Long Island, NY
She wanted him to ask her to marry him. Leanna wanted to be Mrs. Kenny Melman more than she had ever wanted anything. In classes instead of taking notes she would write Mrs. Kenny Melman over and over again, and sneak a look at his picture.
Leanna had loved him since the day she first saw him freshman year. Kenny was a sophomore and star of almost every play. And underground movies that were shown in festivals all through the college circuit. Leanna had no desire to be an actress or have anything to do with film or theater.
She went to all of his plays and many rehearsals. Somehow they had progressed from hanging to living together without ever having a real date. They had begun living together officially this year. Her father had even given her the money he would have spent on a dorm plus some more so that they could live “like humans not freaks.” Her father’s exact words.
Leanna had thought her father would be raging with expressed or unexpected anger that could lead to a heart attack or stroke. Instead he seemed relieved, and was nicer than she had heard him since she was twelve.. Her mother and Sonya Melman had become fast friends. They would go shopping together for household items.
“The kids are perfect together. And didn’t they find a great house?”
The house was a glass and steel walled painters studio, and guest house on top of a cliff that overlooked the sound. It was modern and clean. Leanna thought it let in too much light to be a real painters studio. Myra, their recently widowed landlady lived in the large house on the next plot. She was in her 40’s, too old to be a real hippie, but she was nice.
Leanna didn’t understand her urge to be married and use her husband’s name when both women she knew who were married made sure that everybody knew how hard, but rewarding it was to use their own name.
Kenny had a high draft number and didn’t have to worry about going to Nam. He wanted to move into the city and audition for plays when he graduated though both their fathers would scream about law school.
Leanna wasn’t sure that his plans included her. She didn’t seem to be included in his dreaming. Sometimes she felt that two would be a crowd, that he needed space, and a life away from her.
All her friends were theater people so she knew exactly where he was at all times. Next year it would be different. Leanna had become so used to them that she couldn’t imagine what it would be like to break up.
He was starring in a modern version of Abelard and Heloise, with her best friend, Carrie playing Heloise. She began to imagine them having an affair. Or would it just be sleeping together though both were living with partners? She couldn’t even ask Carrie this.
Leanna stopped eating. She never studied. She was a Sociolgy major and the chairman of the department, Allan, had expressed an interest in her last year. Her classes were interesting but not exactly brain numbing. Leanna knew that would keep getting A’s, in the fall semester. Her first year, spring semester had been cut short by an almost race riot that really existed in a few minds. Her second year was Kent State. All her classes both semesters had been pass/fails.
She hadn’t thought she was listening today in her “social impact of The Beatles and Rolling Stones in 1960’s America” class when she found herself saying:
“Wrong. Girls groups can have some of the most relevant music of all. Especially The Shangri-la’s. “Leader of the pack” tells a true story….” Then she found herself going on about death songs from the early 60’s. “Leader of the Pack” was a thousand times better than the rest, but she had a point to make. Somewhere. She and Al spent the rest of class arguing.
Their argument was all over campus within half hour it seemed. Nobody had ever argued for pop music before.
That night Kenny asked her to come to Manhattan with him as his bride. Leanna found herself telling him to have one year alone in the city while she stayed on the Island. Her father paid for the house.
When they did get married three years later, she never once thought about using his name. It did feel a bit strange to be in the same class at Columbia Law.
Is she really going out with him?
Well there she is, lets ask her
Betty, is that Jimmy’s ring your wearing? mmhumm
Gee it must be great riding with him,
is he picking you up after school today? uh-uh
by the way, where’d you meet him?
I met him at the candy store
He turned around and smiled at me you get the picture?
Yes we see
Thats when I fell for
The leader of the pack
My folks were always putting him down…down, down
They say he came from the wrong side of town
Whatcha mean when they say he came from the wrong side of town
They told me he was bad
But I knew he was sad
Thats why I fell for
The leader of the pack
One day my dad said find someone new
I had to tell my jimmy we’re through
whatcha mean when you say you had to go find somebody new?
He stood there and asked me why
But all I could do was cry
I’m sorry I hurt you
The leader of the pack
He sorta smiled, and kissed me goodbye
the tears were beginning to show,
as he drove away on that rainy night, I begged him to go slow.
whether he heard, I’ll never know
look out look out look out!
I felt so helpless what could I do
Remembering all the things we’ve been thru
In school they all stop and stare
I can’t hide my tears but I dont care
I’ll never forget him the leader of the pack
Gone, the leader of the pack and now he’s gone.
Today is blog against sexism day. Beginning with the post that I put up Sunday this might be blog against sexism week for me.
Yes I have a pink blog with a pinup with what my aunt calls a provocative blog name. Never even occurred to me as I was and am truly courting destiny. My aunt’s a feminist. I’m post. I should write about how the Redstockings, a radical feminist group, loved my boyfriend Zachary and hated me for all the wrong reasons.
I like pink and I like pinups. I think that my blog content speaks for itself. We assign sexist values when we say that pink is girly and cute–hate that last one. Or when we say that pinups are inherently sexist. It’s our perception that’s off, not the content.
I didn’t do a word count. This story was somehow inspired by the greatest girl group of all time, The Shangri-la’s, and the song, “Leader of the Pack” one of the greatest death songs of all time. When I was very young I was obsessed with them. I know that Dave Barry did a parody and considers them the worst songs of all time, but he was never an eleven year old girl.
Mary Weiss, the lead singer’s first CD or any recording in 40 years came out this week. Look at the picture of her.
I had written earlier about Jenna Bush getting a book deal because she was a UNICEF intern. Of all the UNICEF interns, I imagine that her story is the most compelling, and worthy of being published.