Long before the Dixie Chics there were the Dixie Cups. When I met her, also at that church youth group, she had a boyfriend. She was Yelana’s sister (the girl I’d been kissing in the spin the bottle thingie) and I remember her being there but that’s about all. I know I didn’t pay much attention.
It wasn’t until later, when the group had left the church and started meeting at private homes — I’m not sure if it was because the “enlightened” youth pastor had moved on or if it was some other reason involving bottles and kissing games, but the church was not longer available to us. Anyway, we met at different homes and that’s when I first really noticed Nada. What I noticed first was that she was alone. The boyfriend seemed to have disappeared. I’ve long forgotten why that was, if I ever new.
The other thing I noticed was Nada liked the Dixie Cups song, Going To The Chapel. I knew the song, or at least I thought I did. It had been included in my sister’s record collection and I’d heard it played often. Nada liked to sing along with the Dixie Cups and she phrased the line, “we’re going to the chaple AND WE are gonna be married” as “we’re going to the chapelary, gonna be married” and that got me to notice. Gotta love mistaken lyrics!
I saw Nada at more parties and kind of found my self accepted into the group of about a dozen or so that hung out regularly. Nada and I started eating lunch together at school and hanging out between classes. Somehow we just grew together and became an “item”. There was no formal declaration or anything. We just “were”.
And it was nice. We were together throughout the rest of high school. I asked her to marry me and we got engaged. We’d had crazy plans about traveling around the country doing who knows what. One of Nada’s favorite songs was Lobo’s Me And You And A Dog Named Boo and it sort of became our “unofficial” song.
I went to university. Nada had a year left at high school. Distance, trust, and angst issues separated us and, not too long after we “were” no longer. I have looked back over a long life and I’ve played the “what if” game, examining each of my major life choices and I have never been able to honestly say, “if only”… In every case things ultimately turned out for the best. Even my first marriage, that ultimately ended in divorce, was a right choice. The things we did, the experiences we had, and the two wonderful girls we produced, are a testament to how right it was.
Letting Nada get away is, perhaps, the one time in my life I really got it wrong. Well, maybe the first of two. I reached out to Nada many years later and we might have picked it up again even then but for my clumsy handling of the situation, my failure to be clear. They say you always remember your first love, and I guess you always love the one that got away.