Carol Grey Honza

It was during the 1950s era — however, even today, those sweet memories of my teenage years still flow through my mind, like the aroma of home-baked bread. 

I turned 16 the year of my very first kiss. It was at a friend’s birthday party — It was my very first boy-girl evening event. There was a rumor floating within my circle of friends that there would be a kissing game — Spin the Bottle — played during the party. 

Four of my best school girlfriends [also invitees] got together at my house prior to the party and discussed the possibility we might get kissed while playing that kissing game. None of us had ever been kissed — so, we decided we needed to practice up. We chose a quart “glass” milk jug as our practice object on which to rehearse our kissing techniques. [Upside down, the jug was about the size of a human head.] It was just perfect. 

We passed the milk bottle from girl to girl and each took turns practicing kissing skills on the milk jug. We rarely thought of germs back in those days. We gave each girl a personal critique of their kissing performance; made suggestions for improvements and practiced again, until we felt the entire group’s individual successes for proper kissing style had been achieved. Eyes closed – head cocked to the side; just like kisses we had seen in the movies. And when we thought we had perfected our kissing skills enough – everyone went home to dress for the party.

Now, don’t say you didn’t try any of this silly learning-to-kiss practice stuff. I am sure there are many of you closet-kissers out there who hid and practiced with your teddy bears, Mickey Mouse, dolls or spent many nights listening to dreamy music, hugging your favorite pillow to sleep – didn’t you? Fess up! You can’t hide — someone knows.

It was a great party — all you could hope for your first boy-girl festivity. There were decorations and plenty of food, rock-n-roll music and some of the braver kids even tried their turns at doing “The Bop.” 

When the parents and chaperones retired to the den to watch wrestling, the “birthday boy” went to a hall closet and – out came a bottle (kind of like a small round glass milk jug) to be used for playing the “Spin the Bottle” game. The bottle was marked with a big Red Arrow. The girls sat on the floor in a circle around the bottle and then each boy took his turn at spinning the bottle in the middle of the circle of girls. 

When the bottle stopped, pointing at a girl, then that boy and girl couple left the circle to take a quick trip to the dark back yard behind the giant pecan (kissing tree), where the “kiss” was supposed to happen — that is, if the couples were courageous enough! Before the game ended, every couple made their trip around the kissing tree and back. And, I suppose, everyone got a kiss before the evening was over. 

Billy Mitchell was quiet and shy, a tow-headed young man with a very nice smile. It was the first time we had met when his spinning bottle’s arrow pointed at me. Yes, Billy and I made the memorable trip to the kissing tree. I am sure we both experienced our first kiss as he was as scared as I was. However, I was sure the girls’ milk-jug practice session really helped me, although the “kiss” was not an Oscar-winning performance by either of us. It was my only kiss ever from Billy. I don’t ever remember seeing him after that party. Maybe he and his family moved away. I went home after the party and entered the momentous event in my diary, noting all about my very first kiss.

I believe first kisses are considered a rite of passage. It’s common to remember the firsts in our lives that are rarely forgotten. You may want to take a moment to think back to your very first kiss. Ah, sweet memories! My husband still remembers his first kiss and many of you, I feel certain, can rekindle that same memory. 

Yes, it is the essence of these sweet memories of our youth that still flow through our aging minds like the aroma of home-baked bread. 

Ellis County resident Carol Grey Honza is a published author and also provides freelance articles for various newspapers in North Texas. Her latest book is entitled “Invisible is the Color of the Wind.”

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