Our First Date

Wrote this post last month...Thanksgiving weekend. Been hanging onto it because it's the last "good Julie story" that I've got...until my memory banks get stirred. Told ya that I was running out of "material"!

But, since today is December 7th...the anniversary of our first kiss, I thought it a good time to tell you about our first date...

Would you believe that I don't even remember?!

Well, it's true...

In fact, I remember better our first date...that wasn't!

For this one, I believe the month to be November of 1971...but can't swear to that. I do know that it was basketball season, because we were supervising, selling tickets, whatever at a game at the Mescher gymnasium. (And now that I've made THAT assertion, I'll even back off of that...could have been another function held at the gym.)

Anyway, I should be excused for all of this amnesia, since what transpired was infinitely worse...as in "What we have here is a failure to communicate."

Seems that Miss Julie Jones left the gymnasium that evening thinking that I had committed to a date afterwards...that I was going to come by later and pick her up. I remember no such thing...would definitely have NOT forgotten such a thing!

When the "event" ended, I walked home. (I lived on 23rd street, approximately two blocks from the Mescher gym.)

To make matters worse...

When you walk down a public street, you have no control over who might walk with you. It just so happened that a female student evidently lived in the same direction as I and walked away from the gym right behind me. (Poor, naive, young and dumb Ron Newell didn't have a clue until later - when pointed out in no uncertain terms by a young and mad Julie Jones - that this female student had a crush on him.) The student and I exchanged a few comments about school and/or the event for the block and a half to where I made my turn to go home and she continued on her way. THAT'S IT!

Well, evidently after I went home - to do lesson plans, grade papers, watch TV, whatever - Julie Jones went home, freshened up, and waited for me to pick her up for our first date.

As usual, I will digress...

Julie and I had actually "gone out" together any number of times...as many times as school buses left CHS for games during the 1970-71 school year and the 1971-72 school year. Yes...I did my "tour of duty" as bus chaperone. And that was back in the day when we had NO HOME GAMES! Every game was away and the school sent a fan bus to every one.

Again, being a young and dumb - I'm sorry...DEDICATED & ENTHUSIATIC - new teacher, I volunteered for duty. To my surprise, guess who also showed up to chaperone? Yes, Julie Jones. (Since she showed up with the list of students and chaperones, I don't think she was surprised. I accused her years later of being "a woman on the hunt." Julie just smiled...)

Well, as fate would have it...or maybe it was by mutual desire...we sat together. We were very "proper". (I'm telling you once more...we were in our twenties, but were like two shy teenagers "back in the day"...maybe pre-teens!) We each admitted to each other later that we were not at all unhappy when the bus driver would make a sharp turn, causing everyone to lean into each other. Oh, hearts all a twitter!

Okay, back to our (missed) first date...

When I went to school the next day, I passed through the office to say good morning to Miss Jones. Well, she was a might cool...seemed preoccupied with taking care of things on her desk. I didn't think too much about it and went about the business of teaching for the day.

After school, I came back to the office as had become our routine. Miss Jones was STILL not her usual friendly self. Once quitting time arrived for office personnel, she closed up the office and I walked her to the door. That's when she asks me "Where were you last night?" I said "What do you mean? We were at the gym last night?" Julie says "No, I mean after the game?" I responded innocently "I went home. Why?"

That's when Julie tells me that I had asked her out for a date afterwards...and that she had waited patiently for me to show...and I didn't. I honestly disavowed all knowledge of what she was talking about...that I remembered saying no such thing...that I wouldn't ask her out on a date and then stand her up.

Then Julie shifts directions. (Women are so good at that...just when you think you are safe, they get down to the REAL business!) Julie says "What did you do, change your mind? Get a better offer?" I just looked at her dumbly and said "What do you mean by that?" She replies "I saw you walking home with that girl!" I guess I wasn't too convincing when I responded with "What girl?" Julie says "You know what girl!"

Well, our "discussion" went on for some time and ended amicably enough...although the "Jealous Julie" would remind me of that evening and THAT girl on many, many occasions. But, I know she believed me...at least 99.9% believed me.

Speaking of "Jealous Julie"...

The above was NOT the end of the story as far as Julie and I and that "female student" were concerned.

Julie had told me that the student in question had a crush on me. Having my own "self esteem" problems, I laughed it off and told her that she was being totally silly.

Well, sometime during the second semester of the school year, I came down with the "kissing disease". Yep, mono! Missed a couple of weeks of school...was one sick puppy. Although I was skinny back then, I still managed to lose a noticeable amount of weight.

Well, THAT is when my "women problems" began...

Evidently Julie was right about the "crush" thing. And, to make matters worse, the female student in question had evidently noticed the obvious...that Ron Newell and Julie Jones had something going. The student in question decided to make her move. Julie came to my door to pick up attendance one period and as I walked over to hand it to her, the female student remarks "Mr. Newell, your pants just don't fit you right anymore."

Being taken off guard and not knowing how to handle that remark, I just ignored it...not a good choice with Julie standing there. Julie took a hard look at me, turned on her heel, and walked on down the hallway.

I resumed teaching, forgetting all about what had transpired. About a half hour later, Julie shows up at my door and gets my attention. As I approach her, she steps back out of sight of the students, holds out her hand, and lets drop (while holding on to one end) a tape measure! Miss Julie was NOT smiling!!!

Julie says "I told you about that girl! Do you believe me now?"

Well, I was too dumbfounded and embarrassed to say anything. Julie turned and walked down the hallway without saying another word.

After school, Julie and I had a long talk and I assured her that I did believe her now and that I would make sure that I was not alone with that girl, anywhere, anytime.

Years later, Julie and I would laugh about all of this. And, being me, I would go to great lengths to keep the mystery alive...of what REALLY happened after that student and I walked out of Julie's sight on the night of "our first date".