Thursday, July 10, 2014

My first love on Find-A-Grave

Find-A-Grave is a website I've up 'til now associated with celebrities; I've looked up "Joan Crawford" there, for instance, and left a couple of "in memoriam" messages on her death date over the years.

Today was a slow day at work and I randomly typed in to "Find-A-Grave" the name of a girl I loved in 1983, when I was a Senior and she, a Junior at our high school.

In our 8 months of knowing each other in the Spring/Summer of '83, we:

saw "Frances" twice together (we later went to Fort Worth's Ridgmar Mall and had T-shirts made: "Frances Lives");

played the White Album backwards and listened to Lennon together (she was not that into solo Lennon but kindly went along with my excitement over finding the "Some Time in New York City" album -- also at Ridgmar Mall -- and then put up with my insisting on listening to it OVER AND OVER AGAIN);

wrote a punk song together ("He's a Geek [of the Pencil-Necked Variety]" -- the title of which she later paid to have immortalized on matchbook covers and sent me dozens of once I'd gone off to college).

There are dozens of other things, some of which I've written about here before. (A favorite memory will always be when I spent the night at her house one time and I, wearing a big, floppy T-shirt, accidentally stood over an upstairs air vent, which blew my shirt up... "I feel like Marilyn Monroe!" I said. And she laughed. Getting the reference, getting me.)

At the time, at 17, I thought such a connection (though new to me at the time) must be commonplace among adults... I thought I'd find exactly the same feeling over and over again. Once I went off to college; once I had sex. I did not.

I remember her showing up at the doorway of the stock-room of the K-Mart where I was a part-time teen worker... She'd greased her hair back with Vaseline (this was '83, pre-gel) and had on a "punk-looking" shirt and a shy smile on her face, peering around the corner to see my reaction... That look on her face is a permanent snapshot in my mind.

I also remember us wearing our then-trendy "Japanese-looking" off-the-shoulder sweatshirts when we went into our town's 7-11. The cashier said to us: "You ain't from here, are you?" We got a big thrill out of that.

On my way to the state competition for editorial-writing, we tried to sneak her onto the bus... At the last second, our sponsor discovered her and kicked her off.

At my high-school graduation, I had no white shoes to wear. She lent me hers. She played in the school band that was situated to the left of where we graduates were marching to the stage. As I passed her, I lifted up my robe and flashed a leg/white shoe. She laughed.

It all went bad once I went to college in the Fall of '83. We didn't argue or anything; she just met a new "best friend" pretty quickly a month or two later. I'd left for Austin in late-August 1983, and by Christmas 1983, she was completely removed from me emotionally, though we still exchanged Christmas presents that year. (In October 1983, she'd run away from home -- by bus -- to me in my dorm room in Austin; that's a whole other parental-trauma that I had nothing to do with. I had no idea how her reaction to her parents' upset would afterward affect her thinking about me. We were never the same after that, though I continued to try and she "ran off to Austin" a couple of times after that.)

There are hundreds of other things... As I said above, I didn't know at the time WHAT this was. I thought this type of feeling and awareness of another would be a Given for the rest of my life, especially once I got to college, started having sex, etc. After 30 years, I can honestly say that there's been nothing like this.

What was I initially saying? Oh yeah --- the Find-A-Grave site. Which I'd thought was only for celebrities... Not so, apparently. Someone posted there in 2012 a photo of my friend's grave, which I found by accident today. She's buried in Georgia, where her family's from; I'd never seen the grave before: 1966 - 1988. I started crying at work and couldn't stop.

I had been worried about my unhappiness in Austin while she was worried about dying. We'd argued in the past about the existence of God, and while she was dying she wrote me that she now believed. And that she was reading Rilke's "Letters to a Young Poet." She wrote me that she, though I might not believe it, loved me.

Not in regular contact, I didn't find out that she had died until I called her number around Thanksgiving of 1988: Her father answered, and when I asked for Ginny, he had to tell me that she'd died 6 months earlier. He thought he'd already notified all the "Azle People."

Here's the addendum: Songs that Ginny particularly liked in 1983 but that I never wanted to listen to...

Plus any Heart, plus any Prince.

And here's what I made her listen to again and again after my mall discovery ("Fweedom, oh Fweedom!" and "Aye, aye, genocide!" she sang back):

I didn't know what all of this was at the time. I didn't come out until 1989, a year after her death, and then to a simplistic, dumb club dyke "into vampires" who owned a total of 2 books and didn't like the Beatles. Sex, though: I was desperate for it after all of the years of yearning and wondering. But what I got was textbook (as I later learned) S-and-M --- nothing imaginative or sexy or interesting about it, just a lot of dumb posing. No songs shared (except for maybe Depeche Mode's "Violator" album and Siouxsie/Banshees' "Peek-a-boo.") Couldn't have been further from what I'd earlier felt. But this was officially "gay," right? I was supposed to LIKE this, right? If I was to be gay, I couldn't love or be with the girl I wanted to love, but rather had to go with the extremist scumbag -- who was one of the only ones then willing to be gay publicly. Right??

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