Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – March 3, 2004
Before Elvis & Paul
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – March 3, 2004 – I’ve already mentioned my relationships with Elvis Presley and Paul MacCartney. I think I was about 10 when Elvis really stole my heart. I used to daydream about going to Hollywood where my car would conveniently break down right in front of Elvis’ house.
Of course he would be home to answer the doorbell and when our eyes met, he would be smitten. I would be cool, alluring and coy. The fact that Elvis didn’t live in Hollywood never entered my mind. I was very loyal to Elvis until I was fourteen, when he was rudely supplanted by Paul MacCartney – the cute Beatle.
Oh how I yearned for Paul to be my boyfriend – along with twenty million other girls my age. George, Ringo and John were alright, but nobody came close to Paul.
I played my little 45 Beatles records over and over again until I thought my father would lose his mind. If you ever want to see a grown man cry – play She Loves You – Ya-Ya-Ya two hundred times in a row, and refuse to eat dinner because you’re too much in love to be hungry.
As you can see, I was romantically involved at an early age, but the person who first captured my young heart, before Elvis or Paul were even contenders, was Rory Calhoun. My parents often took my brothers and me to Saturday afternoon matinees at one of the local theatres. Rory Calhoun was the handsome cowpoke who saved the saloon hall gal and the other women folk in a town. This town was run by a ruthless sheriff. Thuis all happened long before Clint Eastwood saddled up as The High Plains Drifter. I was seven when Rory rode into town, off the movie theatre screen and right into my heart.
He had a black horse, a black Stetson and a white kerchief around his neck and the kind of dark, smoldering good looks designed to melt a young girl’s heart. I was beside myself. I begged my mother to take me back to see the movie again and she relented. It may have been River Of No Return, Four Guns To The Border or Way Of The Gaucho. I can’t remember. It wouldn’t have mattered, he could have been playing the back end of a cloth horse at a country fair – I was over the moon.
Just as soon as I was grown up, we would be married and raise horses together on his ranch in Montana. I had no idea if he had a ranch in Montana, but nothing could dampen my ardour. I had Rory’s picture on my bedroom wall, along with all the newspaper ads for his movies, when they came to the local theatre. Everything about him was perfect. His eyes, his walk, the way he sat on the corral post chewing on a piece of grass, the sound of his voice, his shy ‘aw shucks’ way with the gals and the way he took care of his horse. The fact that he loved horses and I was crazy about them cemented my love for Rory.
Rory was born Francis Timothy Durgin on August 8, 1922. My middle name was Frances. We were both ‘Leos’, the zodiac was conspiring in our favour – it was fate – a match made in heaven. It was 1956, I was seven and Rory was thirty-four. Nothing my mother said would make me believe that Rory would not be waiting for me in fourteen years when I reached 21. He would only be 48. I never stopped to figure out the logistics of our romance. It didn’t matter to me if he was married with children, had a home in Oregon or an apartment in New York. I had no idea how or where we were going to meet, but it was going to happen. I had complete faith in the future. I never wondered if I would like him. Loving him was enough. Rory’s tenure in my life lasted for three years.
I adored Elvis and I was more than a bit nutty about Paul, but nobody ever made me feel the way Rory did when I was seven. The first time love touches your heart it’s a wondrous and exciting thing. I believed with every fibre in my little being that I was going to marry Rory Calhoun, and I am eternally grateful for that sweet, magical memory.
I remember reading a few years ago that Rory Calhoun had passed away, after being hospitalized with severe emphysema and diabetes. It brought back all my earnest, childhood memories. Gazing at Rory’s picture before I went to sleep increased the possibility that he might gallop through my dreams at night. I recall that we rode horses a lot and we may even have exchanged a chaste kiss or two.
On dream-free nights his photo was waiting for me in the morning when I opened my eyes. Such was the romantic ritual of a little girl. I loved planning our future together and telling my mother all about the life we were going to have as husband and wife. So Rory, even though I wasn’t completely true to you, and in later years was besotted with Elvis and Paul, wherever you are, you were important to me. I bet – given the chance – we would have been really great together!