Memories are made of this

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 5, 2003

Many years ago (more than I care to remember) I met a Syrian. True! I guess it’s hard to believe my life was so vastly different from those I live with. But, it was another world.

Now to the Syrian. I was going with a twin at Tufts College, Medford, Mass. He was Matt (never use last names.) I can’t remember name of other twin. I have to say this wasn’t one of my exciting boyfriends. He was somewhat boring and I imagine the other was boring also. I had no desire to find out.

At Tufts there is a street called Professor’s Row. It is made up of nothing but fraternity houses. Matt and twin (no idea of his name) lived in one of them. There were parties every week. One particular party I was there with Matt and four men – no dates – came in. They shook hands all around shed topcoats and surveyed the room. Over to Matt and me came the most gorgeous hunk of manhood I had seen in my life. Shook hands with Matt, said, &uot;I’m Lou, I’ll finish this dance with the young lady. &uot; Wow! Can you imagine how I felt? I told you I was cute – 4’11&uot; and 102 lbs. This manly vision was tall. (I love tall men.) He was muscular, so well dressed and danced like a dream. I told him I didn’t like being taken over by anyone and asked to be returned to Matt. I really didn’t want him to but I wouldn’t accept this taking over. He laughed, kept on dancing and informed me to laugh. I’d enjoy the dance at his frat house next night. Would you say no? I also learned he was at Tufts Medical School. A doctor! Even better. Poor Matt.


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As to the frat party next night: Costly; one new smart suit, sexy blouse, trip to beauty shop. I was gorgeous and what a time I had!

We dated every night for weeks and one night he announced we were going to &uot;father’s house&uot; the coming weekend. No mention of mother. He lived in Brockton, Mass. I said OK. We drove to Brockton. Average house and a mother. Father did all the talking. Mother could have called in her share of conversation. My being a teacher (first year) seemed to please daddy. Lovely dinner – Syrian food (tasty), but I wasn’t completely at ease. Couldn’t put my finger on it. Finally time to drive back home. I said my thank-yous and Lou kissed his parents goodbye. Fathers get kissed. Suddenly his mother came forward, put both hands on my shoulders and kissed me on the forehead. She smiled, daddy smiled. Lou grinned from ear to ear and we were off. In the car I asked what had just happened. Explanation: they approved, engagement would follow. Worry not all will be taken care of but there were rules I should know. Here they are: I cannot look or talk to a male. He must approve of what I wear. He is always right. (I thought I was!) Family affairs talk only when allowed (no wonder Mama was so quiet!) I exploded! Made him pull over and stop. Then I began: this is America not Syria. Take his gorgeous face and body and offer it to someone more worthy. I talk to whom I please, see whom I please, wear what I please, now please take me home and don’t bother calling. He was stunned. How could I refuse? Easily – I was spoiled too but not in the areas he was. Silent rest of trip. A cold goodbye by me. Refused his repeated calls and they soon stopped. I was glad. What a waste to turn out so much manly beauty and make him a Syrian. I sigh when I think of it.

Florence Arena is a resident of Hillcrest Retirement Center and a regular News-Herald columnist.