The Name of the Game is Nostalgia #ThrowbackThursday

I can get a little nostalgic writing memoir—you might say its the nature of the beast—but theres probably no place or time I get more soppy about than growing up in Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls was where I spent most of my elementary school years; it was where I learned to swim in the pool at the Cyanamid plant; it was where I broke my arm when I was ten; it was where my period came for the first time in the girls room at Princess Elizabeth Middle School and Niagara Falls was where I cried serious tears when we moved away when I was fourteen. But before that, Niagara Falls was where I had my first boyfriend, a boy named Randy Tuck. I was eleven and it was the same year the Name Game song came out. Remember?

The name game! 
Shirley, Shirley bo Birley Banana fanna fo Firley 
Fee fy mo Mirley, Shirley! 

It was a huge hit all over the world but no place more so than in our schoolyard. We stood in our little clique circles and sang and clapped all our names but none gave us quite the charge we got when we used Randys last name instead of his first.

Tuck, Tuck bo Buck, Banana fanna fo Fuck
Fee fy mo Muck, Tuck! 
Randy blushed, hating the taunt. We knew it was cheating but still, wasnt it the most hilarious thing ever?

Randy and I had our first kiss slow dancing at a party in Dwayne Powers rec room. Unlike the basement in my house which was dark in a bad way—I helped my mother do the laundry in the wringer washing machine during the day but I wouldnt dream of going down there at night when the single hanging lightbulb made weird shadows dance in the corners—Dwaynes basement was wood-panelled, his parents jazz album covers stuck on the walls for decoration, and when we turned out the lights, it was dark in a good way.

At first it was romantic, dancing in the dark, Dwaynes parents leaving us alone. Then the coupling up began and kids started slipping off to the couches lined up against the wall. I knew I was supposed to do that too, let Randy—who had ridden his bike over to my house and walked me and Trixie to the party—lead me by the hand to the couches. Instead we kept dancing while most of the other 5th graders were making out, Dwaynes parents upstairs, oblivious. Poor Dwayne, the host, skinny, creepily taller than any of the other boys, going through an awkward stage, with no one to kiss at all.

Randy and I danced, my arms slung round his neck, his arms around my waist but the kids pressing up against each other on the couches made me nervous. I didnt want to sit down, I didnt want to do what they were doing. What were they doing? I squinted over his shoulder into the darkness but without my glasses I couldnt really tell. Where two people should have been, the shadows merged into one. Finally, probably because we thought we were supposed to, we pressed our mouths up against each others, and kissed the way it looked like they kissed in the movies.

Thinking back, it was less a kiss than a crushing of our upper lips but it was enough. Wed kissed. We were boyfriend and girlfriend now, an elementary school couple, destined to live happily every after. Or as it happened just a few weeks.

Randy. Randy, bo Bandy. Banana fanna fo Fandy 
Fee fy mo Mandy, Randy! 


The Name of the Game is Nostalgia. The letter is N.
Originally published April 16, 2015 for the #AtoZChallenge 

NOTE: I quite often change names to protect the innocent from embarrassing memories but in this case, Randys real last name is the entire point. Sorry Randy, wherever you are.

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