Search This Blog

Monday, April 13, 2015


Indiana, Pennsylvania is a small town with a, now, big-ish university. On a weekend night (or, truly, any night of the week) when I was going to school there (’76-’80), the downtown bars were packed with college kids and coal miners. An odd and more than occasionally volatile combo.

There was the dark bar you went to if you needed to score. Some of the dealers actually had business cards—blew my tiny towned brain clean off. They also had seisiúns—musicians playing traditional Irish tunes—which is why Kevin and I went there. NO really! We’d stumble into the joint in our bright yellow rain coats, looking for all the world like tall three year olds, expecting the toked out hipsters to deny us entry. Nope, they loved us somethin’ mad. We, oddly enough, fit in.

Our usual hang joint though was the unfortunately brightly lit Sgro’s—a downmarket Italian restaurant with a girl or guy plus guitar sitting on a platform behind the bar playing Rickie Lee Jones or Loggins and Messina and the like. The place had no ambiance but we liked the singers and it was generally devoid of coal miners and college students. It was where the local middle aged to elderly went for a plate of spaghetti and a glass of cheap Chianti. Kevin and I felt sort of, almost anonymous there and we loved it.

And then there was Wolfendale’s which everyone called Wolfie’s (the name has since changed to its popular sobriquet). It was THE pick up bar. Going to Wolfies meant you were looking to get laid. There really wasn’t any other reason to go there unless of course you were a fan on packed frat parties. The place had the same vibe. No, I didn’t go there—women had to be high heel shod and have on a metric ton of make up and hair product. Paint splattered studio clothes and safety pinned eyebrows were viciously frowned on. It was a hive of young Republicans looking for love of the one night stand variety.
I was surprised when one of my painting studio mates started going there. Mind you, Lisa wasn’t exactly a laid back hippy type or a proto-punk rocker. OK, that’s a laughable understatement. She was a loud, big boned, main stream kind of a gal with mega iffy painting chops and she was engaged.

Her fiancé, who’d been an engineering student, was a couple years older, had already graduated and moved to Philadelphia for work. She still planned on marrying him but now, with him not on campus, she was in mad oat sowing mode. I thought, on one hand, good for her, she’s too young to be tied down. On the other hand I was disappointed that she wasn’t up front with her groom to be.

As time went on that year, it became clear that she wasn’t all that keen on Fiancé Boy at all. In fact, she was just using him and his mad engineer salary so she wouldn’t have to live at her mother’s post college. By the end of our senior year Lisa had become deeply involved with a coal miner she’d picked up. Miner Boy was crazy in love with her and she was wild about him BUT he didn’t make the same mondo pay as FB. Nor was his gig braggable. She had priorities! Upon graduation, he got the old dumperooni and she married her cuckolded engineer. Within a year or so, after she’d gotten enough dough together and connections in line, her spouse was shown the door too.

How did Lisa turn out? She went on to marry a much older, financially well established dude and became a Tea Partier. She quit painting eons ago (probably right after her last painting final), acquired some truly strange, 50 Shades of What the Fuck, fetishes and sells insurance.

Yeah, we're not close.

1 comment: