Sometime in that period after the 60's but before Disco, I met a girl named Eve Plumb. This was during high school at Montclair College Preparatory located on Sepulveda Boluevard in the middle of the San Fernando Valley.
The 1970s, bell bottoms, guys with long sideburns, afros; girls in hip hugger jeans, AM radio playing Elton John, Don McClean, Cat Stevens, .... The "Valley", home of the original Valley Girl, cruise nights on Van Nuys Boluevard, Tommie Burgers, shopping malls.
It was during this time that on one otherwise very ordianary day our school got a new student. I thought, who was this girl with long blond hair, pretty eyes, a great smile. She's on a TV show someone said. Oh no, I thought to myself, then she'll think she's better than everyone else. Here in the suburbs of the entertainment center of the world, actors were not uncommon. She won't get special treatment here, I said to myself. I soon found out that Eve Plumb was in fact a down to earth, easy to talk to, nice person. Outgoing and confident. Perhaps a bit too sensitive.
As the long days, weeks, and semesters of High School seemed to go on forever, like all teenagers we occupied our thoughts with cars, dating, school dances, and important questions such as whether the bell will ring before Mrs. Orr remembered to give us our US History homework.
Eve was no exception from the phases and foiables of teenage life. She was asked out a lot. Had crushes. Went to dances and parties. Was on the cheerleading squad. But Eve managed to balance teenage life, homework and career.
Like many girls she loved fashion. For example, she had so many clothes and shoe styles that I couldn't remember seeing her in the same outfit twice. I rememmber telling her that one day and she replied "well, thats the whole point". But she never acted like a rich, spoiled girl. Unusual for a teenager, she provided for her family before herself. For example, she bought her parents new cars.
Eve took drama classes in high school. I was involved in stage management then. I felt sure Eve would show up to drama class with the aire of a successful actress who had nothing to learn from a lowly high school drama class. Afterall, she had more credits to her resume than everyone else there including the drama teacher. But to my surprise Eve sincerely acted like she was just there to learn, she studied her lines and never tried to upstage anyone. She was just another drama student as far as she was concerned.
Eve got a crush on one of my good friends in drama class. I told him to ask her out and that didn't work. She flirted with him but nothing. Eve and I talked about him and I told her he is just very shy around girls. Well Eve had no problem meeting cute guys so soon that episode ended. Years later I bumbed into this same friend again and learned something that explained it all. He was gay! Would have been easier if he just said so in the first place, but being gay and in high school in the 1970's probably wasn't easy. For whatever reason he kept it to himslef during high school.
Eve should have had a crush on me, I thought. But that didn't happen. Not in 11th grade, not in 12th grade. I didn't go to many parties and actually had only one "real date" in high school. I was 16 and just got a 1968 Mustang. Had one real date where you pick up the girl at her house, go to dinner and a movie. I remember that date. Trying to think of something to say at dinner, except finaIly I asked my date "so how's your Pepsi?" She said it tastes just like Pepsi and after a few minutes I realized she was being sarcastic. I remember that exchange even today for some reason. Partly because the next day at school several guys approached me and told me that I need to think of better things to talk about than "how's your Pepsi". Its little things like that you remember years later. The point of my digression is that at that time I probably wasn't quite in Eve's league yet. I'd have to wait until college as I turned out to be a late bloomer.
Before you realize how fast time actually goes by, your ready to graduate high school. The last day of school you dreamed about finally comes. Its funny that way, you go through for what seems like forever, waiting for the day its over. Then when that day finally comes it dawns on you how fast time goes by. High school is over, better make the best of college because I realize we only have these experiences once in life and then its over, no second chances.
There was still one big day left of high school-- "Grad Night"! The tradition in Southern California high schools was that one Saturday, from morning till midnight, high school grads all go to Disneyland. A final party to cap off the end of school. All the rides were free. I hung out with the boys, checked out the cute girls from other schools, went on rides. When midnight came and it was time to go home Eve needed a ride. The gorgeous blond actress needing a ride, how can this be i thought. I had a car, a 1968 Mustang, cool car then and still a cool car now. So I mustered up enough courage to tell Eve that I could give her a ride home, afterall if she said "no", I wouldn't be seeing most these people again anyway. A few of them were going to the same college I was going to and some I would see in the summer. I could risk the embarrassment. So thats how I ended up giving Eve Plumb a ride home on th last big night of high school in my very first car and even ending it with a good night kiss. What a perfect way to end high school, to end the 1970's as this was really the end of the 1970's for the class of 1976. The end of secret high school crushes, first cars, first dates, and the innocence of television show like The Brady Bunch.
By Mike Harrington
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