Merrilee and I dated a couple more times, but something had gone out of the relationship and things weren’t the same as they once were. She was
nice about it, but it didn’t seem like she was really enjoying herself and we pretty much drifted apart.
Not long after, high school came to an end when we all graduated. Merrilee and her sister took off for college and I didn’t see her again for a
Somewhere in here, I met a personable and beautiful young woman and not long after we got married. I got a good job with a good company that
promised a good future. We moved away from Ventura and only went back once in a while to visit friends and family.
On one of our visits, my mom handed me a clipping from the paper with Merrilee’s picture in it. It was an engagement announcement. It surprised
me, but not too much. The real surprising part was that she was engaged to Bobby Scott. Bobby was ok, but sometimes he was a touch dense around
girls and about girls. I wondered if he knew just how lucky he was.
A while after that, I heard that Merrilee and Bobby were getting married at the Mission. An entirely fitting place for a good Catholic girl to get
I wasn’t invited, but I went to the wedding anyway. The doors were closed when I got there so I waited on the steps outside. The wedding came to
an end, the doors opened, people flooded out of the church and then the bride and groom walked through the doors and into the bright Ventura sunshine.
I hadn’t seen Merrilee for over five years and she was more beautiful than ever. She was so caught up in the moment that she never saw me.
People threw rice, smiled and applauded, Bobby helped her into the car and I walked down the steps and out onto the sidewalk for one more look.
Bobby got into the car, fired it up and started pulling away slowly.
I was standing a couple of car lengths up the sidewalk when Merrilee saw me. She had a surprised look on her face and then she smiled her beautiful
smile. She leaned out of the car a little ways, formed her hand into the shape of a gun, pointed it at me, pulled the make believe trigger, blew the
imaginary smoke from the imaginary barrel, waved and blew me a kiss.
I never saw her again....
* * *
Circa: Summer of 1957
Locale: Ventura, California, a nice little coastal town on the SoCal coast just south of Santa Barbara.
Rincon: Spanish for long, narrow valley.
If you’ve ever driven the long stretch of highway where the beach is close to Old Hwy 101 between Santa Barbara and Ventura you’ll recognize many
of the landmarks in the story.
County Line Beach is also mentioned in the Beach Boys song Surfin’ USA as Ventura County Line.
A photo of County Line Beach, taken from the frontage road area at the top of Carpinteria Grade.
If it wasn’t so hazy you could see all the way past Ventura which is about 15 miles away.
The surfing area is visible in the photo and the beach proper is just around the corner to the left.
La Conchita, a small beach community near the Ventura-Santa Barbara county line is just beyond what you see in the photo.
Same gun, new barrel, different girl.
[edit on 7-6-2008 by Desert Dawg]