Summer of ’87. Keystone, SD. Black Hills, hiking to Harney Peak, betting on the dog races in Rapid City, Bear Country, Reptile Gardens, spelunking at both Wind Cave and Jewel Cave.
I mentioned certain songs take me back to that time. Rapid City hosted a number of concerts. Starship, Blackfoot, Ratt, Poison, among others. I even met an alleged member of a sixties pop band. But more on him later.
You’re saying, but what happened after the kiss?
Oh, Jennifer, you drove me crazy. When I said to give me a chance, I meant for you to end the relationship with Clark, then come to me. Yes, that streak of honor running through me couldn’t allow Jennifer and me to betray him. I didn’t kiss her back. The incident affected her, too. She wrote me a long letter telling me about a nightmare she had had a few days later where I ended up killing Clark. She professed her attraction for me, but I think she also found honor and ended up staying with him. We all three were good friends, but I always wonder what might have been… I also wonder sometimes, where she is and if she’s happy.
Alcohol flowed like water during that summer. Parties almost every night either in trailers or some little cavern of the beaten track. Nobody monitored underage drinking; nobody cared. As I said, my supervisor was an alcoholic. One time he drank Everclear straight from the bottle. If Marvin is still alive somewhere, his liver hates him. And no, I didn’t partake. I also didn’t inhale from the water bong a group passed around one night in one of the trailers. Later that night, I realized I would have nevertheless been hauled off to jail had the cops raided the place.
My Great Uncle Lawrence died that summer. A severe stroke hit him in his early adulthood, all but paralyzing his left side. As long as I’d known him, he walked with a brace on his leg and his vision wasn’t the best. He was a dear, caring, humorous man, and I loved him very much. I cried not so much because he died, but because I was a thousand miles away, feeling like I was stranded on another planet.
I loved the mountains, the back roads, the long three miles downhill going north to Rapid City. Unfortunately, I never got to explore the Badlands or the Needles Highway–my pass didn’t include those attractions.
I don’t remember the man’s name, but he claimed to once have been a member of the band The Americans. I found one their cassettes in a discount bin. The cover showed the band and he confirmed the younger version of himself. Was he really a singer or just pulling the boy’s leg? I don’t know.
General Hospital showed up in July to film some episodes. I thought that was so cool. I got to meet Shaun Cassidy, got his autograph as well as the show’s producer and director. My parents taped some of the episodes which aired in August and I watched them when I got home. One of the funniest couple of episodes dealt with a two characters lost in Rushmore Cave and risking death from a cave-in. If you didn’t know any better, you could use your imagination and visualize their plight. They filmed the scene in Rushmore Cave, and I’d visited the attraction a few weeks before. The problem with the plot was that it is impossible to get lost. The cave goes back fifty yards along one path, then returns down a parallel path, with several opening between the two. But it was interesting to see watch the soap and see the familiar sites.
More next week.