In the course of the two years that I dated Penny, we must have had well over a hundred serious talks in my old Ford Falcon. I know this may sound crazy, but my old steering wheel and the dashboard of my Falcon, was like an old friend to me.
The Sad Moment Of Truth
Chapter 2: The Dashboard Talk
By Richard Mabey Jr.
As we rode westbound on Route 46, heading to Route 287 in Parsippany, Penny got very quiet. I could tell that something was bothering her a lot.
“Richard, please, pull over somewhere. Please, just pull over somewhere,” Penny softly told me.
“Sure Penny, sure,” I replied.
We were now in Totowa. As fate would have it, I pulled into the parking lot of the old Totowa Cinema movie theater. This was the very place that Penny and I had our first date. I parked my dear old Ford Falcon so that we were facing the front of the old movie theater.
“Richard, this isn’t easy for me to tell you,” Penny reluctantly said.
“What, Penny? What is it?” I remember being on pins and needles, asking Penny.
“Richard, don’t get mad. Daddy wants me to see other boys,” Penny said as if she was choking on the words she spoke.
“Penny, he doesn’t like me. Your father just doesn’t like me,” I said with great conviction.
“Richard, don’t get all excited. But, Daddy says that maybe you aren’t the right boy for me,” Penny said. I remember so very well how she had her head looking down. I knew it was hard for her to tell me this.
“Penny, you mean the earth to me. I’m telling you straight as an arrow, scout’s honor, I don’t even look at other girls. You just have no idea how much….” I remember telling Penny as I saw the tears roll down her cheeks.
“Daddy said………Richard, Daddy said……. that…… well,” Penny shyly said to me.
“What did your father say, Penny? What did he say?” I asked Penny with great anticipation.
“Daddy said he doesn’t want me to see you any more,” Penny said in a very soft voice.
“Penny, I love you. Everything I do is for you. The whole ball of wax is for you….” I said with a hint of panic in my voice.
“Richard, I never felt this way before, for any boy…ever! But Daddy….you see, Richard, Daddy’s the one who is going to pay for my college next year,” Penny said with a hint of regret in her voice.
“Penny, I’ll die without you. Everything I do is for you. Staying up late at night writing articles for the Youngtown Edition. Then there’s all the work I do writing for the Lincoln Park Herald. And…..I end up working about 29 hours at the grocery store every week. I study my class notes during my breaks at work. I want you to be proud of me,” I appealed to Penny, with a bit of a cry in my voice.
“I know that, and I am proud of you, Richard. But Daddy says that you’re in college now and you’ll want…. well, you’ll want…. you know…….. you’ll want to…… oh Richard, you know!” Penny said to me as she cried hysterically.
“Penny, I love you. I love you with all of my heart. I got plans, big plans…..” I remember telling Penny, as I cried.
“Oh Richard, you just don’t understand…….. if I keep seeing you…… Daddy said, he said…. well he said….. he won’t pay for my college tuition,” Penny quietly said in the midst of crying hysterically.
“I can’t believe this is happening. Your mom and dad and your sister and you came to my Eagle Scout dinner. Your parents and you came to the Town Hall Meeting when I ran the Town Council Meeting…as the Mayor for a week thing. I got my nose to the grindstone, working like a dog….. and…. and…. it’s not fair Penny, it’s just not fair!” I cried.
“Daddy says when boys get in college, they want one thing….” Penny quietly said.
“I wish we could just go away. Go to California or something….” I said with hopeless desperation.
“Richard, you got your schooling………….. you’ve got things to say to the world…………………. you’ve got the respect of the other kids on Youngtown………………….. Mr. Marino at the Herald thinks the world of you………………………. the job at the grocery store………………………… don’t you see, Richard, don’t you see,” Penny said to me as the tears rolled down her cheeks.
“I’d die without you, I’d die without you, my dear sweet Penny,” I said, choking on my words as I cried.
“Richard, I love you. But sometimes, sometimes, sometimes………………… sometimes life isn’t fair,” Penny said as tears still rolled down her cheeks.
“It’s not fair, Penny. It’s just not fair,” I said with anger filling my voice.
I remember how Penny and I just looked out to the front of the old Totowa Cinema and cried and cried. This was the very place where we had our first date. We cried. We hugged. I remember that Penny cried so hard, her body shook. It was a sad moment for both of us.
To be continued.