My first co-ed boarding school romance didn’t go as dreamily planned. I was amazed that anyone would be the slightest bit interested in me. The Junior Boys Common Room had two attractions: a valve radio that still worked and ceiling to floor picture windows that gave great views of the driveway. Some girls used it as a promenading feature. So, on both counts, that’s where I was bound to be found.
In 1969, the Top Ten Hit Pickers Pop Parade, to quote Alan Freedman, was dominated by the wonderful Motown music of Stevie Wonder, and also The Jackson Five…but there was also the over-sentimental, injudicious warbling of Donny Osmond. That pubescent crooner lost me my first girlfriend. Here’s how…
First form at co-ed boarding school,
apartheid generally the gender rule;
in boys’ common room most time spent,
picture windows frame pretty girls – heaven-sent!
Emotion-injected, so glad to be alive.
spine-shivering songs: Jackson Five.
Totally naieve, new first-form boy,
subtle clues missed, giggling-girls ploy;
finally, a secret message got through:
“that second form girl really fancies you”!
Such a sweet, dark eyed doe,
distant dark sheds beckoned us so.
One evening, well hidden and illicit,
lying on jump-cushions, kindly complicit;
adolescent electricity fizzed, shock-sparked,
pubescent passion in cobwebbed dark;
my enthusiastic gaze so very blinding,
kisses but no finger button-finding…
Ecstatic, I coyly cuddled Carol
(reader, this romance will soon unravel)
– stupid sweet nothings shyly uttered,
emotional anarchy, vowels very cluttered;
my palms gripped by her white cotton gloves
– damn Donny Osmond and his ‘Puppy Love’!
No searchlight teacher’s torch spotted
our tangle but Carol no longer besotted;
farewell, sweet second-form senior girl;
au revoir, heart-crushing soft dark curls
– why hadn’t this boy just bitten his lip?
Carol concluded: “You’re such a drip!”