed by them. The more helpless I came across, the more it seemed to draw her to me. In fact, if I couldn’t get her because she thought me sexy, I’d be sure to win her heart via her pity.
She was (a bit overly) amazed and charmed at my ability to accurately read the watch with but a touch of my finger. Yet I wasn’t complaining. I basked in her interest in me, though in retrospect, that may have been a bit exaggerated. However, at that time, my naivety kept me from reading anything negative into her attention. I never thought to peer beneath her mental surface and ask why she was so interested in spending time with me. To me, her attention was as pure as could be. I took it at face value and I really did enjoy her being so close by and, so captivated.
That coupled with the fact that she was even prettier than [First Love] induced me to fall in love with her right on the spot. I indeed wanted to find a girlfriend as well and thus, if I had to pretend that I could see less than I actually did to keep her from leaving my side, then by golly that’s what I was going to do, and I did.
[Molly] and I talked for perhaps fifteen minutes before she had to head home. Yet I could never forget her because in that very short time, [Molly] had become my second love. She was the first girl to say that she loved me without my saying it first. She said it first, and I did not have to prompt her to say it. I’d never heard this before from [First Love], though I’d confessed my love to her several times through cassette-taped letters that I’d sent her the previous summer. [First Love] always held back. She never said ”I love you” to me until years later. But [Molly] was different. [Molly] was openly affectionate; holding my hand as I walked her to the side exit on Bellefield St., where her bus was waiting. In fact, she was the last choir member to arrive and she probably got scolded for being so late, all on the account of me.
[Molly] had long blond hair, and fair skin, and quite the deep voice. Standing several inches taller than I and being quite thin, I was extraordinarily enchanted with her, especially because though she was so good-looking, she treated me so kindly.
To that point in the earliest days of my love quest, the prettiest women had been the most dismissive and uncaring. Encountering a beauty queen who was also kind, up until this day, seemed impossible. But [Molly] was different, and so I couldn’t help but to love her in my juvenile yet profound way. This was a highly illustrative case of love at first sight.
For some hours after her chartered silver bus left our school grounds bound for Virginia and her home, I saw and heard little else but the memories of those wonderful few moments she and I spent together. I relished my vision of her on that mostly sunny but rather chilly early spring afternoon. Yet as the day went on, the joy she deposited on my cheek with that good-bye kiss with which she surprised me, gave way to sadness and longing. She was gone, I had no idea when or if I’d ever see her again, and I missed her.
That day and in the weeks following, I found myself counting the hours since she and I had been together. That was when I learned that one week equals 168 hours, that two weeks equals 336 hours, and that four weeks equals 672 hours. As the weeks accumulated, so too did my gloominess deepen. My stomach grew tight and upset, and I skipped meals here and there, too upset to eat. Sometimes I’d even cry when I thought my roommates were asleep and so, wouldn’t hear my sobs. My concentration in class faltered. The chatter of my friends became irrelevant and at times irksome. [First Love] meant nothing to me while I was pining for [Molly], and the only question I cared at all about answering was: When will [Molly] return?
As the rest of April, 1974 passed, I found solace in my General Electric portable radio that my parents had given me the previous Christmas. Hearing the music distracted me from missing [Molly] sometimes, and many of the songs I came to associate with [Molly]. Some of these included:
- Oh My My by Ringo Star,
- Bennie and the Jets by Elton John,
- Hooked on a Feeling by Blue Swede,
- TSOP by MFSB,
- Come and Get Your Love by Redbone,
- Mockingbird by Carly Simon and James Taylor,
- The Loco-Motion by Grand Funk,
- The Show Must Go On by Three Dog Night, and
- Midnight at the Oasis by Maria Muldaur.
I considered these our songs, though I wasn’t sure if [Molly] even listened to pop music radio. Nonetheless I often imagined the two of us together outside in some plush meadow, enjoying this great music and making great memories while gazing into one another’s eyes, holding hands, kissing, and exploring each other.
One song that seemed to express the same sort of dolefulness throughout that I was feeling within, was Mike Oldfield’s theme song from the movie The Exorcist, called Tubular Bells. This piece (at least, the very much shortened hit single version of it) was pretty but rather dissonant and composed in mostly minor keys. Hearing it always brought [Molly’s] face to mind and made me happy that I loved her, yet sad that I couldn’t really love her, not with her being so far away.
Strangely, I enjoyed hosting this sadness too. Oftentimes after supper, I’d want to go to my 3-person dorm in room #306, wrap myself up in the silence there, and replay in my mind that short April 9th movie of that life-changing first time I met her.
I’d take breaks now and again from this sadness-basking, and turn on my radio. Once when I did this, I heard Tubular Bells while contemplating [Molly], and that event forever locked that song and that girl together in my brain. In fact, through the years and even today, the song always reminds me of her, and thoughts of her always bring to mind that song.
Both song and girl carry to my consciousness a complex fingerprint of emotions, thoughts, and memories, that has never been duplicated since. Don’t get me wrong. Perhaps the intensity of these wonderful feelings I’ve experienced many times. Many women and the circumstances surrounding each, have induced me to feel just as pleasant as the others. But while each lady produces a good feeling inside me, these impressions differ from lady to lady, and are just as unique as the fingerprint. To relate with each of these special females feels wonderful but in a way that’s unique to each one. Each one feels good to experience whether for real or in fantasy, but does so in her own uniquely special way.
Oldfield’s music seemed to distinguish and augment my fantasies of [Molly]; solidifying my vision of her, increasing my yearning, inspiring new thoughts and daydreams of her, and intensifying her attractiveness in my eyes as well as my wishing she could be with me. The music made me love her more.
In this way, the song and the girl both came to have highly special meaning. I liked the song because of her, and at least in part, I loved her because of how my memories of her, combined with the memories of that song intermixed in my head, and made me feel so wonderful yet so sad at the same time. Yep, I had it bad for [Molly], and Tubular Bells, twisted up with the fantasy, sickened me with an achy yet very sweet love. Lovesick I became therefore, for months after our first meeting.
Even to this day, I remember [Molly] each time April 9th comes around, and I celebrate having known her by listening to “our” music; especially Tubular Bells. Every time I play that song, that same wonderful fingerprint of love feeling returns, and I find myself wanting to find a girlfriend all over again, just like [Molly].
I wonder what she’s up to?