march 2011


A Surprising Summer Romance

‘It was an enchanting, magical summer as I found myself falling head over heels in love with him.’

By Alex Stevens

Summer love stories are often filled with passion and romance as the season comes alive with the beauty of nature in full bloom, and the excitement of increased opportunities for adventure and intrigue. Some summer love stories last well throughout the rest of the year and years beyond, while others do not survive beyond the season. This is my story of a very unanticipated but passionate romance that began early one summer.

I met Doug when I was just out of high school and taking some time off from studying before starting college the following year. I was employed for a local company and Doug was a coworker in my department. Unlike my other coworkers that I got along well with, I found Doug to be very arrogant and argumentative, with absolutely no personality at all. But I was thankful that at least I worked in another area of the facility and did not have to interact with him very often.

Nat King Cole, ‘Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer,’ his final top 10 single, 1963. This clip features introductory studio chatter between Nat and producer/arranger Ralph Carmichael

In addition to being difficult to deal with, Doug was also unattractive, with his orange-red hair, large hooknose, and small, beady eyes. He was hardly the kind of guy that women would notice. However, he did have a girlfriend, Sue, who worked in another department, and they would sometimes have lunch together and kiss briefly and hold hands. Sue was a very nice person, and I remember watching them once when they sat at a table near me, and wondering what on earth Sue ever saw in him.

But I didn't think about this for long. I also didn't give much thought to Doug except when he annoyed me with his remarks or actions. Little did I realize, however, that this would all change one day.

I eventually left my job and began college. The following summer I returned to my hometown and started to spend time with friends there, including coworkers from my former job. At one of the parties I attended, I was surprised to see Doug. He and his friend came over to where I was sitting. Doug was actually friendly and pleasant, and the more we talked, the more I enjoyed our conversation.

Doug surprised me when he eventually asked me out for coffee. When I asked about Sue, he informed me that they had broken up months ago but had ended their relationship on a positive note.

Nat King Cole, ‘Summer Is a Comin’ In,’ Nat’s first summer song, recorded in 1952 with arranger Pete Rugolo

Doug and I went out for coffee a couple of days later. He also took me to a very nice restaurant the following week. Each date led to another. I found him to be a great conversationalist who shared many of my greatest interests. Doug was also an outstanding debater with a knowledge of subjects far beyond anything I'd ever experienced before. He definitely knew how to keep a discussion interesting and challenging. At the same time, he also knew how to listen and be attentive when it mattered.

My summer love story with Doug was filled with constant excitement and anticipation. We frolicked for hours at a time on a small beach we discovered and claimed informally as our own. We took adventurous trips to mystery sites we'd never seen before and attended exciting seasonal events at lakeside resorts. We also simply relaxed at times and listened to the soothing sounds of the ocean. On warm summer nights, we often watched the stars in the skies above and talked well into the early hours of the morning. Doug enjoyed so many of the same passions in life that I did, and he was fascinating to listen to as we discussed many different topics of interest.

It was an enchanting, magical summer as I found myself falling head over heels in love with him. I had never felt so alive and so happy. Every day was filled with exciting things to do, places to explore, and new events to look forward to. Perhaps it is true that love is blind because where I once found Doug unattractive and unappealing, I now perceived him as good-looking and incredibly sexy.

Doug and I spent many days and nights together, and when I wasn't with him, I was daydreaming about him. He was constantly in my thoughts.

Coworkers and friends were totally taken by surprise when I first started dating Doug. They were even more surprised when they observed how well we got along. Several commented that they never thought that we would become a couple. Nevertheless, they were genuinely happy for us and even jokingly asked when we were going to get married.

Nat King Cole, ‘That Sunday, That Summer,’ written by Joe Sherman and George David Weiss, a #12 single for Nat in 1963.

While being married to Doug was a fantasy I had daydreamed about late in our relationship, the fact remained that we would have to physically part at the end of the summer. I would be going back to college and Doug would be going into the service a few weeks later. So as the summer came to a close, we had to face what we had been putting off all summer and finally admit that our days together were numbered. Consequently, we both made a concentrated effort to make our last week and final moments together the best ever. Then we said our farewells, but vowed that we would stay in touch and get together again as soon as we could.

Unfortunately, while we did write to each other for several months that followed, we somehow lost contact, and I eventually went on with my own life. While I never saw Doug again, I did hear several years later that he'd completed his tour of duty and had married. I also completed my studies and married. But despite the fact that there was no "happily ever after" ending to my summer love story, I am thankful for the wonderful memories I will always have of Doug and our fantastic summer together as well as for the awesome experience of having loved someone so intensely.

Posted April 25, 2008 at Associated Content from Yahoo!

Nat King Cole, ‘In The Good Old Summertime,’ written and published in 1902 by George ‘Honey Boy’ Evans (music) and Ren Shields (lyrics) and introduced in the 1902 musical comedy show The Defender. Recorded in 1903 by John Philip Sousa, the song made its way into movies in the 1930 Laurel and Hardy short Below Zero and in 1949 served as the title song for the musical film directed by Robert Z. Leonard and starring Judy Garland and Van Johnson. Nat King Cole featured the song on his 1963 album Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer and performed it on TV, as seen in this clip, the same year.

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