Monday, June 22, 2015

Been There, Done That

Lady Darley would not write to me again until August 19th, 1990, after her trip to America. I never got a call from her. I never saw her. But she never promised me anything, so I can't rightly express any disappointment. As it was, I was too busy working and preparing to head off to college at the University of Missouri.
Dear Chris,

As you probably gathered by now, I have been to America and I am not back at home. I stayed at [your Raytown friends'] houses a couple of days, but I stayed at her house for a month, from the 12th of July until the 9th of August. I had a really good time, and I made lots of new friends I think. Did you know Shaun, Karl, Rochelle, Donny, Raina and Mercedes? Also Jimmy, Deon, James, Erica, Tim and Mike?
I probably did, but with no last names mentioned in her letter, it's hard for me to remember.
We did lots of nice things, like eating fries, milkshakes and cheeseburgers at Winstead's. To the Nelson Art Gallery, to the Oriental exhibition. Shopping at the Plaza and playing at the J.C. Nichols fountains. To the Kansas City Zoo, to Worlds of Fun, to Lake Jacomo and Truman Lake. We went water skiing and sailing. I also ushered for Les Miserables at a theatre in Kansas City opposite Crown Center. I also went to help at the Chamber of Commerce.
She got to play and work a little. My Raytown friend showed her a great time, more than I could've done. Hanging out with girlfriends makes a difference. At least she got a new photo from me.
Thank you for your photograph. I did take my G.C.S.E. exams in May and June. I took English Language and English Literature, Maths, Typing, Sociology, Chemistry, French, History and R.E. My last exam was on June 21st. My results come out on Thursday, and I will have to go to head teacher's and ask if they will let me into the sixth form. If I get good enough results, then I can study A-level, which is a kind of advanced level of study in a subject. I hope to study A-level English language and literature and Sociology. I hope to be accepted into the Sixth Form College.
That Sixth Form College is in the historic Roman town of Colchester. Here's more about it.
I'm sorry that I couldn't see you when I was in America, but I would also like to tell you that I was very busy. Also I never had your telephone number or your proper address. Did I?
I don't know about the phone number, but the question about my "proper address" is quite curious. Does she think I'm having these letters sent to a covert mail drop? A little cloak and dagger exchange of sentiments?

It reminds me of a Peanuts comic strip where Lucy asks Charlie Brown, "What do you and your pen-pal write about?"

Charlie Brown replies, "I usually talk about my country and he talks about his."

Lucy exclaims, "You sound like a couple of SPIES to me!"

Speaking of security and espionage, I wrote in my last letter about a neighborhood incident which involved the girl who lived at the end of the street, in the cul-de-sac that butted up against our backyard.

Tiffany was a cheerleader at my high school, a nice girl who didn't seemed disposed to poor judgment. So the Chestnut Pointe neighborhood didn't expect her to host a party featuring copious underage drinking and unruly behavior. When I saw waves of kids going through the backyard fence, I crashed the gate to find one of my schoolmates, mildly drunk, holding back another one of my peers, skunk drunk and looking to punch somebody, anybody. I retreated back home to observe the growing commotion from inside. The backyard noise grew louder. Kids started throwing empty beer cans in our backyard, where our dog played and fortunately didn't get hurt.

Eventually the bacchanal festivities reached critical mass, and the police showed up. One of St. Louis County's finest waved all the kids out of the backyard. Nobody went off in cuffs, but Tiffany got the assignment of picking up the empty bottles and beer cans.

"You can go back inside," she snorted when she caught a glimpse of me on the deck, having coming out to survey the police response. "The party's over."

I got the full story a few days later from Mike, the neighborhood gossip. Apparently, Tiffany's mom was inside the house during the party, staying out of the way to preserve the cool factor of the festivities, and apparently (no pun intended) she didn't know about the drinking or the number of the people who were going to show up. Meanwhile, my house was probably the only one that did not call 911 to report suspicious activity.

Tiffany's father was not at home at the time, and her mom begged Mike not to tell her dad. Mike told him anyway. Her dad laid down the law: that's the last party you're having at this house.
I'm sorry but I don't think that people had the right to ring the police. If it was her house, I don't think you all had the right to blame her as the people could have come without her knowledge. Perhaps she didn't even know about the drinks or anything. Personally, if I was Tiffany, I would have been slightly ticked off with you. I would have thought that you had thought or phoned the police. Why don't you try and talk to Tiffany again. If you were friends before, try and explain to her. I'm sure she'll understand. But, as I told you, I would have been annoyed with you. At least you did warn her, though, before the police came. So that is one good thing for you.
I warned her? That's another thing I didn't remember. And here's another jaw-dropper...
[Your Raytown friend] told me while I was there that you didn't know each other really. Just that you were in a class together and that you asked for my address, which surprised me because you gave me the impression you knew each other well.
She gave me that impression, too. She gave it to me with her fawning over me, with her breathy "Hi, Chris," with her wanting to hang with me when we were at speech and debate tournaments. Had she just discarded your humble servant when he moved away? Had I alienated her? I'll never know.

Like I said, I didn't have time to care. I was too busy working and getting ready for college, which was going to be a one-scholarship affair rather than a two-scholarship ride after the false hope of me getting the elusive Bright Flight scholarship faded away. The University sent me a letter saying I'd gotten it, only to send me another one saying I hadn't. It had to do with changes in the ACT test between the first and second times I had taken it.
I'm sorry to hear about the mistake with the University of Missouri. But I'm sure you will do o.k. anyway.

Thank you for your tape. No, I didn't have the album "No Jacket Required." But thank you again!

I'm sorry but I can't ring you from England because I owe my parents quite a bit of money on the telephone, and adding on more to it would be silly.

I'm having a writing lapse. My stories seem really bad to me at the moment. But I guess that just comes with time.

Do you like Faith No More? I bought their tape in America.

Have you seen these movies? I caught them in the U.S.
1. Days Of Thunder
2. Presumed Innocent
3. Arachnophobia
4. Ghost
5. Young Guns II
6. Ford Fairlane

That's all for now.

Take Care
[Lady Darley]
I hadn't seen any of those films. I'm working.


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