I grew up in the Kansas City suburb of Prairie Village, Kansas on a cul-de-sac near 75th and Mission Road. Whoever dreamed up suburbs surely had Prairie Village in mind. It was like living in a park. We had good schools, open fields to play in, a municipal pool complex that was second to none and kids everywhere. My best friend, from the time we moved in, was Jeff. He was Catholic and attended parochial schools but when we weren’t in school we were always together. I think Jeff liked me because I always got blamed when we got caught doing something wrong. He was truly bulletproof and considered above suspicion by all the adults. I, on the other hand, was well known for my wayward ways and everybody suspected me of everything. None of that mattered though when we were together, we just had way too much fun.
I will never forget the summer that Jeff and I met Marti. She was 18 and had been invited by her aunt and uncle to stay with them as kind of a nanny for their 2 little kids. Jeff was 15 and I was 14 at the time and we viewed Marti as a dream come true. She had dark hair, a big smile, curves in all the right places and a complete understanding of hormonal teenage boys. Jeff decided we should tell our parents that we wanted to camp out all summer in his backyard. Since it was Jeff’s idea, it was readily accepted by both our families as a good experience and a great idea. We had ulterior motives of course, but they never suspected anything. As soon as the lights in his house went out for the night we were out of the tent and on our way to see Marti. It was after 10 o’clock and Marti’s aunt and uncle liked to stay out late so we never worried about getting caught. I think Marti actually liked Jeff a lot but she knew we were a package deal so she put up with me as well. She could have totally ignored me for all I cared, I was just happy to be in her presence. I never actually saw anything happen between Jeff and Marti that summer but just knowing it could was more than I could handle at 14. To this day, I am eternally grateful to Jeff for his greatest scheme of all time. Of course, if anybody actually reads this blog, Jeff’s days as the All-American Boy will be over. Somehow, I suspect I will end up being blamed for this, not Jeff. At least he and I will know the truth.
The other benefit of being friends with Jeff was his sister Jan. She was my age and way too cute for words. Jan was pretty straight so I guess I was her one guilty pleasure. We actually dated during junior high a little, movies and sodas and such. I liked Jan so much that I eventually worked up the nerve to kiss her. Being the rank amateur that I was, I’m not sure I even got both lips at once but it was still incredible. I’m fairly certain it was the first kiss for both of us but she was Catholic so I can’t be positive. Just kidding, there were a lot of other Catholic girls I wondered about, but not Jan.
Jeff’s family moved to Phoenix after he graduated from high school. I have to give him credit, he has always stayed in touch, probably trying to stay on my good side so I won’t squeal on him. I did get his permission to write a blog about him but I wasn’t too specific about what story I was going to tell. After 40 years I think the world can handle the truth. He’s still bulletproof and most of our friends won’t believe any of this coming from me. At this point in my life, it doesn’t really matter who gets credit or blame as long as I get the pleasure of remembering Marti.
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