The Party Line

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 10th Feb 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Personal Experiences

Here is another teenage love story from my book, "Picking Up The Pieces: A Woman's Journey


Growing up and vying for that first real boyfriend is not easy for any teenage girl. Having a boyfriend can also be a status symbol to some. When you have a boyfriend you can hold your head high. You can proclaim to your peers, (incidentally which just happens to be your entire world), that you are somebody and you have somebody who loves you.

Everyone had boyfriends

From the age of 14 onward all my friends on the block had boyfriends, the girls that I hardly knew at school had boyfriends, and Claudia (Sissy) had a boyfriend. If you remember from a previous story I even wanted her boyfriend! It left just Maxine and I to get that first real boyfriend. I had already decided that I just would not be able to live with myself if Maxine got a boyfriend before I did. Albeit she was more gracious than I because she always said that Claudia would be the first to have a boyfriend, then I, leaving her the last.

I had first had a crush on Bryan Nichols in grade 2. Bryan like everyone in the school never bothered to acknowledge my existence. Then there was Yvon Bertrand, the French boy on the block. He too did not acknowledge my existence. Instead I ended up his kid sister's babysitter all in the hopes of catching his eye and his love. I had a crush on Kim the boy who later became a star in his own right. All that I got from that experience was a younger brother who was crazy over me. Believe me it was no big deal. I didn't want him I wanted Kim. Finally there was Mark, Claudia's boyfriend that I secretly wished I could have for my own. I was really taken with this boy. I waited every night by the phone forfeiting my right to go anywhere because I did not want to miss his call. The call of course never came. His only interest in me was to make his girlfriend jealous, but it had to be out in the open where all their friends could see. If there were private phones call nobody would believe him, especially Claudia.

It seemed that Maxine and I were meant to be alone. I carried a picture of some boy my grandmother knew around with me. I pretended to all unsuspecting individuals that this boy was in fact my boyfriend. But Maxine knew me like no other. She knew I did not have a boyfriend.

Unpopular girls

Maxine and I shared every little secret. There was nothing left unsaid between us. So of course we talked about boys and how we wished we had boyfriends. All either of us could go on, was our past loves.

We shared a similar past, two unpopular girls that the boys would barely look at. But we both had a childhood love. Mine was Brian Nichols who had left the school at the end of grade 2, and hers was Myles who still lived in Nova Scotia while she was now here in Quebec. I would always tease her and say that Myles was miles away but she knew I understood. We were kindred spirits.

Oh Maxine and I did try to find boyfriends. We did our part. We walked my dog and sometimes the occasional boy would stop and talk to us. However nothing panned out. We pursued boys at school. I have already written about these adventures in my Adonis story, and we would go up to Beaver Lake every weekend to look for boys there as well.

Every Sunday we would walk up to the mountain to Beaver Lake in our Dr. Scholl's exercise sandals. Because of it I can tell you that as a fat girl I really had wonderfully strong legs. We would hang around all day sitting in the grass and just looking for boys. Of course nothing ever happened there either.


Finally I had stumbled over a glitch in our telephone system. My friend, Brenda, actually was the first person to tell me about this wild new thing. Apparently if you dialed any telephone number with the last two digits ending in 99 you got a party line. There were always young people on that line who were ready to meet. For me this was like a gift from God. Perhaps I could meet finally somebody and get the status that I deserved. Brenda and I fooled around with it, Maxine and I fooled around with it, and Lavenia and I fooled around with it. But I was by far the most obsessed with it.
When my grandmother would literally throw me off the telephone and out the house, Lavenia and I would go down to the corner pharmacy and use the pay phone to call up these numbers. The pharmacist was irritated with us but never made us leave unless he had a paying customer who wanted to use the phone.

I spoke to many guys over the line from the ages of 14 to 18. I was particularly crazy over this boy - Larry Hitchcock. He was 16 while I was 15. He lived over in the next neighbourhood from me and he and I would talk for hours and hours on the phone every night. It was wonderful. It was the first time in my life that I ever had a guy spend that much time with me. I was enjoying every minute of it and of course I wanted to meet him.

We did meet and I was even crazier over him than before. He was so cute! But I guess the feeling was not mutual. After meeting me Larry never spoke to me again. He would never answer his phone nor return my phone calls. Finally out of desperation I called him in the middle of the night. He answered and told me never to call him again. No explanation was given but I knew it was because I was fat. I had to deal with that all of my life.

I met a few other guys and at least they were honest with me. They told me I was too fat. The last guy I met over the party line was Jeff. He lived across the river from me (Montreal is an island in the St. Lawrence River). He was also in high school and worked weekends at an old fort on Ste. Helen's Island, which is a tourist attraction for our area. He mentioned he had a friend that worked there as well. We did meet and he seemed to like me which was a surprise. It appeared that my weight did not bother him. The only thing he was concerned about was whether or not I was tall enough for him to comfortably put his arms around my shoulders when we were walking. Well, what can I say "to each his own" - I was not about to complain!

I spoke at length about him to Maxine and we decided to go to the fort and surprise him. Maxine would try to win the attention of his friend and perhaps each of us would finally have the boyfriends we craved so long for. Much to our own demise, the whole situation turned out to be a fiasco. First of all we had him called away from his duty to come and meet with us. He was certainly not happy about that. Then when he had a break and brought his friend over, one look from his friend and we knew that the friend was laughing at us. Maxine decided that two could play the same game and she acted really silly. I remained quiet just like Jeff did. We spoke briefly and then Maxine and I went home.

When I finally spoke to Jeff again he told me that it was not a good thing to do to come to his work like that. He said that I had embarrassed him in front of all his friends. He said that we were just little girls and he had no time for that. However, Maxine was the one acting like a little girl though I have to admit I did giggle at her foolishness. But really I just wanted to talk to Jeff. The part he left out which was the crux of the matter was that I was fat and that was an embarrassment to him.

From my standpoint I was the same little girl he liked before I met his friends, how come it suddenly made a difference? I was 15 and he was 16 and he was so much more grown up that I? The truth of the matter was my weight was not an issue for him but it was for his friends and he didn't want to be laughed at. That was the last time I met anyone from the party line. The line was discontinued shortly afterwards. Maxine and I resumed our boring lives as usual talking about Brian and Myles who lived miles away.

All photos from Wikimedia Commons
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Boy Crazy, Teenage Boys, Teenage Girls, Teenage Life, Teenage Love

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author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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10th Feb 2015 (#)

Incredible article and I will not be bored follow any raiser story from a book written by you. Thank you for sharing this madam. :)

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