Updated: Aug 27, 2020
This story is based on my real-life experience with the first girl I dated after I started driving. I’ve changed the names and slightly changed the places but the time and the events were as near to what happened as I could recall up to a certain point. The end note clarifies where I went from what did happen to what I’m sure would have happened if I’d made different choices. I also wanted to explore how parental, in this case maternal, openness about sex has been very much impacted by social class and other experiences. When I veer from actual events to conjecture, I filled in the events with a composite of people and events from years as a social worker.
Modern readers might be surprised at many of the events and at the ages of the young lovers. While today some of these things might seem problematic, in the 1970’s this would not have been so. While American society has become more relaxed about some things, yet on the subject of teenage sex we have become positively reactionary. The hippy movement had a very large contingent of “underage” teens, yet at the time it did not raise the kinds of reaction it would today. And besides, this is based on the actual events, while I was tempted to modify the story so as not to offend, this was my age and the age of my first true love.
So think of this as a Hollywood movie that has “Based on a true story” in big letters at the beginning. Jim Bowie High was the cross-town rival to my high school. At that time the city named the High Schools for heroes of the Texas revolution. Oh and Twyla is not a made up name. It was the name of our mutual friend at the time of the story. And Pat, or Patrick, is my middle name. I was named after my aunt. Now who names their son after their brother’s wife? Oh well, unlike the Sue in the Johnny Cash song, it was not the name I used.
Pat and Twyla: A Story of First Love
Pat Combs was a good kid; not a great kid but a good kid. The sixteen year old junior at Jim Bowie High school was the kind of guy that many moms would want their daughters to date. He wasn’t particularly good looking or popular or macho, so he wasn’t likely to be using his girlfriend as a trophy. Though he didn’t work particularly hard at school, he was an A-B student bound for college; he was a varsity debater, he worked a part time job and was active in his church. He was also polite and well-mannered and came from the “right” side of the tracks. Sure, he drove a beat up 1972 Datsun 510; but, that meant he wasn’t likely to be getting into any drag races. All in all he was not a bad guy for a single mother’s freshman fourteen year old daughter to have as her first true love.
The year was 1978 and Pat had met Twyla Miller at a youth activity at Bethel Baptist Church. The church had an active teen outreach and the charismatic Youth Pastor was particularly good at making a home for teens whose parents did not go to church. Pat’s parents hadn’t gone to church since his mother went back to college while he was still in grade school. Twyla’s mom had never been to church that her daughter could remember. But both teenagers found that elusive something that caused them to keep going to Bethel.
Though Pat himself had only begun coming to the church the previous spring, he was already a leader when Twyla’s school friend Jeanette brought her to that fateful youth meeting in January. Though, he would like to say it was because he was concerned for her soul that he crossed the room and introduced himself to the visitor, the real truth was that he found her pretty. She was a few months shy of her fifteenth birthday, but she already had a woman’s body with real hips and bust. Pat noticed that fact from across the room. She was no Farah Fawcett, but she did have the same sandy blond feathered hair and unforgettable smile (at least to Pat).
Pat was no Casanova, but he had taken out several girls since he began driving the prior fall. A year before he’d had his first girlfriend. While a girlfriend meant something quite different before one had the mobility of a car, still the experience had given him an idea of the difficulties involved in relationships. And in the fall he had done some kissing in that old Datsun 510, but with its 4-on-the-floor transmission and bucket seats, it just wasn’t very conducive to anything more; even if he had the nerve to try more which he didn’t’. At that first meeting he liked her right off and by the end of the evening, he was sure she liked him too.
For a couple of weeks Jeanette’s mother brought Twyla to the Sunday evening youth meetings. The next week Pat called her and asked if he could drive her to the youth activity at church on the coming Saturday afternoon. She said she had to ask her mother. Her mother’s answer was he could drive her as long as he took her straight to church and brought her straight back home.
Over the next few weeks, Twyla’s mother, Ms. Fletcher, was present for each and every date he had with Twyla. She was always part of the conversations they had in the living room. He learned as much about Twyla’s mom as he did about his new girlfriend. Twyla and her mom were far closer than he and his parents. In many ways Pat envied the relationship. Pat found out Twyla’s mom was a hair dresser when on his second visit she offered to cut his hair in their kitchen. As it turned out, she continued to cut Pat’s hair for years after he and Twyla stopped dating, and beyond that after he’d gone to college and was in town on breaks. In part, this is a tale of how Pat became part of Twyla’s family.
And so it was when Pat met Twyla’s mother she insisted that he call her Jill, not Mrs. Fletcher. She wasn’t a Mrs. Anything, she went by the modern Ms. as she’d never been married she was still Jill Fletcher (not Miller like Twyla). In time she realized he was uncomfortable calling her by her first name, so she suggested “How about you call me Momma Jill. That is what the young people who used to hang out here called me.” It would only be months later that he understood who those people were. But the he adopted the use of that name.
In 1978 it was unusual in middle class Arlington Texas that Twyla had a different last name than her mother. He would later learn that when her mother was fifteen, just a few months older than Twyla was then, her mother had met her father. When her mom found out she was pregnant three weeks prior to her 16th birthday, they had her mother sign the permission for them to wed. Though she did pretend for several years she’d gotten his name, the truth was, they never did go to the Justice of the Peace as they had told Jill’s mother. Twyla’s dad had never signed on the line to make the “marriage” legal. As such when he left town with another girl when Twyla was three, Jill Fletcher had no claim for alimony. She was able to get a child support judgment on a Marvin Miller, address unknown, for all that was worth. Fortunately she and her young daughter were already living in the home that had belonged to her late great-aunt, so the young mother and child weren’t out on the street.
Nineteen year old Jill Fletcher, with Twyla’s grandmother’s help, bought the home and had already obtained her cosmetology license. Thus the mother and child were fed and clothed through the late ‘60’s & 70’s without needing to find a man to support her or resorting to welfare. Thus the home Pat walked into was decidedly working class, a world away from the reality that Pat inhabited just a few miles across town. It was a quiet post-war neighborhood, not unlike the one his grandparents lived in. The house was a clapboard two bedroom affair, with just a living room and a kitchen/dining room in addition to Twyla’s and “Jill’s” bedrooms. It was spotlessly clean on each and every visit Pat made to the home.
Twyla’s world was just so far from Pat’s “Leave it to Beaver” existence; however he was not mature (or snobby) enough to understand the issue of class that divided adults from his world and Twyla’s. What he did notice right off was that her mom was young and attractive. Not so young as to get more than the 3rd person acknowledgment that she was pretty in that distant way TV stars are pretty; however she was young enough not to be intimidating like a “normal” parent.
He’d been nervous when he approached the house to pick Twyla up that first time, but her mother’s easy manner and warm approach had made him comfortable to come in when he brought her home. He stayed for a few minutes and when he went to leave her mom asked in a teasing manner “What, no good night kiss for my daughter?” Standing at the door, he gave Twyla a peck on the lips and was off.
That night he, for the first time, masturbated fantasizing about Twyla. While he had been masturbating nightly for three years; however he had not yet masturbated to ejaculation. Pat was a late bloomer, and although his tackle was full grown, he did not yet have the ability to masturbate to climax. The semen in his jockey shorts on most mornings said he could complete the act, but he had yet to be able to do it while awake. That night, after masturbating thinking about Twyla, he felt guilty for using his mental image of her that way. That guilt however, didn’t stop him from doing it again the next night and every night. His second kiss; a lingering one on her doorstep when he dropped her off the next night made for more masturbatory fodder.
Due to his part time job and varsity debate after that second kiss he was not able to see her again until the next Saturday night after his debate tournament. That did not mean they did not talk on the phone. They did just that with increasing frequency. For two months he was on her couch every Sunday night, some Saturday’ nights and, when he was lucky, one weeknight as well.
One Tuesday night on the phone, she told him that her mother asked why they hadn’t really started seriously kissing yet. Though he knew what she meant he coaxed her to spell it out because he didn’t want to seem over eager, though eager he was.
“I didn’t want to seem pushy or like I was using you” he told her. That prompted a string of sweet appreciations that he ate up. So he pushed it a step farther “And you can tell your mother that too.” Then he asked her what she had told her mom. She hemmed and hawed, but finally told him that she had told her mom she wanted to “French” him (i.e. opened mouth kissing with tongue), but Pat had been too much of a gentleman to try anything.
The conversation progressed to their past experiences with the opposite sex. She seemed surprised that he had only felt up a girl’s boobs once, and that had been outside of the girl’s bra. That was as far as he’d ever been. She told him that she had just assumed he’d gone “all the way” before. When he asked why she thought that, she said her mom told her that her dad first had sex when he was fifteen. “So, I guess I thought all guys did it by the time they were your age.” That put him on the spot, but his church language saved him. “I just think it’s too special to just do like that.” He didn’t quite go as far as say he had to wait till marriage, he had a hard-on and there was no way in the world he’d commit to waiting like that with a raging boner.
That conversation led inevitably to what happened on that Saturday night that he would never forget. On that night, as usual, he had been sitting on the couch holding Twyla’s hand talking to her and her mother.
But we must take a detour to talk about Pat’s family. To a young man raised in any home but that of Brenda and Mike Combs, Jill Miller’s talk that night would have been both shocking and likely have led to a series of actions very different than those that Pat would take. However, this was the 1970’s and Pat had been raised in a progressive home where a level of openness about sexuality was just a normal part of life. It would not be until years later that he realized that his parents were quite unusual for middle-class parents of that era. As early as he could remember the current Playboy magazine graced the living room coffee table. His mother had fully embraced the braless look of their era, even under the thinnest of tops. She also regularly wore a string bikini at the public swimming pool that was as least as small as those worn by teenage girls. Even more, his parents were open with Pat and his siblings about their annual pilgrimage to a Caribbean nude beach. When the X-rated movie Debbie Does Dallas made such a splash when it came out in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, his parents openly told their kids how they and their friends were going. Pat even sat with the kids of one of those couples that night. All in all he was far less sheltered than most kids of his generation; yet, compared to teens of the 21st century, he was terribly naive.
By the time he’d met Twyla, he had figured out that his parents were different than the parents of most of the other church kids. He found it quite fun to see his church friends reaction when he told them how that on his mom’s first surprise visit that fall to his older brother’s Texas Tech dorm, she found a naked girl in his bed. His brother, Will, had gone to take a shower, and his mom had the nicest conversation with her son’s new girlfriend while she lay fully exposed in his bed.
To Pat hearing allusions to sex among the adults was simply part of his life; however, it was never explicit. Even his half a year at Bethel Baptist Church had not fully opened his eyes to the uniqueness of his upbringing. After all, his parents were married and the church preached that sex was for married people, so he didn’t see that as a problem. And as for sex before or outside marriage? While he knew that he did not buy into the church’s beliefs about sex, he was also sure that the church claim that the world was six thousand years old was also nonsense. On both fronts he was working on a compromise that would fit both the world as he understood it and the faith of his new church. For the time being he decided that the point of Christian sexual morality was not to take advantage of people sexually and to show respect. Since this attitude was exactly what he had been taught at home. it was an easy fit. And, like the fact he could not buy the idea that dinosaurs roamed the earth just a few thousand years before the pyramids had been built, he decided to just keep his questions about the church belief about sex to himself.
With that background to interpret what his girlfriend’s mother had to say that night, let us return to our narrative.
Twyla’s mother had said “I am so glad you and my daughter got together” as the three of them sat in their living room. Pat had been trying his best not to stare at Twyla’s tits all night. He could plainly see their round shape and two nipple bumps pushing the light fabric out. He was pretty sure she had no bra on under her concert tee-shirt, but he was not experienced enough to make that determination with certainty. Mrs. Fletcher went on, “So many boys would push her and even hurt her to get sex. I must say I was worried what kind of guy she’d bring home for her first serious boyfriend. I lost my virginity to one of those creeps who wouldn’t take no for an answer in the back of his Ford Galaxy on our first date.” She looked over to Twyla “That was a year or so before I met your father” then back to Pat “It was not something I would want to happen to Twyla. When she gives it up, I want it to be a good experience that she can look back on years later, and feel good about herself as a liberated young woman.”
Twyla squeezed his hand knowingly. Pat was not as quick as his girlfriend to see the significance of what her mom was saying. This all seemed so reasonable to Pat. He did not jump up and say something like “So your OK if I pork your daughter?” though doubtless that was what Twyla’s mom had at least half expected. Pat passed the test without ever knowing he’d been put to one.
She went on “Twyla told me why you haven’t tried to move on her, and I’m impressed.” She paused and gave him a smile.
“Thank you.” He said “I just believe in treating a girl with respect. And that means not doing anything unless I’m sure that is what she wants to do.”
Jill Fletcher laughed “You must not get much action then?”
“I guess not” he said meekly.
“That wasn’t criticism Pat. For a teenage guy to go without rather than impose on a girl is rare these days. Sometimes I think the sexual revolution did as much harm as good in that respect” Jill continued. Twyla just sat quietly. Pat found out later that she and her mom had several explicit talks leading up to this sit-down, so Twyla fully understood what her mother was saying about her impending sexual debut. Pat did not.
Though she had already lost Pat, she went on “Hell, few enough of the adult guys I know do that. Not that I’d even consider not putting out at the end of a first date with a hunky guy, but it would be nice go out with a guy who didn’t expect to get laid after dinner. It’s not the sex, it is the expectation that bothers me.” She paused, clearly thinking to herself before continuing “So like I said, my Twyla is lucky to have a guy like you. I think I can trust you. But…” she paused “Here is the rule. Whatever you guys do, you will do here. I mean here, in the living room. I don’t want you in her bedroom and I certainly won’t allow you guys to go parking in your car somewhere. If you are sure you’re doing the right thing and not forcing yourself on my daughter you shouldn’t be afraid of doing it with me here. You can be sure I’ve seen it all and am not squeamish about things. So while I am not making any set rules for you two, but be sure, if I see you guys getting carried away and I think you need to take a break and think about what you’re doing, I’ll let you know. I don’t think it is inappropriate to tell you that this week she started on the pill, that does not mean you two are ready yet. It just means when she is ready, she will be ready.”
Naive Pat still did not even begin to grasp her meaning. He was still thinking in his frame of reference of full contact kissing, and her mom was there to make sure it didn’t get too hot and heavy. He assumed this was her version of the “window fog rule.” If you are making out in the car you should stop when the windows get fogged up. To him she was saying she would be there to watch out for Twyla’s interest. It was not until years later that he realized that right then and there Twyla’s mom was telling them clearly that at some point in the foreseeable future she fully expected the two of them to have sex. Her only rule would be that they would do it right in the living room, with her sitting right there to keep her girl safe.
With that she said “OK, that’s done. Let’s get to your hair.”
And so he and Twyla’s mother went to the kitchen and prepared her solon set up. While she was part owner of a local unisex solon, she still used the equipment she had installed back when Twyla was in pre-school. Twyla just pecked Pat on the cheek as he left that part of the room, and then she turned on the TV. The house was small and the living room and kitchen/dining room were essentially in one large open space. There was a partial wall hiding the kitchen appliances, but only the linoleum entry-way separated the small dining room from the equally small living room. Combined, the area was smaller than his parents’ bedroom suite.
In the kitchen, Twyla’s mother had a solon skink at the end of the counter. Ms. Fletcher explained that the home had belonged to her late aunt before she passed. She and Twyla had lived there since her girl was an infant. The house had also doubled as her work space until about four years ago. He sat in the chair and laid his head back into the sink. She began to work on his shoulder length hair. Guy’s hair of that length might be considered very long by the standards of the 21st , century but it was the norm for the 1970’s. The pretty, and well built, woman’s hands worked the shampoo into his scalp with warm water. It felt very good, sensuous, even slightly arousing. The fact that her large breast were hovering over him didn’t hurt either.
“It feels good doesn’t it?” she said as she took her time on washing.
“Yea” he mumbled. She was right it did feel really good as he gave himself over to the pleasure of her fingers on his scalp.
She rinsed his hair. “I’ve had a few guys in this chair where this was as far as the haircut progressed before they couldn’t wait any longer.”
He didn’t follow what she meant.
“So don’t worry about it” she said as she wrung out the excess water.
It was then he realized he had a boner. Opening his eyes as she lifted his head, he looked down. His stiff prick was clearly evident in his Levis. His face began to heat up.
“Don’t worry. I’m flattered, but you’re a bit too young even for me.” She tossed the towel aside “Though I might just ignore that if not for the fact you’re Twyla’s guy. I wouldn’t do that to her.”
He was flustered. Did she just say she would have sex with him if he weren’t Twyla’s boyfriend? No, he was sure he was misreading what was said, but she sure sounded like she was talking about sex. While he thought on this she just continued to talk, “So how did the debates go today?”
She asked about his family and she asked how his brother was doing at Texas Tech. She told him about a problem she’d had with a client at her solon that afternoon and so on. All he could think of is that he’d gotten turned on by Twyla’s mom, and she knew it, and she had not minded.
Half an hour later, Jill presented him back to her daughter with his newly styled and blow dried hair. He had just moved on from his mortification when Jill said “So Twyla, your boyfriend really liked the shampoo job. I thought his zipper might break he liked it so much.”
Twyla gave her mom a look that spoke a reproof clearly knowing of what she spoke.
“Don’t worry girly, I didn’t take advantage of him; but I thought you’d want to know his gear is in perfect operating condition.”
“OK, OK, I was just trying to help.”
Twyla was not red in the face but she did speak just below a shout. “I don’t need that kind of help.”
Her mom just smiled. She slapped Pat on the behind and said, “Isn’t she pretty when she’s mad?” before turning back to clean up the mess in the kitchen.