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Bobby and Mary

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There’s not much to remember about my first formal dance. I was sixteen and Bobby was seventeen. He had worked that summer and saved his money so he could buy a suit. We went together, downtown, to Richman brothers and carefully chose the brown and white checked, sharkskin suit. My dress was gold satin, a design of my own choosing What I do remember is the anticipation, the careful choice of accessories, and the lovely boy.

Our whole relationship is documented on Girl Scout calendars: first date, and important occasions. We double dated with Carole and Don, a couple that we had introduced. Carole and Don eventually married and are still married. Bobby and I broke up one month after the dance, the date, but not the reason, carefully noted on the calendar We went very separate ways and forty-seven years elapsed before I heard from Bobby again. By that time, he had become Robert and I too had shed my childhood nickname and had become Mary. It was the fiftieth high school reunion.

The magic was still there. Robert had a photo of me that he had kept and looked at often. We started a long distance romance, which lasted until Robert disentangled himself from Ohio and came permanently to North Carolina. We go back each September to the class picnic. We’re up to 58 years. I’ve found Carole and Don and have a new picture of us lined up the same way. — Mary McCalllister

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