Monday, April 2, 2018

A to Z Challenge -The Letter B - Billy From Down The Street

I am participating in the “April Blogging From A to Z Challenge” for 2018.  Except for Sundays, but starting with Sunday April 1, I will be writing a post each day in April.  Working through the alphabet, by the end of the challenge I will have posted 26 writings.  

Billy From Down The Street

We all had a crush on Billy.    To me he was “Billy, from down the street”.   My friend Susan called him “next door neighbor Billy”.  Joy’s mom had several names for Billy.  Mainly she referred to him as “That Billy from across the street”.   
“Cookie,” she’d say, “that Billy from across street is bad news.” 
Everyone called Joy, “Cookie".  Everyone that is except Billy.  He called her “My Sweet Joy.” 
Even after all of these years,  I can still picture the color of his eyes.  They weren’t just blue, they were Billy blue.  
He had this way of looking straight into your eyes.   He would squint with a furrowed brow when he listened to you as if he really wanted to understand what you were saying. 
While most of the boys were sporting crew cuts, Billy wore his dark hair long and loose.  When he rode his bike, jumping the curbs, his hair flew wildly in all directions. 
Billy didn’t hang out much with the other neighborhood kids.  He was slightly built and not as tall as other boys his age.  He wasn’t into playing ball or trading comic books.   He mostly just wanted to be with his Sweet Joy.
Of course Cookie’s mom forbid her to see Billy.   “You stay away from him, Cookie!” she’d say. 
At the time I didn’t understand why Cookie’s mom was so wary of Billy.   I wondered if she just didn’t like his rebellious look, with the long hair and all. 
Most afternoons, after school, Cookie would come over to my house, then we would meet up with Susan. 
“Mom, I’m going over to the girl’s for a while,” Cookie would say.  She knew her mom would be watching out the window to make sure that Cookie was actually going where she said she was.  
Cookie also knew that Billy would be watching from his window.  He lived next door to Susan.  That was their signal.  We were their cover. 
We would all meet up at the park. 
It was, as far as I knew, quite innocent.  After all, we were barely teenagers.  We would swing on the swings and climb on the bars.  We would joke and laugh.  I fondly remember it as a fun time.  Most important of all, we would make sure we were all home before dinner.
This went on all through the spring and summer.   
In September, at the start of a new school year, Cookie’s mom found a note from Billy in Cookie’s room. 
So, Cookie was grounded and pretty much confined to her house. 
“If you want to see your friends, they can come over here,” her mom would say.
Whenever we would be with her, she only wanted to talk about Billy.  
“We are madly in love,” she would say. 
“I am so crazy about Billy, the other day I put the cereal box in the fridge and the milk in the pantry,” she said with a giggle. 
So, Susan and I began to spend less and less time with Cookie.  
Billy didn’t attend the same school that we did.  I’m not sure how he and Cookie managed to still communicate and see each other.  But apparently they did.
I’ll never forget this night. At 2:30 in the morning, I was awoken by the door bell ringing and loud knocking on our front door.  
My parents, my sister and I jumped out of bed.  Even though we were all still half asleep, we were shaken as we raced to the front door. 
The two policeman stood in the foyer. 
“When was the last time you spoke to Joy?” the taller one asked.
I was confused and not thinking clearly.   “Um, uh…,” I stammered.   
Gathering my thoughts together, I remembered that Cookie wasn’t in school on Wednesday.  
And that’s what I told the officers.
I thought a moment more and said, “I think I talked to Cookie, uh I mean Joy, on Tuesday.”
“Our lockers are next to each other."
“What did you talk about?”  The shorter man asked.
“Nothing special,”  I said.
“What is this about?”  my father wanted to know. 
Finally, they told us that Cookie had not come home from school and neither had Billy.
By daylight the pair had been found “hiding” at the park.  
Years later, Susan admitted to me that she was the one who suggested that was where they might have gone. 
Needless to say, the more Cookie’s parents tried to keep her and Billy apart, the more skillful they became at finding ways to see each other.  
A year later, Billy and his family moved to another state.  
Cookie and I drifted further apart.  Susan and I still keep in touch.  
I think I heard that Cookie wound up marrying someone she met in college.
Tragically, Billy did not live a long life.  I guess there is something to be said for a mother’s intuition.

Have you ever had a Billy or a Cookie in your life?


  1. We all have a Billy and Cookie from school days. Nice story of high school crushes.

    1. Thanks! Yes, I guess there are always the rebels.

  2. The harder one works to keep them apart, the harder they'll try to get together. Alas... Kind of a sad story, but all too common.

    1. Sometimes as a parent, it’s hard to let things play out the way they will.