Ms. Heddy Through it All Chapter 7 “Any Love”


Several days later, I found a brown envelope resting on top of the mailbox. It was from Leon and inside was an 8×10 picture of him in his Air Force uniform. The brim of his hat covered his eyes. He looked handsome just as I remembered him, but without his rose-tinted sunglasses that camouflaged his blue eyes. Boy, talk about a big smile on my face you would’ve thought I received a million dollars in that envelope. I forgot all about what he wanted to ask me and put the picture on my dresser, which I gazed at often.

The following week I got another letter from him asking if I would marry him when he got out of the Air Force in 18 months. I didn’t have to think about it. I was elated! The thought of me and Leon being together for the rest of our lives was like sunshine and gorgeous blue skies year round. “So that was what he wanted to ask me!” I went running into the living room to tell Mama.

“Mama, Leon wants to marry me when he gets out of the Air Force.” I blurted enthusiastically. I felt like an eagle soaring high above the clouds. “Can we get married? Will you sign for us?” Mama just sat there in her chair looking at me; her pretty brown eyes were wide as an owl’s. I didn’t give her a chance to respond. As I thought about it, I realized that in eighteen months I’d be eighteen years old, and I wouldn’t need her permission. I wanted Leon to know my answer right away; I ran up stairs as fast as I could and began writing the letter.

Dearest Darling,

When this letter reaches you I hope it finds you in the best of health. I received your letter today. Yes! I’ll marry you! I can’t wait for you to get out so we can be married. I love you and miss you so much. Thanks for the picture. You look so handsome. I asked Mama if I could marry you, but then I realized that I’ll be eighteen years old by then. We won’t need her permission. Plus I’ll be out of school too. Everything is going fine in school. The principal came looking for me.  He scared me. I wondered what in the world he wanted with me. Did someone tell him I was smoking in the bathroom? Finally, I gathered up enough nerve to go to his office to see what he wanted.

He said: “Congratulations, Heddy! You made the honor roll this mark period.” All that time I thought he had found out about me smoking in the bathroom. Whew! That was a close call!

Everyone here is fine. Write soon!

Love Always,


I put the letter on top of the mailbox where the mailman would always pick up our mail and send it off right away. The mailman was a friend of Mama’s.  Some days he would stop at lunchtime and have a cold beer and something to eat.

I told everyone I saw that I was engaged, but no one was as excited as I was. One day, when I came home from school, there was an Air Force Officer standing on our porch talking to Mama. She introduced him to me. I told him about my fiancé being in the Air Force and that we were planning to get married.  The officer smiled, congratulated me, and walked off the porch.

Mama told me that the officer came about Daddy. I thought it a bit strange that he wanted to talk about Daddy, when he had been dead almost five years.

I kept looking for a letter from Leon every day; three weeks had passed since I mailed my acceptance letter. This was the longest time I ever went without hearing from him.  Janet and the kids came home from Akron to visit. They had been living next door with Janet’s father since the break up, but by then had returned to Akron and was home for a visit.

I remember Mama was standing at the kitchen sink taking her usual shot of Seagram’s Seven Crown chased with a small glass of water. I was standing in the dining room when Janet came in and walked straight back to the kitchen. She and Mama talked for a while, and then Janet came back into the dining room where I was. I don’t remember what I was doing, but I was on my knees looking up at her from the floor, still excited about the marriage proposal.

“Janet, Leon asked me to marry him!” I said grinning from cheek to cheek. “We’re going to get married when he gets out of the Air Force.” I could not have imagined her response, not even if I had a hundred years to think about it.

“Heddy, forget about Leon.”

“What? Forget about Leon? Why should I forget about Leon? I thought you liked him! You know he is a nice boy.” Janet threw her hands up in the air.

“Aunt Pauline, I can’t do this!” She covered her mouth and ran out the door. I walked into the kitchen where Mama was still standing at the sink.

“Mama what’s wrong with Janet? Should I go talk to her?”

“No, leave her alone.  She’ll be all right,” she said as she poured a double shot of Seven Crown from the fifth she held securely in her hand.

Janet and the kids returned to Akron. I never got a chance to ask her why she said I should forget about Leon. It didn’t make any sense. He was a great catch for any girl— a handsome, intelligent young man with a bright future ahead of him. I was happy and proud that he chose me to be his wife. I didn’t understand why Janet wasn’t happy for me? Mama was silent, which was unusual she always had something to say.

The weeks flew by like a run-away roller coaster, but for me they dragged by slowly. Weeks passed with no letter from Leon. I kept reading his old letters as I tried to wait patiently for his next letter, though patience was not one of my virtues. Leon suggested that I keep his letters in an old shoe box. I did and I filled to the brim. He always opened with ‘Dear Heddy’ and closed with ‘Love, Leon.’ He used the envelopes that had the red, white, and blue airmail pattern all around the edges. I could always tell when there was a letter from him because that pattern stood out from the plain white envelopes. I got so excited when I saw that pattern in the stack of letters. I shuffled through the rest to get to his quickly. Weeks passed without a single letter.

All communication stopped without warning. I was worried and lonely for him. Each day left me sadder than the day before. He was gone. I had no idea who, what, where, or when—Unknown forces ripped him out of my life. I cried for hours and hours. The weeks turned into months. I wrote dozens of letters. I wrote and I waited, I wrote and I waited, I wrote and I waited. I pleaded and even begged him to write and tell me what happened, but I never heard another word.



Ms. Heddy Through it all Chapter 6 You’re My Everthing

Front view of a Lockheed C-121 "Constella...

Front view of a Lockheed C-121 “Constellation”. Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas (March 2007). Photo by Peter Rimar. This image was taken in direct support of the Aviation WikiProject . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The next day I heard shouting, banging, bumping sounds coming from upstairs. I ran to see what was going on, when I reached the top step I saw Janet and Howard fighting the in the hallway. I watched in silent terror as they wrestled knocking objects over that happened to be in the way—until Howard hollered; “Go down stairs Heddy!” Once everything settled Howard said he was taking me home. It was clear that Howard was highly upset, but I didn’t understand why I had to go home. I never had seen him angry before, never heard him raise his voice, curse, or even fight.

Oh No, I thought, I have to go home without seeing Leon! I was downhearted I wasn’t ready to leave, I had to think fast. My heart was racing like it was in a NASCAR competition. I didn’t have Leon’s phone number, but I knew where he lived. I saw Howard walking down the staircase and stopped him as he reached the last step.

“Howard, how long do I have before we leave?” He looked at his watch.

“We’ll probably leave in an hour.” I quickly ran upstairs and threw my clothes in my little black suit case and zipped it up then ran back down stairs.

“I’ll be right back!” I hollered, then ran out the door across the street and walked briskly several blocks down to Columbus Avenue where Leon lived. I knocked on the door. His brother peaked through the window of the door then opened it slightly looking at me. “Hi is Leon home?”

“No, he ain’t here. Who should I tell him came by?”

“Heddy, tell him Heddy came by. I’m sorry to come by without calling, but I wanted to see him before I leave.”

“Before you leave—where you going?” He opened the door wider.

“I’m going back home, to Meadville. We’re leaving in an hour.”

He observed me carefully then said;

“Let me get your address, he’ll write you… Wait… let me get some paper.” He went back inside and got a pencil and a small torn piece of paper from a used envelope. He wrote down my address.  I thanked him and said goodbye.Not seeing Leon before I left was deeply troubling me. I was afraid I would never see him again, but his brother promised that I would hear from him. From the very first time I saw Leon, I knew he was my handsome knight and shining armor. But I still wondered if I would hear from him or if he would simply forget about me and move on to the next girl in line willing and waiting for his attention and affection. The thought of losing him terrified me.

When I got back to the house Howard was ready to go. I said goodbye to Robin, and the other kids. Howard threw my suitcase into the trunk, we both got in the car then he backed out of the driveway and headed for Interstate 80 east. The drive back to Meadville was long. I was heavy-hearted and gloomy. It was quiet, neither Howard nor I was much for words. My thoughts centered on Leon. I hoped and prayed that I would hear from him again. And that his brother really would give him my address.

When we arrived in Meadville Mama was happy to see us. Howard stayed for a while and ate dinner before leaving. No one could refuse Mama’s good cooking. She wouldn’t let a visitor leave without feeding them and she always had leftovers in the fridge.

I ran up the steps to my bedroom and put “My Girl” by the temptations on my record player, then turned the dial to 45 and sat down on my twin bed listening to it over and over. Finally the music lifted my spirit and I got up and danced—swinging my hips from side to side and swirling around to the rhythm of the music.  “My Girl” was my refuge. Every time I heard that song, I thought about Leon.


A week later I received a letter from Leon just as his brother promised. From then on he wrote every week. As soon as I got home from school and walked up on that long gray wooden porch, the first thing I did was check the mail box for a letter from Leon. When there was one in the mailbox my heart smiled with sheer joy, it made my day! It didn’t take long for him to write that he loved me. That was absolutely blissful. We both were in love his letters confirmed it. Somehow hearing it in person was different from seeing ‘I love you’ written in his own handwriting. That sealed it—it must be true! I thought. I was his girl and I always knew he was thinking about me.

Shortly after graduating from high school he wrote that he had joined the Air Force and would be leaving for basic training in Texas.  I didn’t understand why he joined the Air Force especially during the Vietnam War. I worried about his safety and prayed that God would keep him safe.  Leon kept his promise and continued to write weekly. Sometimes I received two letters in one week. I don’t know how he found the time to write so often especially when he was so busy training, but he did and I’m glad that he was a man of his word. It made it easier for me. I felt close to him, as though he were there with me, and I with him. We continued to stay in touch by mail and I always knew what was going on with him and he knew what was happening in my life. His letters came from Air Force Bases in Wichita Falls, Texas and Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. The last assignment I knew of was at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia.

Leon received a lot of training at those three Air Force Bases. He wrote that he was trained as a mechanic. His job was to fix the planes, even while it was flying in the air he had to go out on the wing to repair the plane. Daddy was a mechanic in the Air Force too! I imagined Leon standing beside an airplane just like a picture of Daddy I had seen of him dressed in his mechanic’s jump suite. Leon’s military career settled at Langley.

One night I was standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes. We had one of those stand alone white porcelain sinks with the double door cabinets underneath. I hated washing dishes; there was nothing to look at but the bare wall straight ahead. A black wall phone hung from the other side of the room next to the huge wooden cabinet that housed the dishes and food. The phone rang Mama walked in from the living room and answered it. She was talking for several minutes. I knew it was for her so I continued washing the dishes. After she finished her conversation, she called me to the phone. Puzzled that it was for me, I walked over to the phone as I wiped my hands dry and picked up the receiver from the cabinet Mama had laid it on.


“Hi Angel, how are you?” It was Leon—I was shocked and happy.

“Leon! I’m fine. Where are you?” I asked thinking maybe he was in Akron and he would be coming to Meadville to see me, I hoped. It had been twenty-two months since I saw him. The day I left Akron loneliness set deep down in my heart—I yearned to be back in his arms again.

“I’m still in Hampton.” My heart dropped to the pit of my stomach.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“Yes, I’m fine… I’m sending a picture. Look for it in the mail. How’s school?”

“School is good, I’ll be glad when I’m finished. My grades are great.” There was a Long pause. As I stood there waiting, I sensed something heavy was on his mind. I had no idea what it was, but I knew it was deep. I remembered how deep our conversations could get. So I decided to leave it alone and be grateful that he didn’t go into a long deep conversation. Something kept nagging at me, but I was afraid to push the matter. I felt something was seriously wrong and it scared me.

“What’s wrong Leon?”

“Nothins wrong Angel…” he paused again. I want to ask you something…” silence broke through and another long pause followed. This was the first time he had ever picked up the phone and called to talk to me.

“Okay just ask me.”

“No, I’ll wait.” What does he want to ask me? I wondered. It’s not like him to not speak his mind. He’s worried about something.

“I love you Angel.” I felt a rush of relief. He still loves me; it’s not that he doesn’t love me anymore, thank God. Silence fell on my ears again.

“I love you too Leon.”

“I gotta go.” He slowly said.  “I’ll talk to you later. Be good.”

“Bye honey.”

“Bye Angel,” he said softly as he hung up the phone.

There was something strange about his call; he never called me before in the whole two-year courtship. I always received a letter. And Mama didn’t say a word. That was too strange. I looked at Mama and wondered what she thought about Leon and me saying that we loved each other. Then I thought it probably wasn’t a problem since he was in Virginia and I was in Pennsylvania. That’s too far away to make a sexual connection.

Mama focused on me graduating from high school. She always told me I would be somebody one day. She made it her top priority to make sure I graduated from high school and NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING would stand in the way of her dream for me.

“Ms. Heddy Through it All” Chapter 5 How Sweet It Is


The smell of bacon, and fried potatoes and onions came up through the vents and cracks waking me up early the next morning. Janet had come home and was cooking breakfast. I was so happy to see her. She stood about 4’9” inches tall and was spunky.  She’d tackle anybody no matter how big they were. She’d say the bigger they are the harder they fall. Janet wore her dark brown hair in a short bob with a bang combed to the side. She had a pair of gorgeous round brown eyes that she used when expressing her thoughts and feelings. I remember her favorite phrase was “Nigga Please” The way she said it made me crack up—it was so funny. Janet was frank she called a spade a spade and walked with plenty of self-confidence and pride. And I loved her like a big sister.

After eating the kids went outside to play. Janet washed the dishes and I dried them and put each plate carefully in the cabinet above the counter. I knew Leon was coming over again that night; I had to tell her that I had met a boy. So, I told her about Leon and how we had met in the park and asked if he could come over. Janet stood at the kitchen sink washing the pots and pans and asking me a zillion questions like:

“Where does he live, Heddy?”

“He lives over by the park on Columbus.” I wiped the table with the wet dish cloth that was on the kitchen counter and sat down at the table.

“Where does he go to school?”

I was getting more and more uncomfortable with every question. I rested my elbows on the table and put my head on my hand; then I looked up at her.

“He goes to Garfield High School.” Janet returned the plastic milk carton to the refrigerator.

“Where did you say you met him?” she asked.

“I met him at the park down the street.”

“Who are his parents?”

“I don’t know his parents.” I knew I didn’t have all the answers. Actually, I didn’t know much about him at all. I guess I was too busy looking at him and wasn’t paying attention when he was telling me about himself. Janet turned and looked me in the eye.

“Heddy, I’ll have to know more about him before he can visit.”

I didn’t tell her that he had been over many times to visit. I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to have company, but I should have known. Mama never let me have company unless she was there watching every move and listening to every word like a hawk.

“He’s a really nice guy, Janet.”

“I’m sure he is, Heddy, but I need to know more about him.” She walked out of the kitchen heading towards the upstairs.

Later that day after calling around and doing some checking, Janet finally said he could come over. It was still daylight when the door bell rang early that evening. It was Leon, I ran to the door. He was wearing a black waist length leather jacket and black pants. I could smell his cologne before I reached the door. I guess black was his favorite color. He looked so handsome standing there smiling at me. A white two door Pontiac Grand Prix,  parked in front of the house waited with the motor running.

“Hi, Angel, I came to let you know, I can’t come over tonight. I’ve got to go to Cleveland, but I promise I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?” I was sadly disappointed I had spent half of the day trying to convince Janet to let him come over. The other half I spent hoping and praying that she would say yes. Just when she agrees to let him come over—he has to go to Cleveland! I couldn’t believe this was happening. I stood there stunned and paralyzed from the mouth down.

He gave a slight grin and waited for my response, but I just looked at him and said; “Oh, okay.” Yes, I was disappointed, but what could I say? I had a bad feeling, as I watched him step off of the porch, walk down the sidewalk, get into that Grand Prix, and ride off. I watched him until I couldn’t see him anymore.

Ms. Heddy Through it all Chapter 4 Angel Doll

I was upstairs playing with the kids when the door bell rang. As I walked down the steps I could smell the scent of his Brut Cologne in the air. The first thing I saw was Leon looking through the screen door smiling at me. His smiling face warmed my heart. For a few moments I just stood there admiring him and smiling back. He was wearing a blue long sleeve shirt with black pants and his rose-tinted sun glasses as usual. He never took them off—not even when he kissed me. I wondered what his eyes looked like underneath them.

“Hi Leon” I opened the door.

“Hi Angel.” he walked in and kissed me on the cheek, then walked over to the living room couch, sat down and crossed his legs. I walked over and sat down beside him. “I didn’t bring any records today.” he said.  I noticed he was wearing black nylon socks.  Like always, his finger nails were neatly groomed. Nobody in Meadville wore nylon socks. I just had to touch and feel them.  I ran my finger down his ankle. They felt soft like women’s stockings.

“So, how was your day? he asked smiling.

“It was okay. I took the kids to the park again.” He reached for my hand and held it and he kissed me gently then put my hand on his lap taking my hand and rubbing it along his leg. Then he moved my hand slowly onto the warm, bulge inside his pants, and whispered softly in my ear, “I want you baby.” Leon sent several kisses, gently pecking on my lips. “Can I have you?” he said looking in my eyes as he waited for my answer. I was embarrassed to touch him that way and I didn’t know how I should react. At first I just let my hand lay there, but Leon took it and made it rub him again. I got the feeling that he wanted me to rub him there, so I did. My mind was foggy and my body was excited; it was hard to think clearly. The physical sensations coming from my body were confusing and the bulge was getting bigger and bigger.

“You already have me Leon.” I didn’t have to wonder what to say it just popped up in my mind automatically. What Aunt Carm had always said; “If a boy asks you to raise your dress say ‘no’. If you do it, something terrible will happen,” kept repeating over and over again in my mind. She never explained what would happen. I guess she had a just say no philosophy. I was scared to death of what might happen. If there ever would be a time to say ‘no’ it was now.Leon kept trying to slip his hand into my slacks. Every time his hand went below my waist, I stopped him and held his hand firmly. He could kiss me passionately, and caress my breasts even suck on my nipples, but that was it. I liked the way he made me feel. I was too busy enjoying it to know that I was playing with fire and that fire was blazing hotter and hotter by the second.

“Do you love me?” he asked holding my hand. I thought about it for a moment, I wasn’t sure how it felt to be in love. I knew I had never felt that way about anyone. And I never had those kinds of experiences with anyone else.

“I think I do.”

He let go of my hand and gave me a serious look. “What do you mean you think you do?”

“I never felt like this before Leon, I’m not sure.” How do I know if it’s true love? I thought.

“I love you Heddy.” He French kissed me plunging his hot tongue inside my mouth.

“Do you love me baby?” he whispered kissing me again gently on the lips.

I thought, maybe I should just tell him ‘I do’ so he would stop asking.

“Mm, Yes, Leon, I love you.” I kissed him on his neck and stroked his head and down his shoulders. He held me tight and French kissed me again passionately. Leon slipped his hands inside my slacks. But I stopped his hand again and held onto it tightly.

“No baby. Please don’t. We can’t,” I whispered in his ear.

“Why not? I love you. Don’t you love me?”

“Mama will kill me.” I thought about what Mama always said: “Boys flock to the bad girls, but they marry the good girls.”

“She’s not here! How’s she going to know?” He shrugged his shoulders. “Are you going to tell her?”

“No, I wouldn’t tell her.”

“Well I’m not going to tell her. So, how would she know if neither of us tells her?” That made sense, but Mama had ways of finding stuff out—then all hell would break loose. Most people say ‘fear God,’ but I feared Mama—with God I had a chance. Mama was a strong disciplinarian she gave my sister and I one chance to do what she told us to do, after that our behind was hers. She never forgot or let anything go: consistency was the motto she lived by.

“But something could happen.” I looked down fiddling with the buttons on my blouse.

“Like what Heddy?”

I looked up at him. “I could end up pregnant.”

“Is that what’s worrying you Angel? I won’t get you pregnant. I promise I’ll be careful.” He unbuttoned my blouse, kissed my nipples, and waited again for my answer.

“No, I can’t! I pushed him away.”

“Come on baby, I need you. I want you so bad.” His hand pushed my hand over toward his bulge again. “Feel that?” It was big and hard as a rock. “That’s how bad I want you. I can’t go home like this!” I didn’t know what to do or say; my body was going crazy with anticipation and desire. All I could think about was what Mama and Aunt Carm warned me about.

Leon kissed me on my cheek and then my ear. The next thing I knew his hot wet tongue was inside my ear licking. My body went limp. He quickly stuck his hand inside my slacks and down into my panties. His fingers searched tenderly until he found the opening of my portal. I gasped for a breath of air, and went even weaker as he went deeper inside with his finger. It felt good until he reached a spot that hurt like hell.

“Stop Leon, that hurts!” I shouted. I pulled his hand from inside my panties and pushed him away.

“I’m sorry Angel I didn’t mean to hurt you.” We sat there on the couch silently for what seemed like a long time before he tried again. He kissed me and licked and sucked on my nipples. Then I heard the sound of his zipper unzipping. He put my hand on his private which was out of his pants and harder and standing straight up in the air. My body wanted him in ways I was too young to understand at fourteen.

He whispered in my ear, “I’m young, dumb, and full of cum.”

“If you loved me you’d let me.”

“That hurts, shoot! If you loved me you wouldn’t ask.”

He sat there silently for what seemed like a longtime, then stood up and walked towards the door and looked back at me with his tinted shades still in place. “Good night Angel see you tomorrow.” He left closing the door behind him.

Ms. Heddy Through it All Chapter 3 My Girl

Cover of "My Girl: The Best of (Dig)"

Cover of My Girl: The Best of (Dig)

By Heddy Keith

Chapter 3

My Girl

I remember Leon came over again the following night and brought some brand new 45’s from Motown.

“These are hot off the press!” He said as he walked inside and headed straight for the oak console stereo in the dining room. “Nobody has heard them yet in Akron or Meadville.” It was My Girl, Ain’t too Proud to Beg, Angel Doll, and the Girl’s Alright With Me. I wondered how he got them before anybody else did. My Girl was the one I remember most. That was our special song. He put it on, as it was playing he held me in his arms looked into my eyes and sang that song to me. We were swaying to sound of the music. I felt so special and loved. Through the years whenever I heard My Girl I always thought about us.

We sat on the living room couch holding hands and talking. It was a long white floral print couch large enough to seat at least four people. The carpeting was Gold. I could see the stairs leading to the second floor. The front door was right by the stairs. There were two chairs and a coffee table that sat in the middle of the room between the couch and the chairs. We sat down on the couch I could see the dining room from where we were sitting.

Leon taught me how to bop. We danced and listened to the records. Angel Doll was playing. We got up and fast danced. He held my hand and we bopped to the rhythm Leon twirled me around and around.

The next day he wasn’t at the park, but he came over that night. This time he didn’t bring the Motown records with him. We were sitting on the couch when he said:

“Have you ever been French kissed before?”

“Yes.” I said frowning.

“Why the ugly face, didn’t you like it?”

“No, I didn’t, it was awful.” The thought of it brought back horrible memories and nearly made me sick to my stomach.

“Why didn’t you like it?” he asked curiously.

“His spit ran down my face and it was a mess. I don’t like anybody’s spit on me.”

Leon laughed. “It shouldn’t have been that way.” He ran his forefinger along my jaw bone as he looked into my eyes. “Can I give you a French kiss?” he said softly. I promise it won’t be like the other one.”  I thought about it for a moment. Since he promised it wouldn’t be that way I guess it’ll be okay.But just in case, I asked;

“Are you sure you promise?”

“Yes, I’m sure. I promise.” He held up his right hand sealing his promise.

“Okay.” His hands caressed my back and arms and gently supported my head as he passionately French kissed me. I felt as though my feet had left the floor and I was floating in mid-air somewhere in outer space. Wow! How grand his kiss was. I had never been kissed like that!

He stopped and asked: “How was that?” I tried to act like it was no big deal.

“It was okay,” I said. He kissed me again, and again, and again. His hands ran down my arms and back up again then he caressed my breast and gently squeezed my nipple. I rubbed his head and moaned mm. Things were going on inside my young inexperienced body that had never happened before. Strange sensations emanated from both breasts and ran down my spine and out to the core of my body. My nipples turned firm and more sensations exploded throughout my body. He lifted my blouse and reached around my back and unsnapped my bra. His tongue danced around my nipples. Then he sucked and caressed them.  I wondered what was going on.I was trying to hold it together, but my body was going crazy with desire.It was like firecrackers bursting in mid-air. I couldn’t control them! His hand ran down and into my pants. I grabbed his hand and said no, then gently moved his hand away and kissed him on the cheek.

“I want you baby.”

“No, I can’t.”

“Okay. I guess I better go.” We got up from the couch and walked towards the door. I knew I didn’t want him to leave, but I didn’t want to go all the way.

“Can I have one more kiss before I leave?”

“Yeah.” We stood and walked towards the door; then there for what seemed like another hour just kissing and hugging, not wanting to stop, not even for air.

He kissed me again his tongue swirled around in my mouth, his hands caressed my breasts. And then his wet warm tongue was inside my ear My legs started shaking and I got weak in the knees. Leon’s kiss brought an emotional earth quake in my body. I thought I was falling. “I’m falling Leon!” I shouted.

“Don’t worry honey, I won’t let you fall.”Leon held me up and walked me over to the couch.We sat there for a while. He held me tightly in his arms.Once in his arms, I melted like ice cream in a hot oven.

            “Are you okay now?” I wanted to say ‘no,’ but I knew I had to tell him the truth.

“Almost,” I said hugging him tighter. I didn’t want Leon to know that I was so inexperienced. We sat there holding hands. I didn’t understand my own feelings and emotions. There was something so special about him and the way he made me feel. He was so caring and gentle. And oh, my God his touch wasn’t like other boys my age who were rough, rugged, silly, and immature. I felt safe in his arms. I admired and looked up to him.

“I guess I better go now,” He said as he stood up facing me he reached for my hands and gently pulled me up from the couch. Once on my feet, he pulled my body close to his tall, muscular body. Then let my hands go and wrapped his arms around my waist, while looking into my eyes he smiled then French kissed me again. We walked to the door and took one final quick kiss for the night.

“Good night honey, See you tomorrow.” He slowly closed the door behind him. As the door shut, I watched as Leon walked off the porch and out of my sight. Then I ran upstairs to the bathroom. All that night I lay in bed thinking of Leon and the feelings and sensations I experienced. I wondered why it felt so different when Leon kissed and touched me. I didn’t feel anything like that when Lester kissed me, and went flipping down the alley doing cartwheels. I just stood there looking at him, wondering what in the world was wrong with him. Even when Scoochie kissed me, I thought I saw stars, but I didn’t feel anything. Leon’s touch was different. Just the mere sight of him made me smile from within, and it spilled out onto my face. When his hand touched mine I felt warm tingling sensation. I was happy that I went to Akron for the summer; I met the love of my life.

Leon came over every night that week and brought the Motown hit records with him. We listened and danced to the Temptations and talked about everything under the sun. It seemed as though he knew everything! He was so smart. He taught me things I never knew. We danced and had fun. But the night always ended with Leon putting something on me that sent an earthquake rippling through my body.

Please comment what do you like about it. Is there anything that is unclear?

Copyright January 2005

Ms. Heddy Through it All Chapter 2

Marvin Gaye performing in concert during the 1...

Marvin Gaye performing in concert during the 1970s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Distant Lover

I was sitting on my bed reading Essence Magazine and listening to the radio in the background, when I heard Distant Lover playing on the radio. The lyrics toMarvin Gaye’s song ripped my heart wide open.I knew the pain Marvin was singing about, I had lived it over and over everyday like a broken record that kept repeating as I reminisced of our summer together. Marvin so eloquently wrote the words that were deeply etched in my heart:

“Distant lover, lover so many miles away, heaven knows that I long for you every night, every night and sometimes I yearn through the day. You should think about me and say a prayer for me… As I reminisce oh baby, through our joyful summer together the promises we made, all the daily letters. Then all of the sudden everything seemed to explode. Now I gaze out my window, sugar down a lonesome road…”

Tears flowed down my chocolate cheeks, and up came deep excruciating pain. I wonder what my life would be like if Leon would have returned and married me, what happened to him? Was he thinking about me?

 LeAnn walked into my bedroom. “Mama, how did you meet Leon?”

“I met him one summer when my cousin Howard came and asked Mama if I could watch his kids while his wife was in the hospital. Mama asked me if I would, of course I said yes. I always loved to travel and I loved my older cousins.”

“You and your cousins are so close. My cousins—we’re not close like that.”

“We grew up together. We all lived in Meadville. When times were tough we all lived in the same house. That’s how we made it through the rough times. Howard and Janet did so many things with me. Howard would take me for a drive in his car. Janet would always take me for a ride out in the country to Cutters Variety & Craft Store where they sold all kinds of things arts and crafts, knick knacks, toys, and many unusual things. I loved the arts and crafts, but the knick knacks I couldn’t stand them.”

“What’s wrong with knick knacks?” She said with a puzzled look on her face.

“How many do you remember me having in my house? She thought about it for a moment.

“I can’t remember any being in our house.”

“Yeah that’s right, because Aunt Carm had a curio from the floor to the top of the ceiling that housed at least a hundred of them things. And I had to wash and dry each one. I vowed there would never be a knick knack in my house.”  Whenever I had finished my chores at home, I would walk up to the Manning’s house to play with Donna and Sue Ann. But I had to walk past Aunt Carm’s house. I tried my best to tip toe past, but most of the time she’d see me and call me inside to wash those knick knacks.

“Mama you’re so funny.” She laughed.
Anyway on the way back home we always stopped for an ice cream at Hanks Frozen Custard Stand on RT.322. They had the best ice cream. So when Howard asked me to watch his kids I didn’t have to think about it.”

“I never met Aunt Janet.” LeAnn said as she folded some clothes she had brought up from the basement laundry room.

“Yes, you met her, when you were three years old you and your brother went to Akron and stayed with Janet and the kids for two weeks. Anyway, Akron was about an hour and a half drive from Meadville off of interstate 80 East. Mama was crazy about her Nephew Howard. His wife Janet was her best friend’s daughter. She loved Janet like she was her own daughter. And, we all loved their children. I hurried up and packed my suitcase. Howard and I left right away. When we arrived the kids were glad to see me. Janice, the next to the oldest girl ran up to the car and gave me a big hug. She had pretty brown eyes and a head full of hair, and a lot of spunk like her maternal grandmother.”

“So, which one is the oldest?”

“Carmen is the oldest then Janice, then Big man. Robin is the baby girl.”

“When Robin saw me she stuck her tongue out then ran around the house hoping I would chase her down and tickle her. When I didn’t follow she peeked from around the house to see where I was, I sneaked around behind her and said boo and grabbed her up and swung her around in the air. They helped me carry my things inside. That night we talked until we fell asleep. The next day we went about our day. I got the kids up and fed them cereal for breakfast. Howard had already left early that morning for work. It was a cool cloudy day. The kids wanted to go to the park down the street. I really didn’t want to go to the park, but they were begging and pulling on me. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE Robin begged, those pretty brown eyes looking up at me. Finally, I gave in and off to the park we went, Carmen, Janice, Robin, and Howard Jr. who we all called Big Man. I was swinging them and they were having so much fun running around, laughing, and playing.

“Mm” LeAnn said smiling.

“I looked up and there he was walking by, this tall, slender, light-skinned boy wearing rose-tinted sun glasses. His hair was cut close to his head and neatly lined. He had a gentle smile. I noticed right away how handsome he was. Man he’s fine!” I said. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. As he walked by my heart skipped a beat. He slowed down and said ‘hello’ but kept on walking. One of the kids called for me; that distracted me for a moment. In the meantime, Janice ran up to him. I saw her talking to him from a distance. He and Janice talked for a few minutes then he walked away. I wondered what they were talking about. When Janice returned, I asked, “Janice what were you guys talking about?”

“I told him you like him!” she smirked, her arms crossed around her waist and her right foot slightly in front of her left foot. Janice was always bold and had an outgoing personality.

“You what?” I hollered.

“I said… I told him you like him,” she smiled. You did say he was fine!”

“Why did you tell him what I said?” Janice had her usual smirkish grin on her face as if to say ‘so what!’ She wasn’t afraid of anything or anyone from the day she was born. I wondered what Leon thought. I walked over to a nearby swing and sat down and was daydreaming about him. I started swinging and pumping it faster and higher back and forth. Before I knew it I was swinging so high that the swing began to buckle, which let me know that I was going too fast and too high. I slowed down and came to a slow stop.  When I looked up, there he was walking towards me.

“Oh My God!  What am I going to say?”  My stomach felt like a ball of heavy wire all knotted up inside. I wasn’t sure what to say so, I just smiled while I thought about what to say. Before I rounded up the courage to speak,

He said, “Hi.”

“Hi I’m sorry; my cousin has a mind of her own.”

“Don’t worry it’s okay.” We talked. He told me his name was Leon Smith and that he lived on the other side of the park. We walked and talked in the park. I told him my name and that I was babysitting my younger cousins while their mother was in the hospital. The next day the kids and I went to the park again, but this time I could barely wait to get there. He was there too. We talked again while the kids played.

“Show me where you live. He said.”

“Okay, come on, I’ll show you.” We walked to the eastern edge of the park. I pointed across the street to the large white frame house on Lover’s Lane with the big full length porch and driveway. The kids played and left us alone. He was so handsome it was hard to look at him without smiling. Leon dressed very stylish. He had on a gold shirt, and black trousers. There was a sophisticated manly look about him. From that day on I took the kids to the park everyday hoping to see him and everyday there he was as if he were waiting on us.

“How did he know you would be in the park? Did you tell him what time you’d be there?” LeAnn asked.

“No, I didn’t say anything. He just knew or maybe he waited there for us. Anyway, we walked in the park as we talked and got to know each other.”

“So, what grade are you in Heddy?” He asked

“Tenth grade.”

“How long are you going to be in Akron?”

“I’m not sure. I’ll probably go home when Janet gets out of the hospital.”

The kids came running past us. Janice almost knocked me over.  Big Man was chasing her.

“They sure are having a good time. How about you, are you having a good time Heddy?” He looked at me softly and reached for my hand, which I gladly gave to him. His hand was soft and his nails were clean and well taken care of. There were no jagged edges, unlike most young men my age. We continued to walk towards the north end of the park holding hands.  As we neared the end, Leon pointed to a white house straight ahead. It was a bungalow with a full porch. “That’s where I live,” he pointed.

“Oh, that’s a pretty house.”

“Thanks,” I could see the kids playing, but I was too far away from them to be comfortable. “I better get on back.”

“Okay, I just wanted you to see where I live.” We started walking back to the center of the park where the kids were playing. Leon said he had to go, but he would come to visit me later that evening. I said ‘okay’ smiling. As he left, I watched until he was out of sight. Wow! I can’t believe he’s coming over tonight. I didn’t think once about getting permission to have company. The kids were hungry so we headed home for lunch.”

“So did you ever ask Uncle Howard?

“No, I never did. I was brain dead—comatose. Once we got home I fixed bologna sandwiches and cool-aid. The kids ate.  Then we cleaned up the house. I rearranged all the living room furniture, ran the sweeper, and dusted. Finally it looked just right. I went running upstairs and searched frantically for the right clothes to wear. The ironing board and iron were downstairs so I ran back down stairs and began ironing. By that time Howard was home from work. He asked me to cook dinner. Howard had brought steak for dinner. It was a nice round steak. He worked as a butcher at a meat-packing company. He asked me if I had ever cooked steak before. I said, “No, but I can learn. Just tell me what to do. So, he told me to wash it off and season it with salt, pepper, and some garlic salt. Put a little butter across the top. Then place it in the broiler.” He laid down to rest before he had to leave for his second job.

“I did it exactly as he said. I was so proud that I could do things for Howard and that I could actually manage the house and kids like a real grown up would, except I was learning step by step. While I was in the living room daydreaming about Leon, the steak was burning in the kitchen. The smoke made its way to the living room. Finally, I noticed and ran into the kitchen just in time. It was burnt almost to a crisp.”

“Mama, you were burning things way back then too!”

“Hush girl, don’t go there. Let me finish telling the story okay? Howard told me to put it in another pan with a little water and bake it for a few minutes until tender. In the meantime, I made a salad and instant mashed potatoes. Then the kids and I ate. Howard came downstairs, but didn’t eat. I guess he didn’t want burnt steak after all. I chuckled. He said he would grab something at work then quickly left for his second shift job. Howard was a hard-working family man. Even back then he was always busy doing something constructive.

“Yeah, Uncle Howard still stays busy working on cars.”

“He’s always done that. Howard is a great mechanic. He can ride in the car with you and tell you what’s wrong with it. Anyway, I never got a chance to tell him Leon was coming over. I didn’t think about telling him. As a matter of fact, he didn’t even know I had met someone.

“Did Grandma allow you to have company?”

“No, only if she was there watching like a hawk. And, then she’d try to chase them away.”

“Chase them away how?”

“She’d say something like, Heddy needs to do the dishes now, you can help her, or she’d put them to work doing something else.”

“You chased some away from me too Mama. Remember that guy that pulled up to us at the red light?” she laughed.

I chuckled; “Yeah, you were driving that white Buick Regal I had. He was looking at you like he was licking his chops. It was LUST! I leaned over across the seat and looked him in the eye, then shook my fist at him. He took off like a 747 jet as soon as the light changed. Are you going to let me finish telling you?”

“Yeah, go ahead Mama.”

“The kids and I cleaned up the kitchen. Then I headed upstairs to get ready. I took a shower and got dressed. Then propped a mirror up on the kitchen table straightened and bumped my hair.”

“You bumped your hair?’ She frowned.

“Yeah, I bumped my hair. Back then we had those big Marcel Irons that we put in the fire until they got hot, then we rolled our hair up in them. That’s how we curled it. That was way before we had electric curling irons. My hair was my crown and glory. I kept it looking good all the time. When I finished bumping it; it looked like a wig every strand fell in place and was in perfect order. I inspected the house once more. I was standing in the kitchen and didn’t hear him when he walked onto the porch. The kids were upstairs playing when the door bell rang.  I started to run to the door, but stopped cold.

“Why did you stop?” She asked.

“I knew I had to act like it was no big deal! So, I walked slow and calm like it wasn’t that important, but inside my heart was racing even tripping over me to get to the door. It was what I had lived for, and thought about all day. We both said ‘hi’ at the same time. We stood there for a few seconds our eyes fixed on each other.

Leon smiled and said, “Well, are you going to invite me in?”

“Oh yes, come on in. I opened the screen door. “Have a seat.”  He walked over to the couch and sat down. I put on some forty-five records then sat down beside him. Leon talked and talked telling me all about him-self. I was quietly listening hanging onto every word he said watching his lips as they formed each word, each syllable, and thinking how fine he was. Finally he said: “Well I’ve been doing all the talking here. Tell me about you.”

Oh no! Now it’s my turn! I thought. “What should I say? Where should I start? My heart started pounding. Say something quick! I thought. “I don’t know where to begin,” I said.

He said, “Tell me about where you come from.”

“Pennsylvania.” I said quickly.

“Yes, I know that, but where in Pennsylvania?”

“Meadville it’s a small town in the northwest corner of the state.”

“How far is it from Pittsburg?” he asked looking directly into my eyes.

“It’s about one hundred miles north of Pittsburg.”

“So you’re a country girl.” Humph, I thought, country, he got his nerve!

“No, Leon we live in a small town, but it’s not out in the country. Back then I was sensitive about being from a small town and called a country girl. Everyone from Meadville was sensitive about being from such a small unheard of town.

“Well, how many police stations do you have in Meadville?” Police stations, I had to think about it for a moment. I only knew of one, but I was trying to think if there were any more.

“Just one,” I said.

“That’s all? How many post offices are there?”

I hesitated then replied, “One.”

“Just one police station and one post office, how many fire stations does Meadville have?” I thought Wow, all these questions about Meadville. It’s beginning to look like the country.

“I’m not sure how many, but I know it’s more than one. Leon, Meadville is not even on the map it’s so small.”

“But good things come out of Meadville,” he replied.

“How do you know that?” He leaned in towards me looked in my eyes and softly said, “I know because you come from there Angel.” I smiled and looked away. Leon was three years older than me. He was the youngest of eight children. The baby boy of the family had seven older brothers and one sister. I was just a freshman; he was a senior in high school.

Leon asked, “Do you believe in love at first sight?

What is love at first sight? I thought. Not only did I not believe in it, I didn’t even know what it was, I couldn’t even play it off.

“Mm I don’t know. What do you mean by love at first sight?” I asked.

“That’s when you first meet someone and you know right then and there that you love them. Do you think it’s possible to love someone you just met?”  I wasn’t quite sure how to answer that question, but one thing I did know was that Leon was giving me a headache with all the deep questions.  I guess he could see that I was getting tired.

He said, “Looks like you’re getting sleepy. I better go.” Although I was tired of the questions, I wasn’t ready for him to go. He left, but came over again the following night and brought some brand new 45’s from Motown: “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” and “My Girl” by the Temptations that was our song.”

“These are hot off the press. Nobody has heard them yet in Akron or Meadville,” he said. I wondered how he got them before anybody else did. We danced and listened to the records. He taught me how to bop. Just before he got ready to leave, he kissed me. An electrical shock passed between us when our lips touched.

“Ouch, you shocked me,” he said.

“No, you shocked me.” I responded. Neither Leon nor I understood why we got shocked when we first kissed, but it didn’t stop us from kissing again. It was undeniable we had a special connection. After a while we said good night and he left.”

Ms. Heddy Through it all Chapter 1

Hampton, Va. (May 14, 2005) - An F-4 Phantom f...

Hampton, Va. (May 14, 2005) – An F-4 Phantom flies in formation with an F/A-22 Raptor and F-15C Eagle during the U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight at the 2005 Air Power over Hampton Roads air show held on board Langley Air Force Base, Va. This year’s air show showcased civilian and military aircraft from the Nation’s armed forces, which provided many flight demonstrations and static displays. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Daniel J. McLain (RELEASED) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was sitting at the kitchen table nibbling on a piece of dry wheat toast fresh out of the toaster when LeAnn walked into the kitchen

“Mama, this book, Heal Your Body, by Louise Hay says that disease starts in the mind, and high blood pressure and heart trouble are results of longstanding emotional problems that are not resolved. What are you holding onto? Who is that man?” she pointed to the 8×10 picture lying on the table. “Whatever it is, you need to let it go.”

“LeAnn, my heart condition is a result of years of eating too much fried chicken, and smoking too many cigarettes. Besides, I already dealt with most of my emotional issues. There is nothing that’s not resolved.” Just then a memory from my childhood ripped through my mind like a bolt of lightning tugging and pulling at my heart. I was standing on our front porch; it was a long gray wooden porch with a picket type wooden banister that connected the porch to the house. Four steps led up to the porch. A black metal mailbox sat near the top step. I saw myself sad and disappointed standing at the mailbox rummaging through the mail.  

“Mama I’m talking about emotional pain. What hurt are you holding onto?”  The thought of him made me want to cry. I fought back the tears. Could that be subconsciously bothering me after all these years? I wondered. This is my opportunity to tell her the truth. After all she’s not a child anymore she should know about him. LeAnn was walking out of the kitchen when I reached for her arm and pulled her back. “Wait a minute, LeAnn, there IS something I never RESOLVED.”

She stopped and sat down in the chair next to me and leaned towards me resting her arm on the glass table as she waited to hear what I had to say.

“I took a deep breath let it out slowly and swallowed. “During high school, I was in love with a boy from Akron, Ohio. He was a few years older than me, and when he graduated from high school he joined the Air Force. We wrote for a year or more. Then while he was stationed at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia, one night the phone rang. Mama answered it. I stood there waiting to see if it was for me, but she kept on talking. So I went on washing the dinner dishes. After a few minutes, she called me to the phone. It was him! I was so excited. He had never called before. We communicated by letter.”

“What did grandma say to him? She asked as she moved my plate to the side.

“I don’t know. I wasn’t paying attention because I thought it was for her. He was calling from Langley Air Force Base. He said he sent me a picture of him and to look for it in the mail. Of course he asked how I was doing and I told him everything that was going on with me. He listened quietly.”

“It sounds like he was a nice guy,” she said smiling.

“He was a very kind caring person. He  was always concerned about how I was doing. And that I was doing good in school. I noticed that he was very quiet. I asked him “What was wrong?” He assured me that everything was okay. He said he wanted to ask me something, I said, “Okay just ask, but then he said never mind, I’ll wait.”

“What do you think he wanted to ask you?” I thought about what he could have wanted.

“I don’t know. I didn’t have any idea and I didn’t press him. My heart started racing and a dizzy feeling came over me. I had a feeling that there was something major on his mind. The thought of what it could be was frightening. He told me that he loved me, and I said I loved him too. Then we said goodbye. I felt relieved when I hung the phone up.”

“Why were you relieved?” She frowned.

“I didn’t have to hear what was on his mind. I was afraid.”

“Afraid of what?” she asked.

“I don’t know. I was just afraid that it would be bad news.”

“What kind of bad news were you afraid of?”

“I don’t know. I guess that he was going to the war in Vietnam. I sensed something real wrong. But I was too scared to ask. After a few days, I received a large envelope with this picture of him in his uniform and hat. I held the picture up close. I could barely see his eyes for the brim of his hat that covered them. A few days later, I received a letter asking me to marry him in eighteen months when he got out of the military, after that, I never heard from him again. That was in nineteen sixty-seven. I don’t know what happened. Leon just suddenly stopped writing.” I looked up at LeAnn. Her soft friendly smile had turned cold; her eyes were dark and empty.

“Leon?” she said. A serious disappointed look appeared on her face.