View Full Version : "Walter, Who Are You?"

01-15-2018, 09:03 PM
“Walter, Who Are You?” she wrote. I felt hurt. But also, ambivalent. She was so bright. So intuitive. She had discovered who I was or, more aptly, who I wasn’t.

I was lonely in those late-1960s. Alone. “A fish out of water.” I was far from Boston. I was teaching history on Long Island. Yet, I was wanting for female companionship.

As I recall, one spring evening, I picked up a computerized dating brochure at a “greasy spoon” I frequented on the Jericho Turnpike.

I remember bringing the brochure back to my apartment. I read it over. I filled out the questionnaire. I sent it in with a $10 fee. As I think back – 50 years later – I was about to experience: “eHarmony in the Stone Age”.

About one week later, I received five names with accompanying telephone numbers. One by one, I called and dated four of the listed names. However, in each case, as they say in baseball parlance, I “swung and missed”. Now, there was but one name left. A woman named Linda; she lived in Manhattan. I called.

As I think back to that late-spring, early-summer, I remember asking Linda if she’d like to go to the movies. I remember arriving her West Side apartment. I didn’t quite know what to expect. Yet, when Linda opened her door, I was pleased. Very pleased. She was attractive. Pretty face. Cute ears.

As we drove to the movies, we engaged in small talk. I remember Linda mentioning that she was working at a children’s publishing company. I could tell from our conversation that she was quite intelligent. Our evening was most enjoyable.

After the movies, we went back to Linda's apartment. I recall that Linda fixed us coffee and apple pie. As I was about to leave, Linda said, “Could you wait a minute, Walter?” I remember saying, “O.K.” As I waited for Linda to come out of her bedroom, I didn’t know what to expect.

About a minute later, Linda emerges. She’s wearing lingerie. She looks luscious. She starts to unbutton my shirt. I’m surprised. We kiss. We hug. I was coming under her spell. Oh, how I wanted to stay. I wanted to stay so badly. But I had to leave. My practical side was prevailing. I had final exams to give out the next morning.

The next time I dated Linda we went to Long Island's Jones Beach. I recall it was a beautiful Sunday morning. As I remember, Linda was wearing a two-piece black bathing suit and a white terry robe. I must say my libidinal energies were building. The Linda I was dating looked delicious.

That previous evening, Saturday, I had been in Boston. I was visiting with my mother and brother. I would later have Chinese food with a friend. I then began my trek back to Long Island. I got started after midnight. I didn’t arrive back on the Island until after 4 am. Yet three hours later I was up. First, I took my morning jog. I then showered and made myself cold cereal. Yet, I was still zonked. Exhausted. That’s part of the story that will unfold.

As Linda and I rode east toward Jones Beach, I could “feel” her presence. It was palpable. As I recall, we no sooner reached the beach’s parking lot then we began kissing and hugging, passionately. Linda’s lips felt like burning embers.

We would continue our amorous behavior in the water. I kept thinking, “This is wonderful! What a glorious day!” You see, my behavior that day was so uncharacteristic. My neighborhood friends – they had known me best -- knew that I could be quite inhibited. Yet, that morning, on that beautiful day, I had morphed into something that I had always dreamed of becoming: a free-wheeling, uninhibited soul.

I remember, after we lathered sun-tan lotion on each other, Linda and I began rolling around on the beach in front of dozens of people. Ordinarily, that would be the last thing I’d do. Not the prim and proper Walter. No way! Yet, the long drive from Boston back to Long Island, the lack of sleep, the blistering sun, they had all had combined to keep me under their psychological spell. I was unshackled. The result was ecstasy.

Shortly after noon, I went to the beach’s concession stand to get us lunch. The usual fare: hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, soft drinks. What I didn’t know then -- that I know now – is that certain foods have a metabolic effect on different individuals. In my case, it alters my blood chemistry. The bottom line: I’m beginning to morph back into the stolid Walter.

Soon after, Linda notices the change in my temperament. It’s then that she writes in the Jones Beach sand: “Walter, Who Are You?” I’m downtrodden. Is this the abrupt end of what had been, up to this point, a wonderful day? Where only an hour earlier we were amorous lovers, we were now becoming “strangers”.

Yet, a few minutes later, Linda takes my red-and-white checkered shirt and puts it on. A “peace offering”. “She still cares,” I think to myself, “despite my warts.” My mood improves.

An hour or so later, we decide to leave Jones Beach. I remember we headed west along the Meadowbrook Parkway toward Manhattan. I recall there were signs everywhere to conserve water (New York was experiencing one of its worst droughts).

Eventually, we reached Linda’s apartment. What would happen next would stay with me, forever. It was one of those interludes in life that well...become indelible. I recall that Linda took a shower. Moments later, I surprised her by hopping into the shower with her. I had to say something so I repeated the phrase that was making the rounds: “Save Water...shower with a friend.” Linda laughed.

Well, the next few minutes were electric. I remember lathering Linda's body with my soapy fingers. I recall squatting and then slowly running my fingers up her torso. For my part, I had become spray-starched. I sensed that Linda was equally aroused. I recall we kissed in the shower. Linda's kiss was so animated that I nearly gagged (I’m a mouth-breather). I remember Linda then saying, “Are you this good in bed?”

Seconds later, Linda exited the shower (I stayed to wash off the last bit of sand and soap). When I found Linda, she was lying in a bed. Her position and pose reminded me of a Goya nude. I recall that we began kissing passionately. Yet there's one thing will stand out...almost 50 years later. Linda began scratching my back with the ferocity that would have given ‘Cat Woman’ a run for her money. I believe she drew blood. I was – quite frankly – unnerved.

Then, wouldn’t you know it, the phone rang. When Linda returned, the intensity we had enjoyed had diminished. Candidly, I was nervous. You see, in those days (I’m trying to tell an honest story) I was a virgin. Yes, a 25-year old virgin. Oh, I had petted, necked and gone pretty far with several women, but I had never had sexual intercourse (I’ll chalk it up to an overprotective mother).

Yet, I do remember having coitus that afternoon. Frankly, it wasn’t pleasurable (it wasn’t Linda’s fault...it was mine). I was apprehensive. I didn’t have any protection. I wasn’t sure if Linda were on the pill or had inserted a diaphragm? I was too ashamed to ask. I was, in those days, both naive and gauche.

Thus, when I had sex with Linda that day, I was petrified. I kept thinking: “If I’m not careful, I’ll ‘climb the ladder’”. If I ejaculate, it could portend disastrous, life-changing consequences -- for both of us. I kept thinking, “I hardly know this woman.” It wouldn’t have been fair, for either of us.

In hindsight, I’m sure I came across as coarse, callous and crass. A selfish S.O.B. that was intent on his own pleasures. That was the farthest thing from the truth. I had enjoyed Linda’s company – very, very much. As I prepared to leave Linda's apartment, I knew I had disappointed her. I felt terrible. The Linda that I had met was an expressive, free-spirited woman. I, on the other hand, had been filled with inhibitions. To add insult to injury, I had, in my haste to leave, forgotten my watch. I needed to retrieve it. When I walked back up the stairs to Linda's apartment, I found it hard to look at Linda's face.

Oh, I’d call Linda one more time, but she was busy. A few weeks later, I would leave Long Island to return to Boston as I had accepted a teaching position in the Boston Public Schools.

Every now and then, especially when I go to the beach, I think of the lovely, young woman I had so briefly dated during that summer of ’68. I hope her life has been good. Yet, as I think about it, I believe that Linda was already sensing who I was, or – more aptly -- who I wasn’t, when on that sultry Sunday afternoon at Jones Beach she wrote in the sand: “Walter, Who Are You?”

Fred Mertz
01-15-2018, 10:55 PM
Does your mother read your postings here, Walter?

How about your wife?

01-16-2018, 12:13 AM
A fond memory, Walt.

01-16-2018, 08:57 AM
Hi Fred,

In answer to your post. Yes, my wife knows about my past pecker-dildos. I've told her about all five of my pre-marital exploits. We call them: "Bedtime Stories". She loves to hear them. This one has a name: "The Shower Girl" (Like The Cowsills: "I Love The Flower Girl").

My feeling is, and always has been: What You Do Before You're Married Is Your Business." Now, after you're married, that's another story. As for my mother, my dear Mother died ten years ago.

01-16-2018, 10:56 AM
This is weird.