During the summer after ninth grade, we moved to a new house, only a few blocks away from our old house on 41st Street, but bigger, with a double yard where my parents could do their beloved outdoor entertaining. They immediately became friendly with the neighbors.
The family next door had a teenage daughter, Julie, who was majoring in business at Augustana College. We didn't socialize much -- I tried to avoid talking to girls as much as possible, since my parents interpreted the most trivial "hello" as evidence that I was smitten.
But I wouldn't have socialized with her at all except for her boyfriend Conrad.
He was an education major at Augustana, tall and slim, with a handsome square face and a bright smile. Brown hair, a severe military haircut -- unusual in the shaggy-haired 1970s. A little shy and quiet, always deferring to Julie. But he always had a smile for me and my younger brother, and he always tried to engage us in conversation.
One Saturday about a week after I learned about oral sex in the church parking lot, Mom and Dad held a barbecue for their friends and neighbors. There were about 30 people on five picnic tables in the side yard, eating hamburgers and hot dogs from paper plates, drinking sodas and lemonade from plastic cups.
The family next door was there, but not Julie. Or Conrad.
Then, when we were about ready for dessert, they came rushing into the back yard, wearing swimsuits, carrying beach bags. "Sorry -- we were at the pool and we lost track of time," Julie told Mom.
"No problem, there's lots of hot dogs left, and some potato salad and chips. Go and change clothes, and come back."
The rest of the story, with nude photos, is on Tales of West Hollywood.