With apologies to Jimmy Durante for hijacking the closing line from his 1955 TV program, every July 20th I revisit an unforgettable 1969 marker in my life. It is a signpost to an uncomplicated and yet, more confusing time: 1969. Back then, I had my “roadmap to success” albeit, a simple one but identical to many young men of the late 1960s. My plan: I would (1) find a girlfriend (2) get a car (3) finish my Senior high school year and (4) if my luck continued, graduate.
Assuming I accomplished goals three and four, I would begin applying to colleges. If my grades were good enough and I was accepted, the US Selective Service would issue me a student deferment classification. This would reverse the increasing gravitational pull on me from the political Black Hole known as the Vietnam War.
However, grades alone were not enough. If you had good grades but your family didn’t have the money to send you to college, you simply were not going to college. Instead, you were going to Vietnam.
Nonetheless, truth be told I had waited too long to begin caring about grades or college. By May 1967, I had already received my draft notice. I had to choose between serving as a two-year draftee in the Army — with a year in Vietnam almost guaranteed — or spending four years in a different armed service branch. I chose the latter and the US Air Force.
A little more than two years later, July 1969, I was home on leave and bravely looked up one of the most attractive Class of ’67 girls and called. Incredibly, she (1) remembered me and (2) agreed to go out with me.
Her name was Karen Mihoch, and in the two years since graduation, she had gone from very-attractive high school girl to, frankly, a fully-grown babe. She was a head-turner; the epitome of the late 60’s “breath-taking” model-quality woman; great body, er, … “lovely figure,” willowy but not anorexic, long blonde straight hair, big bangs, and a micro-skirt (where have they gone?). Her final fashion statement featured white “Go-Go” boots and 1960’s pink lipstick. Whoa.
We headed to the then (and still today) very casual-hip-chic Georgetown Pub called, The Tombs.
We had a great meal and conversation that I thought hinted at better things later. As we talked, a small “portable” television appeared on the bar for all to view. The bartender fidgeted with the antenna (not familiar with the term?) and waited for the set to warm up (not familiar with that term, either?).
In about a minute, (not familiar with the wait?) there on the small screen, I watched a grainy, black and white television picture from the moon fade into view.
Wow, from the moon?
Being a huge fan of aviation and space exploration, I was desperately torn between watching her — and her inviting, porcelain décolletage — or the television. Should I be talking about her last heartbreak (Hey, take a chance on me!), or marveling at man’s greatest technological event ever?
I was sitting across from a heavenly body but, man was on the moon!
Describing the lunar event was CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite. He was uncharacteristically speechless as he watched Neil Armstrong leave his footprints on the moon.
I was near-speechless thinking about leaving my fingerprints all over her.
But, it was not to be. Sadly, she had to be back early that evening (maybe due to her family’s reluctance over her dating a military guy; it was the late 60s, after all).
We watched that historical event along with the rest of the world, and although we saw each other from time to time, we eventually faded from each other’s lives. Life, I have learned, is sometimes like that and I hope her’s has been as rewarding as mine.
But, every July 20th, I revisit “our” moment in time. How can it have been nearly 50 years ago?
I bet she is still a babe.
Good night Karen Mihoch, Wherever You Are