Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Story of My Life

As some of you know, I am pulling together 10 of my short stories to publish in a small volume, so let me try out the shortest one in the volume on you -- for your comment!
by Charlie Leck


One time, years ago, in a dream, I turned down a date with Jane Wilder. You must remember her. She was a big Hollywood starlet. She wasn’t a sex-pot, but she was a real looker. And, she wanted to go out with me. She sent some of her people to talk to my people. My people were in favor of it. They thought it would do wonders for my career. I put a stop to the whole thing on the spot. I didn’t want to go out with Miss Wilder.

I was in love with Nancy Thurlbinger. I had been since the 4th grade. I told her so, too. We were on the playground behind the public school and she was climbing on one of the contraptions set up for such activity. I wandered over to where she was stretching her arms and legs to move her delightful body from one square of iron to another.

“You know,” I said to her, as she awkwardly moved across the bars, “I am in love with you.”

She giggled and jumped down from the climber. It was too great a distance for her and she tumbled over when she hit ground and must have hurt herself. She rose, crying, and scurried off toward our teacher.

I was asked, by Miss Dablowski, our teacher, to stay following dismissal that day. I received a very stern lecture from the old woman about not doing such things. It turns out that I was accused of frightening Nancy so severely that she jumped from the jungle bars in utter fear and sprained her ankle quite seriously. I wanted to tell Miss Dablowski about Nancy’s little giggle and argue that it hadn’t sounded like fear to me, but I did not. I was so relieved to hear that my parents would not be told of the incident, that I cut my losses and kept my mouth shut – something I have not been entirely good at for the ensuing 55 years.

Never again did I tell Nancy Thurlbinger that I loved her; though I always have over these many years. It is the story of my life.

I watched her quite stealthfully over the ensuing eight years of school we had together. I don’t believe she ever realized I was watching her so carefully. I was pretty good at concealment.

Her hair grew longer and she began to decorate it with curls and ribbons. I remember the first day that she wore lipstick. I can also call to mind that day when I first noticed that she had breasts that caused a little, gentle ripple in the front of her dress. I found myself staring at them, but I don’t think she or anyone else ever noticed how my eyes were locked on her chest.

People didn’t often take notice of me. I was pretty well ignored. I should say, to be more factual, that I was completely ignored.

It was quite odd to arrive in my fifth grade classroom, walking randomly into it with a small group of boys onto whom I had simply and silently attached myself, and have the teacher offer greeting to each one of them and, yet, not mention my name.

“Lynn, David, Edward… hello boys and good morning. Please take your seats! You, too, Raymond and Teddy.”

My name is William, but I have barely ever heard it in my life. It wasn’t only my fifth grade teacher who ignored me, but so did my classmates and all the subsequent teachers in the classrooms in which I studied over the next 16 years.

Occasionally I would be addressed as “Hey, you!” However, most of the time, I was simply ignored and not spoken to at all. It is the story of my life.

On the day of my graduation from high school, during the commencement ceremony, I could feel the deep sense of shock that swept across my classmates and teachers when the principal, read my name aloud from the list that was before him at the podium.

“William Journal Outrighter?”

His emphasis was on the question mark, indicating his surprise that this was my name or, perhaps, it was some curiosity about who in the world this person might be.

Nancy Thurlbinger’s name was called near the end of the ceremony and she crossed the stage to receive her diploma. I sat in my chair, wedged between two classmates whose family names also began with the letter “O” and I watched as Nancy walked toward the principal. Her breasts were swollen in size now and they were the most attractive knockers in our class.

That was fifty years ago. That was the last time I ever saw Nancy Thurlbinger.

And now I hold in my hand this invitation to the 50th reunion of our high school graduating class. Among the names of the Reunion Committee is hers, Nancy (Thurlbinger) Hammonholder.

Though I have not had a single contact with any single student from my graduating class in these fifty years, I am not surprised that they have found me and contacted me; for I still live in the same house, at the same address, that I lived in on the day of our commencement. When my mother and father died, I simply moved into their larger bedroom and here I am yet today.

I stared at Nancy Thurlbinger’s new lastname – Hammonholder. It was a name with which I was famililar. Mr. Jacob T. Hammonholder, was the Chief Executive Officer of the Four Square Bank of New York, the largest and most profitable bank in all the world and in which I had begun investing in 1959. I wondered if Nancy could possibly be married to that Hammonholder.

Faithfully, each year from 1959 until this current one, I have invested whatever funds I could manage not to spend during the year in the Four Square Bank of New York. In some of those early years it only amounted to $500 or so. After a few years it became $2,000 or so. Eventually, since I had not rent to pay and had risen to a supervisor at the county home for unadopted, orphan boys, the sum grew to a number of thousands of dollars. I have never withdrawn a cent from those invested funds and absolutely paid no attention to their growth. That is the story of my life.

I turned the invitation over and looked at the list of addresses to which we could reply about our intentions to attend. Yes! There it was. Nancy was indeed Mrs. Jacob T. Hammonholder.

I rose and went to my father’s old desk in the back hallway, just next to the door that led to the stairway down to the cellar. From a drawer I took the most recent statement that had just arrived from the Four Square Bank. I flipped through several pages and found the bottom line number in which I had never shown any previous interest.



This home of my parents is paid for. I spend very little taking care of it. I’ve never eaten glamorously. I have no hobbies on which I spend money. My favorite activity is reading and I pay an annual fee of $26 to the library to keep up my membership. All my books come from and are returned to the library’s shelves. I now receive over $800 per month in my social security check and I find I can easily live on that amount. My pension from the county exceeds $20,000 each year and I have always spent that immediately on the purchase of shares in the Four Square Bank of New York.

I sat down at my father’s desk and turned on the little reading lamp that sat upon it. I pulled a little piece of scrap paper from the cubical in which I kept such things to use as notepaper. I scribbled a note, as neatly as I could, to Mrs. Jacob T. Hammonholder, accepting the invitation to attend the reunion of the Ratsford High School graduating class of 1958. I signed it, without flourish, from William Journal Outrighter. I folded three twenty dollar bills, to cover the cost of the dinner, into the note paper and pushed it all into an envelope and addressed it to Mrs. Jacob T. Hammonholder at 1180 Park Avenue, New York City. I proudly wrote out the return address – the only address I had ever known as mine – 20 Hillside Avenue, Ratsford, New Jersey. I placed a current stamp in the corner of the envelope and sat looking at the product of my elderly, shaky hand.

I rose and walked the letter to the post office in the center of downtown. As I walked, I brought clearly back to mind the vision of Nancy Thurlbinger, walking across the platform to receive her high school diploma, with her large breasts bouncing joyfully as she walked. In fact, I have never in my life seen a woman's naked breasts. That is the story of my life.

The reunion will take place in the building that was our high school. It is now an elementary school. It is exactly eight and four-tenths miles from the house in which I live. I intend to purchase a new car -- a big, black sedan by Cadillac -- and since I do not have a driver’s licence, I shall hire a professional driver to take me places in it. Certainly, I will expect him to drive me to my class reunion. Even though none of my classmates will remember me or recognize my name, I shall enter proudly. When I reintroduce myself to Nancy Thurlbinger – now Mrs. Jacob T. Hammonholder – I will ask her if she remembers the day she fell off the climbing contraption that stood on the playground of our elementary school because I told her I loved her.

If she looks at me oddly and runs away, crying hysterically, I will only concede that this also is the story of my life.


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  1. A story worthy of Rodney Dangerfield. Twenty-one million and still no respect. Never saw naked breasts? That sure conveyed the story of a loser.

  2. You drew me in until the end.