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.
In 1967, for thousands of draft-aged guys, the increasing pull from the political Black Hole known as the Vietnam War was palpable. However, with a college acceptance letter, you could get “deferred.” And, thousands did. Those recipients wildly celebrated receiving their “get out of the war free” card.
Understandable; for them, the Vietnam War had just vanished.
However, I had waited too long to begin caring about grades or college, and 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 — 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. It was memorable; great meal and conversation that (in my mind) 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 a full minute or so as the set “warmed up” (not familiar with that concept either?) and then slowly, I watched a grainy, black and white television picture fade into view.
It was from the Moon.
I was already sitting across from a heavenly body but, man was on 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 empathetically talking about her last heartbreak, or marveling at man’s most significant technological event ever?
Describing the lunar event was CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite. He was uncharacteristically speechless watching 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. I have learned life is sometimes like that. I hope her life has been as rewarding as mine.
But, every July 20th, I revisit “our” moment in time as if it was yesterday and then shake my head. How can it have been fifty years ago?
I bet she is still a babe.
Good night Karen Mihoch, Wherever You Are