His name was Kenny and his birthday was September 24; I was fourteen-going on fifteen the summer of 1955 and he was sixteen-going-on-17, when we first met. He asked me to go out to a drive-in movie and I said no, I wouldn’t go out with him because he was dating my friend Dolores, and, I said, I wouldn’t date him until he broke up with her.  Such was my moral fiber.

And so he broke up with her and we dated hot and heavy throughout the summer. I met his family and he met mine and came for a Sunday dinner. I baked a cherry pie.

I went with him and his family “Down Home” which was in Kentucky, and met more of his family members, but what he wanted most from me, I refused to give; such was my moral fiber.

And so he came one day to tell me he wanted to date my friend, Donna, and she refused unless he broke up with me (such was her moral fiber). I cried and cried but soon began dating someone else, but he was my first love and I loved his name and the sound of it.

Since I couldn’t name one of my sons “Kenny” I did the next best thing and named my youngest son “Kelly”–whose birthday, oddly enough, is also on September 24. My youngest son (when he was younger) had an uncanny resemblance to my first love.

In retrospect, I realized his life could never be mine and I could never live barefoot and pregnant down home in Kentucky.


Sandra Lee Smith

May 28 2009

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