Margie, you are my inspiration, Margie…
“Wait! Stop the record,” Becky cried.
The four of us girls were huddled around Mom and Dad’s old hi-fi, the one with the little red power light that shone all night long, scaring us in our younger days, because it looked like a monster eye shining out of the darkness in the living room at night. We weren’t scared on this warm summer day, however, just gleeful at the thought of the wonderful practical joke that we were about to pull off.
One of the records in our parents’ ample collection was of a barbershop quartet, and we loved listening to the four-part harmony while we snacked on buttered crackers after a swim in Pastor Reuben’s pond. Our favorite tune on the record was simply titled “Margie,” and the name of the song gave us the idea for our practical joke. The Smith girls’ mother was named Marge, and we giggled as we copied down the lyrics “Days are never blue, when I’m with you.” We wondered how she would respond to the letter she would find in her mailbox the next morning.
Becky and Bobbi were responsible for transferring the romantic words to a plain sheet of notebook paper in their best impression of masculine writing. Melissa and I found a blank envelope and stamp, and carefully addressed the letter to “Margie Lust.” We felt especially clever for having thought to use their mom’s maiden name. Then the four of us put our heads together to decide how we would sign the letter. None of us had ever received a love letter ourselves, so we didn’t have many ideas, but we finally decided to use a description that we had learned from Nancy Drew, and we signed the letter,
from an old Beau.
We heard later that Richard Smith was pretty upset with the letter, although Marge was secretly pleased. Apparently the Smith house was abuzz with gossip for several days, while everyone tried to figure out who the old beau was. But the fact that the letter had somehow arrived without a postmark or a cancelled stamp finally began to cast some doubt on its authenticity. I think the Smith girls must have finally confessed to their parents what we had done that afternoon, huddled around the old stereo. Richard was not too pleased with us McDonald girls for coming up with such a plan, nor with his own girls for following along.
Shortly after the Margie incident, the same old hi-fi enticed us into slightly inappropriate behavior once again. Both of our families attended fairly strict churches at the time, where there seemed to be more rules to break than good deeds to be done. We managed to break several of the rules one weekend when the girls were sleeping over. First, we dug through a bag of clothes from cousin Heidi, putting on the shortest and tightest shorts we could find.
Then we dug through the record collection and found one from Mom’s Chardon High School marching band, and we cranked up the volume on Lawrence of Arabia. The exotic music, added to the liberation we felt in our short-shorts, brought about spontaneous dancing around the living room.
I don’t suppose that any of our parents would think this was a big deal now, but at the time it was pretty serious. Serious enough that, when coupled with the earlier Margie incident, the Smith girls were grounded from the McDonald girls for the next several weeks. And all because of an ancient hi-fi with a glowing red eye.
NOTE: This account is a fun memory from my childhood in Bucyrus, Ohio, in the mid 1970’s. It was written in 2005, and will hopefully be just the first of several accounts that I might use for a memoir one day. In the meantime, I’ll publish them here, so that the Smiths & McDonalds can take a fun trip down memory lane with me.
NOTE #2: With the exception of the photo of us 4 girls, I shamelessly downloaded the rest of the pictures from various internet sites.