Although it all happened a long time ago, I can still remember things quite clearly.
She was a young and vibrant 32 or so.
I was an even younger and more vibrant 5.
The hot summer night brought us together at a driver-in theater I hadn't even known existed the day before.
As my eyes played across her face from the back seat of the car, she seemed bigger than life and twice as colorful.
Then everything started going wrong.
For some reason, she seemed to prefer talking to Rex Harrison instead of to me.
Blah blah blah.
I excused myself and went to check out the concession stand, then the playground area beneath the screen.
Her quivering, angry voice followed me everywhere I went.
Blah blah blah!
It felt terribly strange to be out in the night air, playing on the swings with strange boys half my age while her voice seemed to emerge from a million different places and huge disembodied heads loomed over me.
Somehow I made my way back to the right back seat of the right car despite my extreme discombobulation.
It was hard to get comfortable but eventually fatigue worked its magic and I drifted off to sleep....
That would have been back in the summer of 1964.
Here's what the site of our tryst would have looked like back then:
It seemed much more charming at night, with its multiple strings of flashing orange and yellow lights outlining many of its edges.
I suppose I can thank an ad like this one that appeared in the July 20, 1964 edition of the Toledo Blade for bringing us together:
That same newspaper tells me that the movie started at 9:10. Other sources tell me that it ran over 4 hours. All I can say is that it seemed to run much longer. (Part of my brain suspects that it's *still* running and so-called real life is just a desperate, self-generated attempt to get away from it.)
Toledo had seven drive-ins at the time; only one remains. I think this was the only time I was ever at this one. I'm told that it opened in 1964 and could accommodate 600 cars. It apparently closed in 1988 and was replaced with the sort of strip mall shops I doubt Elizabeth ever made an appearance it. (I bet all the better asps steer well clear of the area as well.)
There were three other people in the car with me that night. Of the four of us, somehow I was the one who ended up with the special 48-page souvenir program - my one tangible link to that long ago night.
You can get one just like it for $25 now on eBay. That's like paying someone a penny a week to store it for you since the day it was first sold.
(NOTE: There's a notice on the inside back cover that says additional copies can be obtained by sending $1.00 to National Publishers, Inc., 1472 Broadway, New York 36, New York, but... I wouldn't count on it.)
If you ever spent an evening with Elizabeth, I hope you have something even better to show for it.
My own last similar experience with a woman was in 1982 when I met up with Dolly Parton at the Auto-Vue in Sidney, Ohio. Somehow or other, Jeane Dixon never got around to telling me that the part of my life that started in the sands of ancient Egypt when I was just about to enter kindergarten would come to a screeching halt in "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" less than 20 years later. This is just one of the reason why I hate Jeane Dixon.
Now it's almost 30 years after THAT!
Cheesus H. Christ! Exactly how old am I??
*Making a note to figure that out right after my afternoon nappy*