For your too kind comment on our piece in The Vinyl District. It was sweet of you. As for our attending an England Dan and John Ford Coley show at an amusement park in the midseventies, what can we say? We did it for a girl. Namely our first love--unrequited of course--Darlene Shrader. We did all kinds of insane things, including taking square dancing lessons, for her. We remember sitting at her house--she lived above the railroad cut that separated the foundry from the cemetery, and actually lived on Cemetery Street--listening to John Denver records. That is some sick shit there. But we'd have done anything for her, including joining the Catholic Youth Organization even though we were a dyed in the wool Methodist. We attended retreats, even went to mass. We'd have become a priest for her, that's how crazy in love we were. We never kissed, that's how chaste our love was. We wanted to--we weren't nuts--but she was so sweet and innocent that the situation never arose. No, we just listened to John Denver records and soaked up her beauty and dreamed of the day we would be together forever. We made excuses to pass her house hundreds of times per day, especially after we got our driver's license and got access to our old man's orange and black ex-gas company truck. Anything for a glimpse of her, and her otherworldly beauty.
What happened? We're still not sure. We suspect it had to do with our discovering drugs. Fellow CYOer Hughie Redding turned us on to pot, and something changed. We went off to college, and that was all she wrote. When we came back on weekends we still saw her, but she was older and we were older and we'd lost the urge to hang out at the CYO, preferring instead to hang out with our new pal Dan Diehl and talk about Jack Kerouac while seeking all the wild kicks his books promised. There was booze and pot and a whole wild America we wanted to know, and Darlene just kind of got lost in the shuffle.
But we still wonder, all these years later, what our life would be like had we settled into a real relationship with her. Would we be bald, with grandkids, and living on Cemetery Street? An insurance agent? Would we still be listening to John Denver records? Or would we have sooner or later gone our separate ways, into a world that doesn't understand the kind of love we shared, the kind that takes you to England Dan and John Ford Coley concerts out of sheer, heartrending obsession?