A Summer Place

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By: Wayne Brown

(Writer’s Note:  I was inspired to write this story by a comment made on my poem “Kids Of Summer” by LaLeSu.  She spoke of being broken hearted when, as a young girl, she discovered that Roy Rogers was already married to Dale Evans. That helped me to remember a pre-teen crush of mine that probably needs to be shared before I become famous and the paparazzi gets their hands on the information.  So….this one is for you Laura!).

 

 

It was the summer of 1959.  I was twelve years old and probably headed into the puberty phase of life although I probably had no idea of that fact.  My family lived in a small central Mississippi town of about 3000 people. Our house was located on one of the main streets and was about a half-mile from the local town square.  It was an easy walk to town to the movie theater which was located on the town square.  We seldom knew what was playing when we headed to the theater on those hot summer afternoons.  It really didn’t matter, we were “going to the show” and we’d just watch whatever was playing although we always got more excited when it was a western shoot ‘em up.

 

On this particular day, I had gone to the movies alone although there were plenty of kids there that I knew so it really was not like being alone.  I just walked there and back by myself.  The move was “A Summer Place”.  Big deal! I had no idea what that was about but I knew I was soon going to find out.

 

The kids liked to sit down front.  We lugged our drinks, popcorn, and a salty dill pickle down to those first few rows and made ourselves comfortable.  The theater was dark; the big screen glowed white, and the air conditioning was superb.  One could easily freeze to death in the span of a movie.  This was truly heaven on a hot day.

 

Now, I don’t know if you have ever seen the movie, “A Summer Place” but if you have not, you should because I personally recommend it.  It starred Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue in the lead roles.  The storyline circulates around two families who were old friends, one with a daughter, one with a son, who decide to meet in this rather secluded vacation hotel to share a few days together.  Both the boy and girl, played by Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee are teenagers with those sexual curiosities beginning to flow.  They are attracted to each other almost from first sight and the story develops around their parents trying to keep them from getting at the “hubba-hubba” during the term of the vacation. Of course, there are conflicting opinions to keep the plot juicy.  The music for the soundtrack was written and performed by Max Steiner and his orchestra.

 

Well, I had just started chewing on my dill pickle which was an excellent addition to my salty popcorn when Sandra Dee first appeared on the screen.  I almost passed out.  In that singular moment as I sat there with my mouth wide open and full of dill pickles and popcorn, at that moment, I was in love.  It was like a messenger from God swooped down out of that screen and whispered in my ear, “Wayne, this girl is for you…now go get her”!  Wow! This dreamy music was playing in the background. Sandra had her cute dimples on with that blonde hair and I was mesmerized.  I knew that I never wanted this movie to end.  I knew this girl was meant for me.  I knew that somewhere on this beauty’s body was tattooed the phrase “never touched by human hands”.  I resolved at that moment to see that mark first-hand.

 

The entire time I was watching this movie, I was developing an intense dislike for this guy, Troy Donahue.  Oh, he was your teenage heart-throb, California looking, beach surfing type dude with the peroxide streaks throughout his hair.  And he was tall and he was good looking and he was a movie star that made girls swoon.  But he didn’t have nothin’on me.  Not when it came to Sandra Dee.  He might be there with her on the big screen right now but I could tell them way Sandra was acting that she really did not want to be with him.  She knew there was someone else out there somewhere in the world that was better suited for her.  She could hear my heart beating for her right up there on the big screen. Every once in a while, as I watched the movie, I was pretty sure she smiled at me.  I’d lay down my dill pickle and smile right back too!  This was my big chance and I was not going to blow it.  When the movie ended, I was sad that it was over but elated that one could walk out pretty sure that things did not work out with Troy and Sandy.  I know I was sure of it.  I skipped all the way home humming the “Theme From A Summer Place”.  It was now my favorite song.

 

Now keep in mind, it was 1959 and news traveled slow.  We did not have your MTV where you could get your money for nothing and your chicks for free.  We did have American Bandstand with Dick Clark and I would always hope that Sandra Dee was going to be on that show.  Otherwise, I had to depend on word of mouth to find out the latest on the whereabouts of Sandra Dee and what she was doing next.  I was pretty sure that she was out there somewhere in Hollywood just waiting for me to call.  If I did call her, my mom was going to be madder than hell because it was going to be long-distance and that was expensive.  It was a “no-no” around our house even if you were in love.

 

I am sure when the bad news arrived on my doorsteps.  It was probably a matter of months or so.  I had been so glad to not hear anything about Sandra Dee having any more to do with Troy Donahue.  I knew that as long as that was the case, I had a chance. I just needed a ride out to Hollywood so I could get in touch with her.  I couldn’t call her, it was long-distance, remember? And besides, I didn’t have her number.  But I digress…back to the bad news.  Somehow word got to me that Sandra Dee had married that lounge-lizard singer, Bobby Darin.  To say that I felt like a mule had kicked me in the guts would have been an understatement.  Darin sang a song titled “Eighteen Yellow Roses” and I now knew that he had recorded that for my benefit.  It was his way of thumbing his nose at me after he had stolen Sandy from grasp.  How could she? She deserved better than some lounge lizard singer.  This was not the way that I had planned it and now I was having remorse for not making that long-distance call.

 

Time past but not as happily as it once had.  My world was not the same.  There was now a large void and hope was lost for me.  I had made big plans for Sandra and I to meet for a short vacation at that “summer place” that she had visited with Troy. I wanted to recreated that boathouse scene with her and show her that I was like not Johnny (Troy’s character in the movie). No I was not like him as I had not yet been bad with the girls. But I knew Johnny had and Molly was so disappointed.  I would never break her heart like that.  But all that was lost now.  There would be no boathouse scene.  Sandra had married Bobby Darin leaving me in limbo with my unrequited love.

 

Over the years, I have watched that movie more that a few times.  I have grown up a bit too and realized that maybe Sandra Dee didn’t even know that I was alive when she married Bobby Darin. At the same time, I like to think that if she had known of me, she would have sent Bobby packing just like she did Troy.  I would have been the man on her arm.  The man who finally saw that tattoo that read, “never touched by human hands.”  I cannot here Percy Faith perform the song without having those thoughts.  I have kept this buried inside for all these years and now I feel much better that I have shared it.  As silly as it might sound, it sure was fun to be in love with Sandra Dee.  I always remember the line delivered by Sandra’s character, Molly Jorgenson, “Are you a bad boy Johnny? Have you done bad things with other girls?”  In that instance, the meaning of the word ‘envy’ became quite clear in my mind.  

 

© Copyright WBrown2010.  All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

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Comments 25 comments

50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 6 years ago from Arizona

Wayne, memorable times! That rat us out to being on the back side of the mountain, I remember much from that era, and American Bandstand I remember it well I just don't remember why I liked it. Great hub of yesteryear reminders, 50


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@50 Caliber....them was the days, 50. I wouldn't mind going back for a while! Thanks for the great comments! WB


SilverGenes 6 years ago

Loved this! And you know, I always thought Troy Donahue was kind of a goober hehehe.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

I loved your confession about Sandra Dee. For me it was Paul Newman.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@SilverGenes...He was a goober! Of course, I was kind of biased! LOL! Thanks for the nice words! WB

@breakfastpop...we all have to confess sooner or later. I was afraid it might get out after I became famous! LOL! WB


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

I remember that movie, Wayne, and I remember being disappointed that Sandra married Bobby Darin because I thought he was too old for her.

They say confession is good for the soul so you must feel much, much better now. :) Thanks for the deja vu.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@drbj...Yes, it was a big load off of me but I still have that soft spot in my heart knowing that Sandra and I were like two ships passing on a dark night...Now, we'll never know! Alas! LOL! WB


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV

Wayne,

Great memories you brought back to me. I loved "A Summer Place", but my teenage crush was on Natalie Wood in the movie " Splendor in the Grass".


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@Tom Whitworth...I could do Natalie, Tom. She helped to ease my pain when Sandra betrayed me! LOL! WB


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 6 years ago from South Africa

“... the air conditioning was superb. One could easily freeze to death in the span of a movie” is where I started to LOL and until the very end I just laughed. This was truly excellent entertainment. Thanks!


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@MartieCoetser...Thanks much...Glad you had a good laugh from it. That theater was about the only place around with air so we just went to the movies to stay cool for a couple of hours! Thanks for the read and the great comments. WB


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

Yup they were both having fun in that movie. Troy with his as you say California proxide handsome features and of course the sweet blonde Sandra. I love the music, I can't say I was hooked on the movie. Doesn't it just feel so nice to close your eyes and remember those moments as if it was yesterday when you froze your butt of, fell in love, hormones running wild only to know you didn't stand a chance with Sandra Dee:0))) Was fun though wasn't it pardner, now go back to dreaming. LOL


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@saddlerider1...Yeah, I thought maybe after Bobby Darin died that she would break down and call but the phone never rang. By then, I knew that I needed to move on. Those were the days! Thanks, Ken! WB


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

Very well written. I really enjoy read this hub. You always the best, my friend. With your idea, I vote this Up.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@prasetio30...Thank you...just a little humor to get through the day! WB


lalesu profile image

lalesu 6 years ago from south of the Mason-Dixon

Wayne Brown, this wonderful! I've slowly been able to deal with the loss of Roy Rogers, my first true love, but I'm not giving up on Micky Dolenz just yet. I know he'll soon tire of Monkeein' around and come in search of me! haha!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

Oh too funny - for me it was Elvis (and the pelvis) - I was sure he knew how in love I was with him when I went to the movies and pined over him in his young days and the gorgeous hunk that he was.

Love the music from this movie - it is just a classic. Now, however, I will ALWAYS associate this song that I play with Wayne Brown pining away for Sandra and her not showing up - and having the nerve to go and marry Bobby Darin - you did know that he could sing, right? If you had tuned up your vocals maybe you would have captured her heart but then I think, you like me, not having our years on us yet and no vocals, we did not stand a chance!

Cute piece - and I love that lalesu is still waiting for Micky Dolenz - I had dibbs!


blake4d profile image

blake4d 6 years ago from Now Rising Out of Phoenix Arizona Earthlings

Cool hub WB. And nice choice of inspiration. Good movie too. For the genre. Keep on Hubbing. Blake4d


lalesu profile image

lalesu 6 years ago from south of the Mason-Dixon

Remember, Davy Jones took Marcia Brady to the prom...it could happen...


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas

Wayne what a terrific hub. I cant say I blame you for falling for Sandra Dee. She was definitely as cute as a button and so innocent looking. I also loved this movie A Summer Place and the music. It was one of those controversial type movie for its day. As for Troy Donahue you can take consolation in the fact that the guy was really gay...lol..for real. Cheers pal.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@lalesu...Marcia, Marcia, Marcia...how could I forget! WB

@ladyjane1..Thank you. Sandra was "never touched by human hands" I thought! LOL! I was quite relieved when I heard that about Troy as well! WB


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Awe shucks, what is a "country good 'ol country boy to do?" Great whimsical hub...


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@dallas93444...I guess I should have tried harder! LOL! WB


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

What fun! To be young and in love/lust/envy . . . whatever. Well, Sandra Dee was the real loser. Missing out on our own WB! Guess she would have been the first cougar! Ha! If you were 12, she had to be 20 . . . Never seen the movie, but I will look for it. This hub and Cherry Bomb showed up on your bio page under Humor. First time to notice them. Cherry Bomb is fun too. I remember ol' Banks in the snake hub and QuickDraw. There is not a way to leave a message on Cherry Bomb. Just to read and vote.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Truckstop Sally...Oh, I was in love...head over heels. And my heart was so broken when I found that she had married Bobby Darin without so much as a word to me. I was weeks getting over that one. I still have a soft spot when I see one of her pictures. She really missed out. I will fix the Cherry Bomb...did not notice that! Thanks much! WB

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