Kat’s Book: The First Date

After I came back from my vacation and got dumped by Florence Amato, I hung out with Jeff Coles girlfriend, Terry Graham, for about three weekends.  Terry and I weren’t dating but just spent time together as friends.  Terry would join Jeff at the University of Arizona in January.  I had lunch with Kat a  few times each week but I  never asked her out.

The first Saturday in October, 1967,  John Holmes, who worked in my unit at DSS, was having a party at his apartment on Gay Street in Greenwich Village in Manhattan.  Each unit at DSS  had five caseworkers and a unit supervisor.  John  lived with two roommates from Columbia, S.A., Eduardo and Bernardo.  John had been to my parents apartment, where I lived, a few times for dinner.  My mom loved John.  John told me I could invite anyone I wanted to the party.   I asked Kat and my sister, Sheila,  if they wanted to attend and both said yes.  This wasn’t a date between Kat and I; more an invitation to attend the same party.  I wasn’t even going to pick Kat up at her apartment.  We agreed to meet on the platform at the DeKalb Avenue train station in Brooklyn at 8pm and go to the party together.    Sheila had something else to do earlier in the day and she would meet us at the party.  Sheila and Kat had never met.

I met Kat at the DeKalb Avenue train station.  She had on a shimmering, green, long  sleeveless dress.  Her hair was in pigtails away from her face; she looked about 16 years old.  She smiled at me.  If ever a guy was hooked, that was me,  at the moment she smiled.   I don’t remember what I said but I was completely flustered.   I got that butterfly feeling in the pit of my stomach.  She was achingly beautiful with a demeanor that lasted our entire life together.  I never had that feeling before and I only experienced it with Kat since.  She was 22+ years old at the time.  We got on the next train that took us to West 8th street in Greenwich Village.  I recovered enough to hold a decent conversation during the train ride.  I should have suggested to Kat that we forget about the party and find a place where we can be alone.  My sister, Sheila, was going to be at the party, she didn’t know anyone,  and I didn’t want to strand her there.

Sheila was 21+ years old.  She looked like a young Elizabeth Taylor.  You could say that I was responsible for bringing the two most beautiful woman to any party in Greenwich Village this October,  Saturday night.  And neither one was my date.  I brought Kat and Sheila into a potential den of wolves, or so I thought.  Regarding Kat, how stupid was I, and how lucky was I?  Everyone mingled at the party but there were no other connections made; not for Kat, not for Sheila, and not for me. I don’t even remember if I took Kat all the way home to her door, after the party.

If you accused me of being brain dead, you would not be far wrong.  I did not know it at the time but John Holmes and his two roommates and every other male at the party was gay.  I had brought two beautiful young women to a gay party in Greenwich Village.  I was definitely very lucky.  Kat and Sheila both said that John’s two roommates were great looking guys.  They could not understand why no one hit on them until the facts were revealed several weeks later.

At the beginning of the next week I asked Kat out on a real couples date for the following Saturday night.  Even a fool is occasionally able to make a wise decision.  Later in the week she told me that her younger sister Deirdre (Dee) and aunt Eileen would be visiting but the visit would not interfere with our date.  Basically, she blew off her sister and aunt for Saturday night to go on a date with me.  They would be staying with her overnight in her $66 monthly apartment near Park Slope, Brooklyn.  Both Dee and Eileen lived in New Jersey.  Aunt Eileen lived in North Arlington and sister Dee lived in Avon By The Sea at the Jersey shore.  They were not used to the noises of the city.  Later the following week Kat told me that they huddled together until she got home about 1am,  Sunday morning.  Kat and I went to a movie in downtown Brooklyn, followed by coffee and cake at a diner not far from her house.   We talked a lot and smiled a lot.  We were having a good time.  Because we had gone to lunch together fairly often over the last month and attended the previous weeks party together we were comfortable with each other.  I suppose there might have been some first date nerves.  There was no question that I wanted to see her again. 

After that night the only woman I would ever again  have a romantic kiss or embrace with was Kat.   There would never again be another woman but Kat in my life, nor another man in Kat’s life but me.

Neither Kat or I ever again dated anyone else after our first date.  Why did it turn out to be that way?  We were totally comfortable with each other; we did not play any “games”  with each other that couples sometimes do.  We never gave each other any reason to be jealous.  Without needing to say anything, we were emotionally honest with each other without any detrimental effects.  We accepted each other the way we were and we continually discovered new things that we enjoyed about each other.  Many small moments were electric and it continued that way for the rest of our lives together.  When I was a kid everything in life seemed like an adventure,  causing most experiences to be wonderful and mostly memorable.  That is how it was with Kat and I.  When even the small things in life seem like an adventure, and life is mostly small things, it doesn’t get better than that. 

File the following  under “sweet revenge”.  Florence Amato was the last woman I had a romantic entanglement with prior to Kat.  About one week after our first real date, in mid to late October,   Kat and I were walking along Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn on a Saturday night, on our way to a movie theater.  In 1967 Saturday night was date night.    As we were walking, who should we see at the corner of Church and Flatbush Avenue, in front of Garfield’s cafeteria, but Florence Amato and several girl friends.  Florence did not have a date.   Florence said “hello” to me as I walked by holding Kat’s hand.  Boy, did that feel good.

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