Riding to the IMAX Theater to see the new 3D Star Trek movie it all came rushing back…
The year was 1966…her name was Charlotte. We were in the 8th grade. She sat to the right and two rows up. She swung around to face me but it was some time before I noticed she was mouthing a silent question. We all turned 13 that year and the girls began wearing nylons…weapons of mass destruction. I tried not to look at Charlotte’s but there they were…and there she was…mouthing the question at least 5 times before I could focus enough to figure out what in the world she was trying to say: “Did you watch Star Trek last night?” I had no idea what she was talking about…and I didn’t care as long as she didn’t move.
In 1966, 8th grade girls were made-up like little Annette Funicellos and Sandra Dees with meticulously permed hair, cotton fitted dresses, and those dastardly nylons. In our fertile 13 year old minds, 8th grade girls fully-dressed looked exactly like the college girls on the sand in Beach Blanket Bingo. It was uncanny. And it was all about to change. Big time.
At the end of 8th grade our class split-up and the nylons wound up at a hip cosmopolitan school in a big town miles away. The years between ’66 and ’69 changed everything for our generation. Star Trek came and went. Older kids were dying in some place called Viet Nam. Riots. Assassinations. Demonstrations. Strange…exciting…psychedelic rock music. And when we next saw our old girl friends from 8th grade at games between our high schools, we could see that they had boldly gone where none of us had dared. Haight Ashbury-chic, ironed-straight hair, dark eyeliner, wearing very serious expressions that most assuredly did not include nylons. The 8th grade girls we first fell in love with, now looked exactly like the women from Rigel 7 on Star Trek. We on the other hand with our regular boy cuts had become uninteresting to those exotic alien creatures whose nylons had given way to very different but no less deadly weapons of mass destruction. Those years went by in a flash but I’ll never forget the innocence, the discovery, and the girls from Rigel 7.
You’ll never have girl friends like the ones you almost had in 8th grade.