Ralph Higgins

Ralph Higgins
color pencil sketch by Gayle Higgins

Quotes I Like

"If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools."

– Plato


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Embarrassing Teenage Moments

I keep forgetting to update my blog, so I thought maybe this time I’d get personal and divulge some of the most embarrassing things that happened to me as a kid. Like most of my writing, this is off the top of my head.

The earliest thing I can now recall is when I was in elementary school and had a favorite shirt. My folks didn’t have a lot of money and my poor little brother ended up with some of my clothes as he grew. But I did have a favorite shirt. I can still picture it. It had blue and white vertical stripes.

Evidently I wore it daily for at least a week until a pretty girl boldly asked me if that was the only shirt I had. You know…I honestly didn’t think of it until just now, but that girl may have been my wife. She’s blunt and would say something like that. We did go all through school together, although we didn’t meet again and marry until sometime in our fifties. Yep. It could have been her. But now she’s buys my shirts, so she can’t complain. I hate shopping.

Another embarrassing moment was on a first date. I was always shy with girls as a kid and so awkward that my first date with a good looking girl at a drive-in movie was torture. I was determined to kiss this girl, but every time she turned to me, I turned my head in the opposite direction and pretended to look out the window. I don’t think I kissed her until about thirty years later at a class reunion.

But the worst experience was when I walked a girl to her doorstep and I finally got up the courage to kiss her. Unfortunately I closed my eyes too early and missed her completely. When nothing happened after an eternity, I finally opened my eyes with my head sticking out like a turtle, lips puckered and feeling like a fool. She gave me a peck on the cheek and quickly went inside. She gave me instructions later.

It was about that time that I finally kissed another girl in the dark and did it so passionately that I thought that she must think I’m a great and experienced lover. When she started talking and I felt her chin move and my head move at the same time, I suddenly realized I was locked onto that indentation between her lower lip and her chin. How else could she talk while I kissed her? In retrospect, I realize my aim as a kid left much to be desired. Maybe that’s why I was an MP in the Army rather than a sniper.

One last one, then I’ll quit. I never had a lot of money as a kid, although I worked from an early age. And my folks didn’t have money either, so I never had a ’57 Chevy or a ’50 Ford, like the rich kids drove to school. I was lucky to buy a 1939 four door Pontiac for $80.00. This car was old even then. It had a broken motor mount and when you made a left turn the engine would fall over pulling the throttle to the floor with the radiator fan hitting the metal housing. With the racket under the hood, the instant acceleration and squealing tires accompanied by the terrified screams of my passengers, left turns were always an exciting experience.

I remember taking a beautiful blond out in that car. This girl was a 10 plus. Everything went well and suddenly the girl moved up real close to me. I interpreted that as a romantic move until I noticed a small fire under the dashboard. It was very small at first and, although I noticed it, I was too embarrassed to acknowledge it. She didn’t say anything either. It wasn’t long before it turned into a growing flame and when her nylons ( shows how long ago that was.) started melting neither of us could any longer deny the reality that the car was on fire! I pulled over, got out and threw dirt under the dash until the fire went out. Of course the fire went out for both of us that night too and I don’t think I ever saw that beauty again. What a shame.

I guess I was really an idiot with girls when I was a kid, so maybe being an old guy now isn’t so bad. At least my wife doesn’t make fun of my shirts and I think I learned how to kiss, but I’ll have to ask Gayle… because now I can’t remember.


  1. Wow, I can't believe that you were ever shy... I do remember seeing you in that shirt, in photos.. It was a great shirt! I remember your orange Volkswagen, with fondness.. Do teen guys actually walk teen girls to their front doorsteps anymore and struggle over that "first kiss"?? Times have changed... I liked the way it was... Keep up the good work. You can always make me laugh. jj

  2. Jan -

    You helped me get over my fear of girls.

    Thanks for reading my nonsense and adding your comments. Looking forward to visiting you and Graeme in August.

  3. We are VERY excited about you and Gayle coming up to see us! We are anxious to see you both. Nice to hear that it is warming up in Quincy. I think that "sunshine" has a way of making us feel good, all over.. I love to read your "stuff".. None of it is nonsense.. Stop that.. jj