A Surprising Summer Romance
By Alex Stevens
Summer love stories are often filled with passion and romance as the season comes alive with the beauty of nature in full bloom, and the excitement of increased opportunities for adventure and intrigue. Some summer love stories last well throughout the rest of the year and years beyond, while others do not survive beyond the season. This is my story of a very unanticipated but passionate romance that began early one summer.
I met Doug when I was just out of high school and taking some time off from studying before starting college the following year. I was employed for a local company and Doug was a coworker in my department. Unlike my other coworkers that I got along well with, I found Doug to be very arrogant and argumentive, with absolutely no personality at all. But I was thankful that at least I worked in another area of the facility and did not have to interact with him very often.
Spanky & Our Gang, ‘I’d Like to Get to Know You’ (#17, Summer 1968)
In addition to being difficult to deal with, Doug was also unattractive, with his orange-red hair, large hooknose, and small, beady eyes. He was hardly the kind of guy that women would notice. However, he did have a girlfriend, Sue, who worked in another department, and they would sometimes have lunch together and kiss briefly and hold hands. Sue was a very nice person, and I remember watching them once when they sat at a table near me, and wondering what on earth Sue ever saw in him.
But I didn’t think about this for long. I also didn’t give much thought to Doug except when he annoyed me with his remarks or actions. Little did I realize, however, that this would all change one day.
I eventually left my job and began college. The following summer I returned to my hometown and started to spend time with friends there, including coworkers from my former job. At one of the parties I attended, I was surprised to see Doug. He and his friend came over to where I was sitting. Doug was actually friendly and pleasant, and the more we talked, the more I enjoyed our conversation.
Doug surprised me when he eventually asked me out for coffee. When I asked about Sue, he informed me that they had broken up months ago but had ended their relationship on a positive note.
Spanky & Our Gang, ‘Sunday Will Never Be the Same’ (#9, Summer 1967)
Doug and I went out for coffee a couple of days later. He also took me to a very nice restaurant the following week. Each date led to another. I found him to be a great conversationalist who shared many of my greatest interests. Doug was also an outstanding debater with a knowledge of subjects far beyond anything I’d ever experienced before. He definitely knew how to keep a discussion interesting and challenging. At the same time, he also knew how to listen and be attentive when it mattered.
My summer love story with Doug was filled with constant excitement and anticipation. We frolicked for hours at a time on a small beach we discovered and claimed informally as our own. We took adventurous trips to mystery sites we’d never seen before and attended exciting seasonal events at lakeside resorts. We also simply relaxed at times and listened to the soothing sounds of the ocean. On warm summer nights, we often watched the stars in the skies above and talked well into the early hours of the morning. Doug enjoyed so many of the same passions in life that I did, and he was fascinating to listen to as we discussed many different topics of interest.
It was an enchanting, magical summer as I found myself falling head over heels in love with him. I had never felt so alive and so happy. Every day was filled with exciting things to do, places to explore, and new events to look forward to. Perhaps it is true that love is blind because where I once found Doug unattractive and unappealing, I now perceived him as good-looking and incredibly sexy.
Doug and I spent many days and nights together, and when I wasn’t with him, I was daydreaming about him. He was constantly in my thoughts.
Coworkers and friends were totally taken by surprise when I first started dating Doug. They were even more surprised when they observed how well we got along. Several commented that they never thought that we would become a couple. Nevertheless, they were genuinely happy for us and even jokingly asked when we were going to get married.
We Five, ‘You Were On My Mind’ (#3, Summer 1965)
While being married to Doug was a fantasy I had daydreamed about late in our relationship, the fact remained that we would have to physically part at the end of the summer. I would be going back to college and Doug would be going into the service a few weeks later. So as the summer came to a close, we had to face what we had been putting off all summer and finally admit that our days together were numbered. Consequently, we both made a concentrated effort to make our last week and final moments together the best ever. Then we said our farewells, but vowed that we would stay in touch and get together again as soon as we could.
Unfortunately, while we did write to each other for several months that followed, we somehow lost contact, and I eventually went on with my own life. While I never saw Doug again, I did hear several years later that he’d completed his tour of duty and had married. I also completed my studies and married. But despite the fact that there was no ” happily ever after” ending to my summer love story, I am thankful for the wonderful memories I will always have of Doug and our fantastic summer together as well as for the awesome experience of having loved someone so intensely.
Chad & Jeremy, ‘A Summer Song’ (#7, Summer 1964)
Summer’s Romantic Love
Picnics in summer’s sun, under the oak,
while frolicking heart’s whisper in the breeze,
share more than ants and butterfly kisses
as we two entwine finger’s, lacing touch.
As I peered into your soul that warm day,
I noticed your hand quivering with fear.
Handing my heart’s core more than popcorn then,
friendship’s planting was fertilized in kind.
Smiles, as yours, breathe upon my own soul;
their tendrils so soft and light,barely heard;
yet, seeping within faith’s hope they nourish
and time spent waiting is time well spent here.
I never knew, until you told me now,
how you felt those many, many days past;
the shocking revelation leaves me reeling
and I quake with anticipated moves.
Uncertain of where I have been hiding,
unsure of which direction to travel,
undefined as the woman longed to be…
I am growing closer to knowledge found.
Perhaps it is, indeed, the heated air
or the flower’s bud scenting all of life,
or even honey bees claiming their hives
but I know each breath I inhale within…
that breath nestles me closer to your love,
to belief that I, too, am lovable,
that we could, possibly, have a future
and that forgiveness is granted my pain.
Falling for you in summer’s dancing breath,
I will linger but a moment longer
and pack these suitcases, ready to go…
with you…forward…letting go addiction’s
and all heartache as we embrace the morrow.
Summertime’s romance, growing into love,
is ours this moment, let’s inhale its gift
as exhalations make room for the heart.
entwined, bonded, inseparable by man
traveling a path, unencumbered here
welcoming one another with smooth hands
as, we two, love as summer’s romance grows
Senior Summer & Strawberry Wine
By Kelly O’Neil
t my senior prom, the mournful sounds of Deana Carter’s “Strawberry Wine” floated through the ballroom the prom committee had painstakingly decorated with tin foil stars and blue crepe paper. I was seventeen with a July birthday and Daniel and I were like, so in love. In my romanticized teenage head, it was definitely a sign. As I swayed awkwardly to the tune with Daniel, I knew that this was our song. I also knew that there was no way Daniel and I would ever grow apart. If Deana had had any gumption at all, there would have been more than “a few cards and letters and one long distance call.”
With graduation fast approaching, and Daniel and I “official,” we looked forward to a long summer of parties and picnics. Being young and sweet, I looked forward to long walks and hand holding. What neither of us looked forward to was work. Unfortunately, both our plans changed with the realization that college was expensive and mom and dad were not picking up the tab anymore. Summer was nice, but a big dose of reality was coming our way in September.
Deana Carter, ‘Strawberry Wine’
We saw each other throughout that summer, and both of us talked about that scary relationship topic . . . the future. Fortunately, we both had it all figured out, and we knew that there was no way that work, school, and life would get in the way of our happily ever after plan. Secure in this knowledge, every date was dreamy. You know, not in that ‘real-life’ kind of way, but in that lazy summertime, sigh-inducing first love, kind of a way. Even so, it seemed like no sooner had we tossed our caps into the air, than it was August and we were off to school. Though only a few hundred miles apart it may as well have been thousands. A few cards and emails, and no long distance calls (Daniel was notoriously cheap), and the forever love fizzled.
The next time I saw Daniel, he had been married a few years. She is very nice and I am happy for them. In fact, all that fuzzy summertime love seems a little misplaced looking back. Summer love makes for great music and good memories, but a lot of time that is all it is good for. “Real-life” love may not be as cushy and cocooned, but it can have a much more lasting effect.
My Summer Love Story
My summer love story happened when I was a sophomore in high school. Isaac had transferred to our school the middle of June, because his father had been in the Army and was now retired, and they decided to move during that time. I had been in home room and remember how when he came in our eyes instantly locked in with each other. It was as if we had somehow met before as if we were meant to see each other again at this particular place and at this particular time.
He had taken the empty seat next to me and proceeded to ask me if I would show him around school since he was new. He seemed like a good and bad boy all in one, with his curly hair, white polo shirt, beige cargo pants and timberland boots. I was kind of shy, so I sorted just shrugged as if saying sure I will. I knew instantly that I liked him and wanted to get to know more of him.
We ended up spending all of the end of the year and the summer together, because without me knowing it, his father had rented a house not far from where my parents I lived and I couldn’t have been happier. He had been my summer love. He took me to the movies and took me to the park. We also went to the zoo and the amusement park where he would tell me to get on all the crazy rides with him. Alone or with anyone else, I would never have agreed because of how terrified I was of the rides. But with Isaac, it was different, he made me feel as if there were no fear when I was with him, and as long as he was around he would protect me.
Mel Carter, ‘Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me’ (#8, Summer 1965)
We were a mixed match too, because he was very friendly and outgoing, where I was very shy and nice. He took me to meet his parents and his brother and sister. He met my parents and my sister. His parents thought it was cute that he had a summer love and would playfully tease him about it.
We would sit on the steps of my house and we’d talk and talk for hours about anything and everything. It was a great summer even when on August 28, he told me that his father was moving again and this time it would be a permanent move. I was very sad when he left, that I didn’t even want to go to school. I didn’t want my summer love story to end. But a week after he had left, and a day before school was supposed to start, a package arrived for me. My mom had signed for it and she said it was from Isaac.
The Beach Boys, ‘Summer Means New Love’ (instrumental written by Brian Wilson, from the band’s 1965 album, Summer Days (And Summer Nights); it was also the B-side of the single ‘Caroline, No,’ released in 1966.
I quickly opened it and inside was a tape and a picture of him. I put the tape in the VCR and pressed play. Isaac came up, I guess he was sitting in his living room, and was telling me how he had the best summer of his life and that I made him forget even for just a little bit, the death of two of his best friends (one being his cousin). It had been four of them in the car, his cousin Jack(who had been eighteen and was driving), his best friend Todd who was sitting behind Jack, and Isaac was on the passenger side next to Jack and John had sat behind Isaac.
Jack had been driving under the influence without anyone in the car knowing, and when he was going to make a left turn on a yellow light a car came slamming on his side. The impact killed Jack and Todd and had hurt Isaac and John. It had happened just six months before he came and his father wanted decided to move for a while to kind of clear their heads.
The Four Winds, ‘Remember Last Summer,’ an audacious 1964 rewrite of The Tokens’ 1961 hit, ‘Tonight I Fell in Love’
He had given me his contact information and for a while I had been able to contact him. But after a few years his information changed and I was unable to contact him again. I only had his picture, the one I had taken when we had gone to the amusement park. I still think about him at times and I have heard rumors that he got into drugs and was in rehab. But I will never forget my summer love story and I tell it to everyone that wants to hear it.
If you are lucky enough to still be with your summer love, cherish it. If you are like me and you don’t, think about the good times you had with this person, how this person made you feel and know that they will always be in your heart forever no matter how old or with whom you end up. I plan on telling my children about my summer love story when they get older and any grandchildren they may give me.