|"Hey, honey! That's the bar we use to go to when we were young & foolish!"|
"Sure that's it. Player's Square......what good times! Like those St. Patrick Day parties!"
I can remember one St. Patrick's day party that wasn't much fun. Even with the green beer.......did Hank really drink that stuff? I didn't. That's when I could still drink Johnny Walker red which was about the only thing that didn't have a green hue on Pine Street that night. Some people had green hats or green crepe paper strips drapped around their necks. I remember green lights behind the bar & booths. Even the thick smokey air had a green tint.
I remember rushing to the bar along Pine from the bus stop. The sidewalks were full of loud people. Most of us were young marrieds. Some just getting off work earlier than usual so the clubs in town could increase profits because of a revered Irish saint. And there I was with everyone else feeling keyed up with excitement. I wasn't excited because of that revered saint, but because I was meeting the love of my life.
We talked that way in the '60s. We were looking for love. Our mothers were hoping we'd get good jobs in a bank so we'd have something to fall back on if another depression hit. Some of us managed to find good jobs, but we were seeking our security in a man & were positive love would be there too. We didn't think much about a depression. Mostly we thought about husbands. I was one of the ones looking for a husband who wore a shirt & tie to work. Someone to have fun with. Not only did I get the book keeping job, but I found me an educated husband. A nice guy from Minnesota who sold office supplies to several large businesses in the city.
It was a nice wedding on a very hot & humid September day. We found an apartment in a small, shabby, but elegant building near downtown. A 6 month old baby girl slept in a crib at the foot of our bed. When I rushed along the street to meet daddy she was with the sitter, my sister who knew I was between feedings. I'd have to return in about 3 or 4 hours or stains would appear on my snug blouse. I didn't know it would be our last St. Patrick's Day at Player's Square.
I saw him across the jammed lounge at the bar. Handsome, grinning! I managed to get to him & join the the fun. He was with friends he worked with. A few were young, but Dave was older problably around 50 years old. He seemed a nice man, but Hank & I thought he drank too much & spent far too much time away from home. But tonight he sipped his green beer & was more subdued. He wanted to know all about the baby & how the hunt for a bigger place was going. I always enjoyed talking with him since he usually liked telling me things about his own wife & their 2 boys. I can't remember much else about that evening except that soon after I arrived I found myself walking down a dark hallway toward to ladies room. I was passing the back foyer leading to a hotel lobby when the door opened & someone from Hank's office stepped in from of me. "Hi mom," he said. "How's baby doing?" He said the word baby in such a way, that I still remember that I felt scared. He'd been drinking & he was standing much too close. I clearly remember backing away & feeling the wall against my back. "Hi, Larry." Big smile on my face. Girls raised in the '50s smiled big in the '60s. "The guys are at the bar......." While I was trying to speak, he placed his hands against the wall on either side of me. My mouth was very dry. I felt trapped. I wanted to cry. There was sweat was between my breasts. I'm not real clear about what happened next, but I do remember him telling me that my blouse looked like it was stained. Then he lightly traced a circle around a small spot over my nipple. I couldn't move. Things shifted to slow motion as I looked up into that handsome face. I recall someone speaking too loudly & laughing. "Larry! Pick on someone your own size!" For a moment I couldn't move. His head turned to the voice & laughter. I had moved away toward the ladies room, my eyes blurred with tears. When I found a place to sit in the ladies room lounge, the woman giving out hand towels & keeping things tidy said, "Are you crying or you got somethin' in your eye? Let me look at that eye......." She patted my back & soothed me me her "my, mys."
The rest is mostly hazy. Eventually, I made it back to Hank & his friends. He winked & smiled at me. Everyone was talking. The noise level was awfully high & someone put a glass of green beer into my hand. I felt angry. Hank knew I didn't drink beer & that sipping wine was my limit. I just stood there feeling very ticked off. Now Hank was caught up in conversation with someone at the bar. I'm sure it was a woman.He wasn't even looking my way. Then I heard a voice in my ear. It was Dave. Older Dave who was quiet tonight. " 'Bout time for you to be heading home, Susan? That little girl probably needs her supper. Hank said you couldn't stay long. Maybe I can walk you out the door." Without another word, that's what he did. I assured him that the bus would be along soon & that I'd be fine on my own. I was back to the apartment soon after. As I came through the door, I could feel the baby's dinner fill me. It felt good to take her from my kid sister. "She's such a good baby. I love to sit for you.....maybe next week? Just let me know........" Sure, I'd have her sit again for me. But at this very moment, I wanted nothing more than to hold & feed my baby.
Hank got home around midnight. He was happy. He'd had a nice time........" Why'd you leave so quickly? I didn't even get a chance to say much to you. You ok? You sure you're ok?"