Home > Uncategorized > A Trip Down Your Blog-master’s Memory Lane (Happy 4th of July!)

A Trip Down Your Blog-master’s Memory Lane (Happy 4th of July!)

Love at First Sight and the Hiccups

I was a broke student at Duke in 1952 and my SAE fraternity brother Geoff Edwards had a Dixieland group that played on Saturdays at a Durham NC BBQ joint after football was over. He charged $5.00 admission with all the beer you wanted and I was the ticket seller. No salary just free admission and all the beer I wanted too. The owners provided the beer knowing they would sell lots of food to us hungry drunks.

One fine Saturday in April, I was trying unsuccessfully to rid myself of the worst case of Hiccups ever, when none of the usual remedies were working, so I was in a cold shower back at the SAE house hoping that would help. Between loud Hics!, my friend Tom Naomi suggested I go with him to crash a Phi Delta Theta party at Chapel Hill and I accepted.

With the top down on Tom’s convertible I continued to Hic! the entire 12 miles from Duke to UNC where we boldly knocked on the Phi Delt door.

When the door opened I was struck dumb by the most amazing beauty I had ever seen! All I could say to her was HIC! She said ‘I’m Wanda… come with me I’ll try to help you’. So with cups of Purple Passion Punch in hand she led me to chairs in the garden where she began to talk to me. I was so mesmerized by Wanda and the melody of her soft southern accentt that I totally forgot about the hiccups as I began trying to charm her with my tales of Dixieland music and Duke SAE fun. Turned out she was a Durham native and said she was engaged to a fraternity brother of mine who was off at the Air Force Flight training for several months more (Dickie Richardson by name). She and Dickie had agreed that they could both have plutonic dates during his long months at Lackland Air Force base in Texas , and she was at this party with a mutual friend of his.

The Purple Passion punch refills lived up to their name as somehow Wanda and I were kissing passionately and nary a HIC interrupted us.

It seemed like no time at all when her date found us and announced that it was time for them to go back to Durham. UGH!

As Wanda began to leave, I said “I’ll call you tomorrow” to which she replied ‘but you don’t have my number! ’ With my best smooth-tongued Clark Gable impression, I said ‘don’t worry I will find you’

The ride back to Duke with Tom was fast and uneventful since I dared not admit my transgressions with Wanda since I knew that he and Dickie were fellow North Carolina pals, but I’m sure I was smiling out loud.

The next morning I bounded out of bed, changed my last dollar into dimes and feeling sure that her last name was Hendrix, began dialing. But, after 7 negative answers to my question ‘Is Wanda there’ I panicked.

All I could think of was to go see Dickie’s former roommate Purdy Spell, who always had cold beer, and try to confirm Wanda’s last name. After some innocent small talk, I turned the conversation to Dickie…’How is he doing in flight training?…etc.’ “He is engaged to a Durham girl, isn’t he?’

“Yes”, he said, Wanda GRAHAM” … (Wanda Hendrix was a movie actress, of course…duh!)

I chugged my beer and quickly left to spend my last 3 dimes on the Grahams in the book, when I struck GOLD on the second one. “No Wanda is still in church, but will be home soon’’

“Thanks tell her that Bud Called and will call back this afternoon”


My last dime resulted in our pact to date secretly, which we did almost every night until June, when she met Dickie half way to Texas in Tallahassee, broke their engagement, and gave him his ring back!

From then on I was affectionately branded “THE SNAKE” by my SAE brothers, but I happily wore that as a badge of honor.

We openly dated almost every night, got engaged in August, and married in Durham in 1953. We were together until July 1999 having spent almost 50 years in wedded bliss when Wanda died from cancer. RIP my darling!

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