In 1965, Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders had a hit song called “Game of Love”. After a soulful instrumental intro, the verse began with
“The purpose of a man is to love a woman,
And the purpose of a woman is to love a man,
So come on baby let’s start today, come on baby let’s play
The game of love, love, la la la la la love…”
it went on for a couple of minutes with words to encourage the lady to “play the game of love.”
Aw, the game of love! After my first date with Terrie, I was convinced I had been drawn, willingly, into the game of love. But can one play successfully without knowing the rules, the purpose, or the end result? I know I wasn’t thinking about marriage or anything long term, but I did know she had captured me and was unaware of what she caught and at the time, she didn’t care.
Let me explain why I said she didn’t care. In my previous story (The Blind Date), I described my impressions of her, both physically and economically. Her beauty was obvious. Her economic status was less than I was imagining. She did not live in a two story brick home with white ionic columns and a separate garage with servants’ quarters above. She lived at 123 NE 10th Street in Moore, Oklahoma, in a modest three bedroom home with red brick and white trim, a two car garage and a straight driveway.
As with everyone, there is more to the story than what we see. What I didn’t know about Terrie by looking at her was that she had gone through some things that had hurt her and made her somewhat defensive. What I learned about her was that she was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Her parents were fairly average, community minded people, who faced problems like everyone else. Paul and Pat Baskin went to high school together. Both were popular in school; Paul lettered in football, swimming, track, and wrestling. Pat (Phoebe Ann Tucker) was in drama (she dreamed of being in movies) and was voted most popular girl. Both of them valued education. Pat attended Oklahoma Baptist University and Paul went to Oklahoma A & M (now OSU) where he played football. They wore leather helmets back then. Before graduating, Paul joined the Army Air Corp and became a bombardier. He flew in several missions over Europe and had made stops in places around the world.
In contrast to my family, the sizes of their families were very small. Paul was an only child and came from a broken family. Pat had one sister, who would have two sons. Her father worked for the local newspaper as a type setter. Her mother was a housewife, who tried to run off to join the Ziegfeld Follies before she was married. Paul and Pat had two very different daughters; Paula and Terrie.
The Baskin’s lived in a small two bedroom wood framed house on Franklin Street. They attended church at First Baptist Church of Shawnee. Terrie attended the same school and had the same classmates throughout. It could have been a Norman Rockwell painting, but things changed. When Terrie was about twelve, Paul got a better job that would relocate them to their home in Moore.
Things happened in the move that effected Terrie’s confidence. Her new classmates did not accept her, as she had been accepted in Shawnee. Her mother was having some health issues. Her dad had a new job. Everything was unsettled and different for her. Then puberty struck. Her body changed and she struggled with her image through high school. A couple of years after high school, she decided to go to college. She had lost some weight and had learned to use make-up. Boys had started asking her out for dates, so when I met her, she was doing well. She didn’t need me. She was in control, holding all the cards.
Oh, but I needed her. As I said in “The Blind Date“, she seemed to represent everything that I could ever hope for. Somehow I knew that my association with her would benefit me, developmentally, as a person.
In the game of love, I didn’t exactly have great role models. In my short life, I had seen way too much of the ‘player’ mentality, of the ‘love ’em and leave ’em, don’t get serious, have fun’ ways. I wasn’t wired for the ‘eat, drink, and be merry; for tomorrow we die!’ lifestyle. I had seen that girls liked the ‘bad’ boys and that boys liked the ‘bad’ girls, but that wasn’t who I was. I’m a ‘one woman’ guy. I value loyalty very highly. I am loyal to my friends and I expect them to be loyal to me. If they are not, my tendency is to cut the line and let it go. I wanted someone who would be faithful to me and that is what I got from Terrie when she committed herself to me. Neither of us were Christians at the time. It would be eight years later that God changed me. But this is how He made me. I would go out looking for a ‘good time’, but internally, foundationally, it was a different story. I wanted something better than what my parents had. I wanted a good, stable relationship filled with trust, faithfulness, and love.
I have a bit of bulldog in me. For things that I want I can be tenacious. Terrie calls it stubbornness. I call it determination. I was determined to capture the one who had captured me. I got her phone number and would call her every night. Terrie’s and Pat’s voice patterns were very similar. I learned to wait for a couple of minutes before any attempts to woo, after an awkward occasion when I discovered it was Pat Iwas talking to instead of Terrie. I was disappointed, repeatedly; to be turned down for a date because she was going out with some guy named Dennis. I was determined to remove Dennis from the equation.
I would talk with her for long periods of time, when she didn’t have to study for school. I recall one time, I was had the laundromat washing my few clothes. There was a phone booth outside, which I used to call Terrie instead of watching the dryers spin. I talked to her for a couple of hours. The next thing I know is the lights were turned off in the laundromat and the doors were locked. I’m pretty sure all I had to wear was on me and the rest was inside a dark business out of my reach. The next day Terrie surprised me by going to the laundromat and recovering my clothes while I was at work.
I certainly was not “Wowing” her with my date selections. Most of the time, it would be to a drive-in movie. I was still thinking the way I did in high school, something cheap! Well, I discovered girls don’t always appreciate cheap. They like food and entertainment as well. I learned this bit of information when I had called her. She said she wanted to go out. I said I didn’t have any money. She said, “Call me sometime when you get some money.”
I was forced to use my money I earned from a second job cutting chickens at Minnie Pearl’s restaurant to take this girl out. Remember at the time, we were not Christians. We would go to a couple of night clubs for dancing. I was underage but it didn’t seem to bother the doorman. I loved to dance. I enjoyed the music and being able to express myself. I was a pretty good dancer. To be honest, Terrie wasn’t very good, but I like being with her and holding her.
I took her to a couple of concerts. One was to see Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix had been a favorite of mine since high school. He was playing in the field house in Norman. We had seats in an elevated area that were extremely uncomfortable. Back in the day, smoking was allowed inside the building. We had to leave before the concert was over because of the uncomfortable seats and because in the upper levels there was a strange smoke coming from funny cigarettes on the first floor. Another act I took her to see was Led Zeppelin. They were playing in a round building at the State Fairgrounds. I bought tickets that cost me two and half days of work. We arrived at the round building, enter the lobby, she freaks out and we leave. We didn’t even get to see the stage. I didn’t understand the spiritual implications that were involved then as I do now. So I figured out, concerts were out.
As I said earlier, she was in control. She was pulling the strings and I was dancing the dance. But how long would that go on? Was I more than a source of entertainment to her? Could I be the man to take control of the relationship? Would I be in the Norman Rockwell painting? I wanted to be.
We will discuss these things in The Pursuit Part 2.