This little slice of life takes us to the Geissler Estate at Makamah Beach. The year was 1965 and I was dating not one, but both of the Baker twins at the same time. At age 19, I had no idea how volatile that situation could be and had no experience with the competitive sharpness of the female species! What I found out later was just how explosive those girls were behind closed doors.
Surfin' Safari, the endless summer, the topdown, those lazy hazy crazy days of summer beer & chips a the beach and causal dating with the twins. Regular jaunts to the Worlds Fair in Flushing during that summer of 1965. What could be more fun than that? What was I thinking? Clearly, I was not.
Those gals had a different idea of this dating game and the fallout was not pretty. Oh, yeah...I guess there were plenty of arguments up there on the hill where they lived on the old Geissler Estate, a sprawl that was maintained by their daddy the caretaker. I likened him to Clifton Clowers from Wolverton mountain. For those unfamiliar with the song, Clifton Clowers lived on top of Wolverton Mountain and had a "purty young daughter," but...he was mighty handy with a gun and a knife! This song could have been written especially for me.
Now old "Clifton" never threatened me with any kind of bodily harm, but he was an unforgiving and unaccommodating sort of man, and bercame more emboldened with each beer he regularly consumed. His demeanor was challenging to say the least and I guess he considered me a troublemaker.
He finally had enough with the bickering of those two twins and he came to me one day and told me straight up, "you better go home, son, and make up your mind." I literally did have to "say yes to one and leave the other behind." I'm not
sure how many guys can say they've had that experience. Not to worry though, plenty of male folk standing in line to date the twins. I don't guess twin sisters sat out even one Saturday night without a date.
So, life has it's little twists and turns. I did make a choice that day, and 45 years of marriage later (at this writing) Jessie Baker Bruyn is still my best friend. We've been down many roads together...some dark and foreboding, some sunbathed in
euphoric bliss. Like many relationships, success does not come easily. It is something that requires effort, patience and understanding. These are words I heard from elders when I was 19. I had no idea then what they were talking about.
In some ways, I wish I was 19 again and yet, in many ways, I don't. We like to
think that the outcome of our decision making is our own, but, in reality, it's an educated guess and a spirited roll of the dice. For me, saying yes to Jessie was a feel-good "hail-Mary" that panned out.
The song ended, "I don't care about Clifton Clowers, I'm gonna climb upon his mountain in...I'm gonna get the girl I love, I don't care about Clifton Clowers...," I went right up there and claimed her for my bride. In hindsight, it was the easiest mountain in our 45 years together I ever climbed.