The party was a HUGE success! There must have been 25-30 kids there…some even Karla didn’t know…but the word got out and kids…out “trick or treating”… just knocked politely on the door and sweet mom, Liz let them in with a welcoming smile…and sent them down the basement.
(Karla’s party was probably the first prototype of the fantastic open house parties to come as we got older. Those parties dotted the streets of our sprawling suburb every Friday and Saturday night in the late fifties and early sixties.
All you needed then was a car and maybe an address…or sometimes you could just drive up and down the streets looking for lots of cars parked in front of a house…with the lights blazing…a dead giveaway.
You just waked in, smiled nicely to the parent…who was usually sitting in the kitchen looking a little shell-shocked…and went wherever her hand pointed…usually to the basement.
Karla’s party had only walk-ins…no cars yet…and we all drank the pop, ate the sloppy Joes, did the little “scavenger hunt” Karla’s mom had organized and then about 9:00 Karla put red bulbs in the light sockets…and a ‘DO NOT DISTURB–THIS MEANS YOU MOM’ sign on the basement door. It was time to have a real party!!!
The plan was to start slow…this was, after all…the first time most of us had been at a party like this…but Karla and I had done a lot of reading…
Spin the Bottle was first and everyone got into a large circle and got very quiet. There was a lot of nervous laughter…from everyone…including me.
Truth or Dare would be last. I had played ‘Truth’ once before…at a slumber party last summer with a group of girls…four of the girls went home crying. It was pretty intense.
Karla, as hostess and most fearless of us all, went first and the bottle stopped in front of Ronald Simmons…the most quiet and shyest boy in our school…and Karla’s next door neighbor.
Everyone gasped out loud! Why was he here? Who invited him? He never even talked to anyone…I wasn’t sure he could talk…I had never heard him.
“Ronny!! I didn’t know you were coming tonight.” said Karla in a very friendly, non-threatening voice.
“I was #7 on your mom’s Scavenger Hunt list.” he said as he pointed to Brian Carlson, one of our gang…who was looking slightly embarrassed…making eye contact with no one.
“Very funny, Brian.” said Karla with a disapproving tone to her voice.
To Ronny she said, “Well, good to…see you, Ronny…” And then she gave him a big smile…and went to re-spin the bottle…but wait…
No one let Karla get away with that move…she and Ronny had to go into the storage area for a kiss…rules were rules.
They came out 30 seconds later…both of them with blazing red cheeks!
Later, Karla told me he refused to kiss her so she just grabbed him by his shoulders and kissed him anyway.
“I think he kind of screamed, Riley, honest.” she said.
(Side Note: Ronny Simmons became a many times decorated homicide detective for the Minneapolis Police Department…after working Vice for ten years…he never married.)
The game continued and very quickly most everyone had their turns at Spin the Bottle and were laughing and having a good time. Everyone was anxious to move up to something more daring. I know I was…I hadn’t gotten ‘chosen by the bottle’.
It was time for Seven Minutes in Heaven…where two people spent seven minutes in a darkened room doing whatever they wanted.
John Taylor, a really good-looking new boy who had just last week moved to Bloomington from St. Paul, Mn., had been smiling at me a lot and I had been smiling back. We hadn’t yet talked…only said “hi”.
He looked older and “exciting”. Maybe it was his all black Zorro costume…but what did I know…I was only 13.
It turned out John had missed a year of school because of an auto accident and had to repeat second grade…so he was older. He was…14.
When it was his time to spin …he reached out and stopped the bottle before it could go past me and looked right at me with a devilish grin.
I never went into the other room with anyone else all night…John’s turn always stopped at me …and he encouraged the spinning bottle to pass by me when the other boys had their turn…pretty heady stuff for an 8th grade girl like me.
John Taylor had an agenda that Halloween night and I was at the top of it…me and my Hawaiian Dancing Girl costume.