"It is the woman who chooses the man who will choose her."
A man is already halfway in love with any woman who listens to him. -- Brendan Francis
We met at the roller rink. I grew up in a Navy town and a good place to meet sailors, without going to a bar, was the roller rink. Certainly there were families and little kids present, but also lots of girls--and sailors. The rink management accommodated the singles by playing "couples only" segments with the lights dimmed. It was a really odd way to meet a man now that I think about it. I had left home and was working as a live-in care giver. I had never been to the roller rink to meet guys before--my mother would not allow it. I guess girls who did that got a reputation. Yet I knew a couple of girls in high school who went to the rink to meet men and they seemed to have a lot of fun. I wanted to have fun.
The first time I went skating was with some girlfriends. I met a sailor all right, his name was Tex. He got tired of holding me up (I couldn't skate worth a lick.) and he bought me a Seven-Up so we could sit and talk. All I recall about the conversation was vague descriptions of his hometown in Texas and his new tattoo. He scolded me for bumping it as it was still sore. Then he asked me if I wanted to go for a ride. I was pretty naive then, but I knew that leaving the rink with him was not a good idea so I declined, and Tex immediately abandoned me. I wonder how he thought he could do anything without hurting his precious tattoo?
The second time I went skating, I went alone on a Friday night which I believe was May 15. I walked to the rink, which included a hike up a long hill; I must have expected my friends there later--I can't imagine being brave enough to do that alone, but maybe I did. I couldn't skate any better that night than the first time, and I was clinging to the half wall berating myself for thinking I could skate, and he came through the door. I stood there watching him rent and don his skates begging in my mind, "Please, please please!!" Wishful thinking and hoping never worked very well for me, though I have done a lot of that in my life, but that night I got lucky. When Mr. Cute stood up, he glided straight to me and asked me to skate. I told him I didn't know how and he said he would teach me. He had more patience than Sailor Tattoo From Texas, and spent the evening gallantly holding me up, dragging me along, or picking me up off the floor, but I never learned to skate. He could skate though--smooth and easy and he could even skate backwards; I was impressed and he impressed his own kids later on with his skating prowess. I guess he had spent a lot of time at that rink. He still had the energy to accompany on my long walk home--unlike Mr. Tex, he didn't have a car.
His name was Jim Simmons and he was from Oklahoma. He had served in the Navy in Bremerton WA, and after his discharged he returned there to live; he worked in an auto parts store, and lived in a rooming house.
Our first date was the next day. There was a parade downtown, when he got off work at noon, so I met him in front of the parts house. We watched the parade until he got hungry when we went to a cafe where he ordered us shakes and burgers. I had eaten just before meeting him and I wasn't hungry--and I was really nervous, but I didn't want to offend him so I ate anyway. (Geez Louize, Maxie!) After lunch, we walked to the park over looking the bay and sat on a bench and talked. I don't know, I might have talked, but I certainly know he did. He talked about his break-up with his last girl friend, and his adventures since his release from the Navy, and his girlfriend he met in Japan. (Did I tell you I was naive?) He assured me he was a good Baptist boy, (I found out later that he had stretched the truth on that one.) I was captivated by his easy going charm, and attentiveness. This began a whirlwind courtship.