Happy Holidays to all. An HM Christmas tale, circa 1984:
When I was in college, I roomed with a guy named Tim for 4 years. Tim was/is a great guy and we had all sorts of wacky adventures like 1) crawling over 8 foot snowdrifts during a snow emergency to get to a keg party across campus; 2) Tim taking a giant sample bag full of Nyquil that had been left in the 2nd floor walkways and bringing it to the room; 3) a 30-day "preventative medical program" of a shot of Nyquil each before bed during cold-and-flu season; and 4) summer trips to Albany where we would attend concerts like Fabulous Thunderbirds and Bob Sieger or Talking Heads or Bryan Adams and drink massive quantities of beer. Oh, the good old days....
Anyway, more often we would sit in the dorm room and study while listening to Tim's collection of cassette tapes (old Genesis was a fave, I would beg for Springsteen, but would get Jackson Browne). But that could become tiring, so we turned to the radio at times.
One particularly bad night, the tapes weren't happening and the radio was completely crappy. I called three stations with requests and was told that there was no way they were playing "I Don't Know" by Ozzy "Eat the Rich" by Krokus, or anything by Iron Maiden. So around 11:30 p.m. I turned to AM radio and found a new station -- 1400 AM, "14 Rock." It was a drippy pop station where they played nothing outside the current top 20. That is where we stayed for that night.
"To HM and Tim Out At UB"
So, we called into 14 Rock and requested a bunch of songs -- they wouldn't play any. So I finally said to the DJ, "Shelly Wild" -- what the hell will you play. She said, "Only really drippy top 40 songs." So I said, "How about John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band's 'On The Darkside'"?
We can do that. I said I wanted a shout out to "HM and Tim and UB." Absolutely can't. I will get fired.
So once a night for a week we would dial up 14 Rock and request some pop tune we could stand and that they might play. Always got our request, never got a dedication. So around night #8 I call up and say, "I need the HM and Tim deal or we call no more. I am serious."
Next up, "On the Dark Side, Going out to HM and Tim at UB."
We had won. Now Tim had a serious girlfriend, so the person left to flirt with the VERY sexy-voiced Shelly Wild was me. Heck, I was 20 and had no girl, glad to take over. I would go down to the pay phones (we had about 20 in the bottom of the dorm) and talk to "Wild" for about an hour every night -- her shift started about 11PM. She was an odd girl, but oh the voice...
So I decided to ask her out, sight unseen. Answer -- Sure.
The Date Prep
So it is just about Christmas break, and I am headed off to Albany for January 1985-June 1985 on an internship program. But I just gotta see who this girl is and have a date.
Ask my sis, "Hey, can I borrow your car?"
"Got a date."
Really, huh? Who?
"Just some girl."
Is it the radio DJ?
"How do you know about that?"
Tim tells me things.
"Well, no, of course not."
You only get the car if you admit it is the radio DJ you are dating.
"OK, fine. It is."
You are a sad, sad, little man, HM, here are the keys..........
I love my sis. By the way -- Merry Christmas, sis.
Put on my best sweater and my cords, spray on half a bottle of cologne. Drive to the city of Buffalo. We are going to meet at 6PM outside her apartment building, go to Niagara Falls and see the Festival of Lights, and then have her back by 11PM to do her radio show.
The Christmas-y Date
I get to the appointed place at 5:55 p.m. No one there. Walk into the entryway of the place -- surprisingly no one named "Wild" there on the mailboxes, so I ask a woman coming out -- "Shelly Wild live here?" Yeah, #8. Buzz #8, no reply. Go sit out in the car. Woman walks into the place 10 minutes later, long hair, kinda young, I will try again.
Buzz #8 -- Wild it is HM. "Oh, HM, I am so sorry I am late, come on in." Walk in, bills on the table say "Susan Michell Lorshabaugh" or some such name. Wild is, on facebook rating scale (face, body, doability) 6/9/10. Now, it is 1984 and I am an absolute dating dunce. I have had one girlfriend my whole life and she was unbelievably aggressive. So when Wild doesn't immediately dive on top of me, my response is to sit down and start reading her mail. She steps about 8 steps away, just barely inside a doorway and puts on a new top. I turn away, to which she responds, "You could have looked if you wanted. It is a good show." Again, dating dunce. And WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY over my head here. She is 27, I am 20.
Drive to Niagara Falls (around 25 minutes).
The Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls in 1984 was very corny, but definitely a great first date romantic event. Cold weather, lights, Christmas trees, food booths, hot chocolate, lots of benches to sit on, paths to walk around, etc. Oh, and you can see Niagara Falls lit up.
We have a really nice time for 2-3 hours. Christmas songs are playing over the PA system. We walk arm in arm and drink cocoa. Her clothes are seemingly painted on and she keeps her jacket unzipped to reveal her greatest assets. I sing along to "O Holy Night" and she tells me that I should be a professional singer and that I have made her entire Christmas season, then she gives me a very romantic kiss.
I would say that as first dates go, we did awfully well.
Drive her directly to the radio station and we make out in the car a little. She says, "Oh, HM, YOU are the Wild one!" Drive home. First song of her shift, "On the Darkside."
Long-Distance Dedication/Christmas Wish
So, Ms. Shelly Wild, wherever you are, Merry Christmas. I will always remember our Christmas-y date. So long ago, in such a different world. Happy 50th birthday, by the by. That must have been a rough one. Hope you still have that voice....