Saturday, November 26, 2016

A Three-Way with Danny and His Boyfriend

Rock Island,  Fall 1969

At the beginning of fourth grade, there was a new boy sitting in the back of the class: short, slim, with brown hair and glasses, wearing a red sweater.

"This is Danny," Miss Johnson told us.  "He just moved to Rock Island this summer.  He wears a leg brace and walks on crutches, so he will need a special friend: someone to carry his books and lunch tray, and play quiet games at recess."

Danny reddened with embarrassment.

"Would anyone like to volunteer to be Danny's special friend?

A boy named Joel shot his hand up. Danny grinned at him -- apparently they had already become "special friends" over the summer.  

But I raised my hand, too, and for some reason Miss Johnson gave me the honor.

Maybe she remembered that I was the new kid last year.  Or maybe she just liked me better.

Joel sat fuming.

For the rest of the day, I carried Danny's books and lunch bag around.  I helped him look up "bats" in the Golden Encyclopedia, showed him the cafeteria and the nurse's office, and carried his lunch tray, while his friend Joel glared at me.

Danny glanced over at him and smiled, enjoying the attention.

The quiet games at recess?  Showing off, doing complicated hanging routines on the monkey bars -- his arms worked fine.

Danny had muscles!  And he was so cute that I couldn't stop looking at him.

Maybe I could get him to come over to my house, and cuddle on the couch while we watched Dark Shadows and Captain Ernie's Cartoon Showboat.  

I didn't get a chance to ask.

Just as the final bell rang, and I started helping Danny collect his books, Joel and Bill approached.  "Danny lives two houses down from me," Joel said firmly.  "I can walk home with him."

"Well -- Miss Johnson told me to."

"That's only in school.  She can't tell us what to do when school is out."

He had a point, but I wasn't going to give up on cuddling that easily.  "You should come home with me," I told Danny.  "I have naked army men, and Mom probably made some cookies."

 Nudity and cookies?  Danny smiled, thinking it over, enjoying having two boys fight over him.

"You have to go up three steps to get in your house," Bill said.  "He'll never make it up."

"Well, we can...."

"And your bedroom is in the basement," he added with a triumphant grin.  He didn't want me hooking up with Danny, either.

So we separated, Danny and Joel heading east, and me and Bill heading north.

The next day, Joel asked for and received the privilege of being Danny's "special friend."

I made one more attempt to hook up with Danny: I invited him to a sleepover at my house, along with Joel, Bill, and Greg the Boy Vampire. Danny didn't come.  I shared my bed with Greg.

At some point during the fourth grade, Danny vanished.  I don't remember when, or why. Presumably he moved: people often started out in Rock Island, because housing was cheap, and then moved to a more prestigious community, like Moline, or Bettendorf, across the river in Iowa.


Joel turned out to be another boy who "liked muscles," my preteen code for "was attracted to boys."  We stayed friends through junior high.  But I never heard anything about Danny.

Until my senior year in high school.

Rock Island, March 1978

On Sundays we spent six hours in church: Sunday school and morning service from 9:30-12:00, and then 6:00 Nazarene Young People's Society, 7:00 evening service and altar call, and 8:30-10:00 Afterglow: a party in the Fellowship Hall with contemporary Gospel music, sodas and snacks, and crazy party games.

It was technically a venue for soul-winning: your unsaved friends, who wouldn't dream of setting foot in a church service, might accept an invitation to a party.

But it was really a Nazarene-sanctioned dating venue.  Boys and girls paired off to go.  You could even bring a non-Nazarene date, in spite of the rule against being "unequally yoked with unbelievers," under the pretense of trying to get him saved.

One evening Cecilia, who lived across the river in Bettendorf, brought an unsaved boy: tall, brown-haired, very muscular upper body.  Wearing a leg brace, but no crutches.  She introduced him as Dan.

Danny, from fourth grade!

I eagerly latched on to him, and peppered him with questions.  He was a senior at Bettendorf High School, planning to go to the University of Iowa and study chemistry. He still did complicated gymnastics, he was in the chess club, and he liked science fiction movies.  He didn't have a girlfriend; this was his first date with Cecilia.

"You know," I said, "Back in fourth grade, I kept trying to get you into my house for a sleepover, but Joel and Bill kept talking you out of it.  I think they were jealous."

He grinned.  "Well, no time like the present.  Why don't you come over Saturday night?  I'll invite Rich, my best friend, and maybe some of the other guys."

"A sleepover in high school? Isn't that a little juvenile?"

"Not if we stay up all night!"

So with our parents' permission, five guys, me, Danny, his younger brother, his boyfriend Rich, and another friend named Steve had a sleepover.

Rather, we stayed up all night, eating pizza, watching Creature Feature, playing Risk and ping pong, doing chemistry experiments, and talking on his CB radio.  

No cuddling or groping, but some incidental touching, and a sausage sighting: Danny and I both had to go to the bathroom at the same time, and he suggested we share.  Average size, nicely shaped.

Danny lived about 10 miles away, and the spring of my senior year in high school was very busy -- and very emotionally intense -- so we didn't hook up again.

I wonder if he's writing a blog right now, and talking about the sausage sighting he got of me.

See also: The Hookup at the Sleepover.

2 comments:

  1. Unfortunately, there's no way to track Danny down today. I don't remember his last name.

    ReplyDelete