Our First Date – Out of Town


It wasn’t my first date, but it was the first time I was allowed to go out of town on a date.  I got permission because the families of the other teenagers were well known to my parents, all except the boy who was to be my date, Elsworth.  He was a little younger than I was and didn’t say too much.  No one seemed to know him too well, but he seemed safe enough.


All six of us piled into a Studebaker that belonged to somebody’s mom and we head to Omaha, 50 miles away.  Promises were made that we’d be back on our doorsteps by 9 p.m., as was the custom in the 1930s.


We arrived at an amusement park, which displayed a large sign at the entrance that read “Three Cent Day” with a statement below that said the cost of all rides would be just that amount.


Someone said, “Let’s split up and go on everything a million times.”


Someone else said, “We can ride five hours before we meet to go to the restaurant.”


Time has blurred my memory of the names of the many rides.  However, I do recall “The Whip,” which rolled around and around and snapped one’s neck.  The roller coaster, the merry-go-round, the Ferris wheel and many others were visited that day.


After about eleven rides I began to notice I wasn’t keeping up with Elsworth, who seemed to be motorized.  He looked a little fuzzy to me so I found an iron bench and told him that I would just wait while he rode everything again.  Sitting alone I told myself that I was a horrible wet blanket, but my stomach and head really needed peace and quiet.


Drifting in on a gentle breeze came the aromatic smell of candied apples, my stomach lurched in revolt and I resolved then and there not to touch any food – not even at the restaurant we were going to dinner at, I vowed never to eat again.


While the others ate heartily, I sat like a lump figuring no one would ever want to take me anywhere ever again.  And, what would Elsworth tell everyone at school?  What a drag I was.


I was wrong!  I heard it through the grapevine that Elsworth told everyone at school who would listen, “I like taking her out, because I came home with almost as much money as I started with.”


Mary Elizabeth Mruzik

Pacific, Missouri