If you’d like to read “The Quiet Ones, Part 5 ,” click on the title.
It was the fall of 1958. Eisenhower was president and Elvis Presley had joined the United States Army, instilling fear in the hearts of tens of thousands of young American women. It was the year Iraq became a republic. Egypt and Syria joined forces to form the United Arab Republic. Sir Edmund Hillary planted his flag at the South Pole, and Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce invented the first microchip.
American automobiles still dominated the market, although unemployment in Detroit reached a record 20% in April, and Japanese manufacturers Toyota and Datsun began importing the fuel efficient economy vehicles, that would eventually bring the big three to their knees.
Bob was a sophomore at Texas Tech in Lubbock. Despite his modest, lower middle class origins; he had pledged a fraternity, Phy Delta Theta. It wasn’t as expensive in those days to be Greek, and at twenty Bob had already figured out how to get pretty much whatever he wanted for himself. He didn’t have any student loans, grants or scholarships. Between his family’s modest contributions and his summer wages, he had it covered, but then his tuition was only $75 per semester.
One of the best things about being in a fraternity was their close association with the campus sororities. The Pi Beta Phys were the Phy Delts’ little sisters. The young ladies had chosen their pledges from the freshman class, and were busy testing their metal to determine which would be indoctrinated in the secrets of their orders. Bob and some of his fraternity brothers were also evaluating the new crop of freshmen women in the lobby of the girl’s dorm, when Mabeline came trouncing down the stairs.
She was a slight girl with a charming smile and a demure demeanor, but Bob noticed her right away. Her Pi Beta Phy beanie with her name emblazoned across the back in felt letters, “MABELINE,” announced to the world that she was a pledge. She had a cute shoulder length bob, innocent doe eyes, and the tiniest waist he had ever seen.
“Hey, Susie,” Bob called to a Junior Pi Phy pledge leader, “can I talk to you for a sec?”
“Sure, Bob, what do ya think of our pledge class? They’re a little green, but we’ve got some divine recruits this year.”
“You do Susie. I’d have to say you do. How about introducing me to one of them?”
“Let me guess. I bet it’s Linda. She was a cheerleader back home in Sweetwater, and Prom Queen.”
“I’m sure Linda’s swell, but – “
“Her daddy’s some kinda super duper high powered lawyer, and she gets her hair done at Chez Beaux Arts!! She’s the only person I’ve ever met who can afford that place.”
“That’s very impressive. The Pi Phys sure are lucky to have a girl like that in their -“
“I don’t mean to be a downer, Bob, but – as hard as this may be to believe – I’m not sure she’d go out with you. She’s kinda popular – even though I know you’re not used to taking ‘No’ for an answer. You might need to prepare yourself for the possibility in this case.”
“That’s o.k. Susie. I’m not interested in Linda. I want to meet that girl,” he announced, gesturing towards Mabeline, who was standing primly near the opposite wall, hands folded in front of her, waiting for her roommate to join her for dinner.
“Oh her? She’s really cute, but kinda…understated – not what you usually go for, Bob. I’m surprised.”
“Maybe it’s time to try something different, Susie,” Bob replied.
He’d been right about that, too. Different was just what the doctor ordered. Mabeline had been quite impressed with him at first, and amazed at herself for attracting an upperclassman with a reputation as a charmer. She wasn’t looking for a career. Like most girls in her class, she was there to get her “Mrs” degree. She’d blindly followed the path of “what she ought to want,” – as had he – and ultimately it had served both of them well.
As a couple, they did all the things young Greeks did in those days; toga parties, western hoe downs, and, of course – this was Texas after all – they attended lots of football games. But even more to Bob’s satisfaction, they went hunting. He was delighted to discover that Mabeline was just as comfortable in camouflage, field dressing a deer, as she was in taffeta and gloves at a formal dance.
He thought she was the perfect girl for him, simple and low maintenance, but also classy – a genuine lady, who knew how to let her hair down when appropriate. Of course, there was more to her than that, but they’d been married for several years before he had an inkling of just how much more.
If you’d like to read “The Quiet Ones, Part 7 ,” click on the title.
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