The Summer of 1969: The Heart Break

By Richard Mabey Jr.


Our true-life story so far: It is now the middle of July of 1969. I have begun taking swimming lessons at the YMCA. My swimming instructor, Lisa Ann, is a very pretty girl who just completed her freshman year at Paterson State College. Lisa Ann is very kind to me. I have become quite smitten with her.


Wednesdays and Saturdays were the days that I took my swimming lessons from Lisa Ann at the YMCA. There was a kind of tension that had fallen between us since I had asked Lisa Ann if she wanted to come with me to my church youth group’s ice cream social. Lisa Ann kindly turned me down.


Wednesday morning, July sixteenth, I awoke with an immense enthusiasm to see Lisa Ann and to start another swimming lesson at the YMCA in Paterson. Mom once again drove me to the front door of the ominous, overwhelming, tall building that was home to the YMCA indoor swimming pool. Paterson was world’s apart from that of dear old Lincoln Park.


Inside, sitting on the bench, beside the big swimming pool, I waited patiently for Lisa Ann. It was so strange that she was late. She was usually at the poolside, when I would arrive at quarter to nine in the morning, 15 minutes early for my swimming lesson. The big, black and while clock, that hung on the wall on the side of the pool, continued to tick away. It was now quarter past nine.


Then suddenly, the big door going out to the main hallway opened. There stood Lisa Ann. She took my breath away, she looked so beautiful. Lisa Ann walked over to the bench that I was sitting at and said to me, “Richie, sorry I’m late. My boyfriend’s car broke down on the way over here. Robbie usually drives me to work in the morning.”


“Oh, no problem,” I replied. I tried to hide my hurt and anguish, upon hearing that my goddess had a boyfriend.


“Well, let’s get started, Richie. I think we should work some more on developing your skills with the American Crawl,” Lisa Ann commanded.


And so, the swimming lessons began. All went fairly well. I continued to give 110 percent to my swimming lesson, as I always did. But my heart was aching. The realization that Lisa Ann had a boyfriend, burnt deep into the fiber of the core of my heart.


Eleven o’clock came. My swimming lesson was coming to a close. Lisa Ann and I were both standing in the wading section of the pool. Lisa Ann was reviewing my progress with me. Then suddenly the big door, leading to the swimming pool room opened. It was a tall boy, with brown hair and a kind of over confident attitude.


“Ready to go, Lees,” the boy called out from having just taken a few steps from the big door.


“I’ll be ready in a minute, Robbie,” Lisa Ann called out to this boy, who obviously was her boyfriend.


“Well, come on Lees. For crying out loud, I gotta get to the gas station to pick up my car. Then I gotta have you drive my cousin’s car back to his house. He only loaned me his car for the morning, ya’ know,” the tall boy standing over Lisa Ann and I, shouted out with a hint of anger in his voice.


“I told you, I’d be right there,” Lisa Ann hollered back at the obnoxious boy.


“All right, but hurry up. I can’t keep my cousin’s car all day,” the boyfriend scolded out to Lisa Ann.


“Look, I told you, I’d be right there. Hold your horses, will ya?” Lisa Ann replied in a stern voice.


“Alright, I’ll be out in the hallway, when you’re finished up with this kid!” the boyfriend shouted with a voice overflowing with anger. He then departed through the big door.


“That’s my boyfriend,” Lisa Ann sheepishly told me.


“Oh, I figured that,” I replied.


“He’s not always like that. He’s just in a bad mood cause his car broke down this morning,” Lisa Ann explained to me.


“Well, thank you for the swimming lesson,” I said to Lisa Ann, as we both got out of the swimming pool. We began drying off with our big beach towels. Suddenly the big door opened again. It was Robbie, once again.


“Ya’ done with the kid, Lees! For crying out loud! I ain’t got all day. Let’s go!” Robbie angrily shouted out to Lisa Ann.


“Well, I gotta go, Richie. I’ll see you Saturday morning,” Lisa Ann said to me.


Then Lisa Ann put on her T-shirt and shorts over her bathing suit. Jumped into her sneakers and ran over to her boyfriend.


“I’m sorry to keep you waiting Robbie. I’m really sorry,” Lisa Ann said to her boyfriend.


“Don’t let it happen again. Ya’ hear me,” Robbie crudely told Lisa Ann.


The couple walked through the big door. I sat at the bench beside the big swimming pool. My heart began drowning in sorrow.


To be continued.


Richard Mabey Jr. is a freelance writer. He can be reached at Please place the wording “My Life Weekly” in the subject line.

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