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Believe It Or Not Believe It Or Not
This is my first attempt at slam poetry, and I'm excited to film a performance of this piece over the coming day.
Summer of 1974

Summer of 1974

A Story by barleygirl
"

true story . . .

"


I’ll never forget the overstuffed feather bed on the screened-in porch of Freddy’s rustic cabin. That’s where we spent plenty of afternoons during the summer of 1974. It was that kind of fluffy bed where we sank down a few inches upon first landing in a heap of friskiness. Uncommonly attentive to housekeeping, his luxuriously smooth sheets were always cool and clean against my skin.

His cabin was a backroads retreat surrounded by barren squirrel-pocked hills with lonely cow trails carved into heat-baked clay. A scattering of pepper trees adorned with berry clusters blocked the blazing sun from streaming through tattered screens. Still, it was always so toasty we peeled our threads as soon as we hopped out of his powder-covered BMW while a trail of dust settled along the barbwire-fence-lined dirt road. I was surprised to find such a modest dwelling when I followed this winery executive home.

Freddy was the winemaker at nearby Paul Masson winery. His best friend Sam married my best friend Sally a month after she and I graduated from high school. I met Freddy in the proverbial wedding party connection. We were inseparable that summer before I scampered off to University of California at Santa Barbara on an engineering scholarship. Freddy continued to pursue me but I stopped returning his calls when the excitement of college life in a beach town full of tanned well-built surfers completely distracted me.

Many of our evening outings that summer comprised a foursome with our two wine experts guiding two naïve eighteen-year-olds through the intricacies of wine tasting. It all felt so sophisticated after my country bumpkin upbringing. As Sally and I whipped up culinary delights straight out of Fine Cooking magazine, our courtiers served up a variety of vino options complete with eloquent explanations. Every get-together was liberally punctuated by intermissions with each couple kissing and fondling.

But my favorite times were those spent with Freddy in the solitude of his humble abode. Having grown up in the boondocks where no TV or radio signals could reach, I was only marginally aware of various cultural influences such as music. Freddy delighted in sharing his eclectic collection with me as we swapped full body massages moistening simmering skin with almond oil. The most memorable tunes were the early instrumental sounds of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. I still think of those summer romps on Freddy’s feather bed whenever I hear ELP.

Freddy would’ve been the perfect catch. He was responsibly socking away his considerable salary so he could build his dream home with cash up front. Like me, he had no interest in kids. But my wild nymphomaniac phase launched spontaneously in Santa Barbara, a well-known party town at the time, and suddenly all this mature and responsible sophistication started to chafe and bind. Freddy drove hours to visit me on weekends, arriving with flowers, jewelry and wine, but I often ditched him without notice. Eventually he got the hint and presumably nursed his broken heart beyond my awareness.

Two decades later he looked me up as a married man. At the time I was living and working in Sunnyvale, so we met for an extravagant meal in the city and then he hired a sail upon the San Francisco Bay as the setting sun sprinkled the lapping waves with coral-rose sparkles. It was obvious Freddy expected reciprocal payment for his generosity but I was turned off by his pompous self-aggrandizement in conversation. Clearly he felt he was superior to me, having attained a pinnacle in his career, basking in affluence. This was only the first example of how my gut instincts served me well even as I was often clueless and careening through my twenties.




© 2017 barleygirl



Author's Note

barleygirl
It seems Ken Simm and I might be offering dueling stories from the 1970's! *smile*

My Review

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Featured Review

Wow a sad tale this feels. well told and lovely cultural and visual detail. How people change and how we judge one another. I remember 1974 very well as I left home at the beginning of that year and the summer in Surry was glorious and I met my first love. Unfortunately I did not have such instinct despite warnings from my friends and she turned out to be schizophrenic.

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Months Ago

Such an interesting tidbit from a similar period in your own life! Thanks for sharing, as these expe.. read more
John Alexander McFadyen

2 Months Ago

Thank you!



Reviews

I don't know. There are a few two many adjectives for my taste.

The time frame jumps around a bit; in the 1st and 2nd paragraphs we're in the summer, then in the middle of the 3rd paragraph we're at UCSB in the fall, then in the 4th and 5th paragraphs we're back in the summer.

And maybe Freddy's "pompous self-aggrandizement" was in response to being dumped by you in favor of all those "tanned well-built surfers". Or you ditching him after he'd driven hours to see you. So the judgmental tone in the last paragraph comes off as inappropriate.

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Months Ago

It sounds like you have only critical things to say. Thank you for letting me know.
Jerome Malenfant

2 Months Ago

I just don't believe in gushing over a poem; I don't see that as very helpful. I think it is more h.. read more
What a lovely tale of the fleeing feeling of summers past.

I thoroughly appreciate how you take in the audience at the onset with a vivid physical description. You start by taking us into the bed and how that brings back such fond but almost childish memories. And then by the end of the story we are on a boat with the sense of who many of us become.

You mention at the beginning that this is a true story, but I completely fell into my own similar summer story of nostalgia.

My only critique is that your end paragraph makes it sound like putting money away in the prior paragraph is a false feeling of security or achievement. I don't think you are trying to equate the two, but I would have liked maybe something that states a difference between thriftiness and financial arrogance.

But overall I absolutely enjoyed the story.

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Months Ago

I’m honored to hear that my story sent you on your own reverie! To answer your critique . . . in t.. read more
I enjoyed the story. You create wonderful memory and places. You made the story feel real and I did like the ending. I have met old lovers and girlfriends. Funny, after youth leave us. People change. Most time, not for the better. Thank you dear friend. I enjoyed this poem. Made me ponder and think.
Coyote

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Months Ago

Reading your stories about old lovers has given me the courage to tell my own stories about the days.. read more
Coyote Poetry

2 Months Ago

Good to write the stories down before we forget. You are welcome dear friend.
Beautifully described BG.
You dodged that bullet which was fortunate for you both. Those times are what they are and serve to keep us warm later in life.
I hope you'll not be offended but this reminded me of one of me favourite Simpsons episodes where one of Marge's ex boyfriends becomes wealthy and tries to woo her away from Homer.

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Months Ago

I've had my share of "Marge" comparisons (my voice is much smoother, tho *wink! wink!*) . . . but ne.. read more
barleygirl

2 Months Ago

BTW, did you know my name is Margie? Just a coincidence, I'm sure.
Tony Jordan

2 Months Ago

I was aware but had forgotten that you were Margie. My memory is shocking. (Perhaps my subconscious .. read more
I was always going to like this before I saw the name mentioned. (By the way who is Kim?). Then I read first of all of Paul Masson. Have been to a wine tasting there but not in the seventies. Rather in the nineties. Have all Elp's albums, (except the infamous and lousy On the Beach) Was still sad when Keith and then Greg popped their clogs. I know Santa Barbara well. But know Berkley better. And it is about my formative decade. The Seventies. Its obvious the old saw about the sixties, that if you could remember it; you wern't there. Does not apply here. I am so glad it doesn't. I'll have to get reminicing again from this side of the pond. 74 was when I was in France and with an older woman.
This memory write was so special and well constructed. I do more than like it. I love it. God bless Richard Braughtigan.

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Months Ago

I'm such a dufus when it comes to getting names straight! Sorry 'bout that! I love your 70's stories.. read more
Wow a sad tale this feels. well told and lovely cultural and visual detail. How people change and how we judge one another. I remember 1974 very well as I left home at the beginning of that year and the summer in Surry was glorious and I met my first love. Unfortunately I did not have such instinct despite warnings from my friends and she turned out to be schizophrenic.

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Months Ago

Such an interesting tidbit from a similar period in your own life! Thanks for sharing, as these expe.. read more
John Alexander McFadyen

2 Months Ago

Thank you!
Gut instincts are always worth heeding, in my experience! I loved reading this account of your earlier life. True stories always intrigue me.

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Months Ago

This theme runs thru my life, not really being careful about my choices, but looking back I see that.. read more
Uh oh, Ken has competition in the 70s Story genre! So well-written with great detail, connectivity, imagery and period references (ELP-yes!). Good character development with Freddy at his best and worst. Playful, honest, true to the time. Loved it!

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Months Ago

I have found that I can write such vignettes from my past now that I'm old & I don't have an axe to .. read more
Read from one end t'other without so much as even the slightest pause. To be honest, I am not usually one for stories, but for you, I thought I would make an exception & was certainly not disappointed. For a moment, I was back there with ya....N

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Months Ago

That's a very heartfelt compliment, as many on this website do not read the stories. I've learned to.. read more
OK Bgirl. Took me back to many a hot sticky summer of my youth. Hmmmmmmmmmm!! But those are stories for another time. One song jumped out at me after reading this.
'Look at Killer Joe go
dancing with Marie
doesn't he kno...ow
she belongs to me'
Thanks for pulling that from the dustbin.

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Months Ago

I saw a live performance of ELP on TV over the weekend & all these memories came spilling forth! Isn.. read more

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Added on July 31, 2017
Last Updated on August 2, 2017

Author

barleygirl
barleygirl

Central Coast, CA



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Just loving life & sharing my blessings. more..

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