I was, by her own admission, her first boyfriend. I didn’t remember, and by the time she told me we were both 16. We were walking home from Reno High, cutting last period; it was ROTC for me, she and her friend Char, were like 4.2 GPA, so they could get away with missing a class or two. I was walking slowly behind them, it was difficult because her friend Char was almost blind. Her glasses were a full half inch thick.
Our paths met up just under the Keystone Bridge, it was still under construction then. I slipped into a fast mode to get ahead of them, when I hear Diane asking me if my name was George. I said yes, a bit puzzled, but flattered; I was never been a kid to be remembered by name.
I turned to look at her; I am gobsmacked ( that term was still decades away, but it works) Standing before me is a tall young brunette. 5’8 or 9 at 16. She has long straight dark brown hair. Her dark brown eyes were two shades darker than Ali McGraw. She was small breasted which meant nothing to me at the time.
Once she realized that I was dumbstruck she spoke out.
“You got into a fight for me in the second grade” she smiled.
“Really?” I stammered.
Diane introduced me to Char, and we began small talk, and finally Char said she had to leave. Suddenly alone with her I asked a question I wasn’t sure I wanted to know. “Did I win?” She smiled and said yes.
A half mile north we get to her street on Whitaker, I have been carrying her books since the Keystone Bridge. She invited me in the house and we talk; she is one of the few girls I could talk to, she was smart. And man was she beautiful.
Her parents aren’t home, her mom is a secretary at Peavine Elementary, and she would be home soon. Her dad worked at the title company on 2nd and Vine. He would be home by 5:30 and then proceed to his basement. Diane gave me a tour, and a peek at Walters’ real love. Covering most of the small basement space are a multitude of radio machines. Walter is a HAM radio operator, I forget his call number. I was invited down a month or two later, when I got to hear Ham operators from England, Greenland, Australia, and Germany, all in less than an hour. In the back yard of the house is a 30 foot tower, it is his receiving tower.
My only mistake that I made that day was that I also met Rob, her boyfriend. She feared that if he found us together he would start fighting. A minute after she said that Rob arrives at the door. Diane introduces us and we eye each other. That began a two decade period that I probably spent more time with Rob than Diane.
Over the next decade I would see Diane often, and then losing touch, once meeting her twenty years later, face to face at Barnes and Noble, she remembered nothing. It was odd that we re-met at a bookstore. One day she handed me a dog-earred paperback book, telling me I might like it. It was ‘The Two Towers’ by Tolkien, which I know consider a major turning point in my life.
Diane was feminine to a fault but she had a ‘screw men’ attitude, brought to the front by her 1964 Pontiac GTO. It was actually a Tempest, but she had modified it into a better than GTO power. I AM NOT SAYING, that she had the car sent to a shop. SHE had modified the car, she bolted on the manifold, and headers. It was well known in town until a fateful night, when she was running free on Huffaker she took a chicane on the road and landed in the front yard of a house on Dewey St. No one was hurt, unbelievably neither was the car.
In her small apartment at one time there was a glass topped coffee table. The glass balanced solidly on the top of a 421 engine block. It was halfway rebuilt, not that She sent it out to be done, She pulled the valves and the pistons, she repalced the rings. Did I mention that she was ‘smart’ and had an anti-men attitude?
It is beyond my mind, that I could know this beautiful young woman; meet and mingle with for decades; I still think of her often.
The oddest thing about this whole memory? I never remembered her having a horse.