Summer 1967

Two years following our migration from New Orleans to Superior, Wisconsin – the most ironically named town on the planet – summer brought less frigid weather. Lake Superior dictates the weather to the region. Being that it is the largest fresh water lake in the world Gitche Gumee (Ojibwa name for big water) controls more than the weather; it controls every facet of life. The lake warms to 38 degrees by August, but in June it is still 35.

A sultry 79 degree day transposes to a bone chilling 51 in minutes once the wind shifts off the lake. The locals affectionately call this the “Lake Effect”. I’ve seen effects before and, believe me, a dip of 28 degrees in less than 90 seconds is more than an effect; it’s a real nut-shrinker.

A peninsula called Wisconsin Point extends into Superior Bay like a thin erect penis, amazingly appropriate given that it serves as a favourite late night fornication destination for couples young and old.

The Ojibwa consider The Point as sacred territory. I can testify personally to its magical powers. Some of my greatest sexual encounters have lit the night skies. Scientists tell the world that it is Northern Lights but I assure you that it is the spiritual connection of two joining as one… over and over and over, again. In the sand, beside a fire, in the woods, in backseats, beds of El Camino’s, trucks, vans, tents, lean-to’s, the bay, and wigwams. When you get that many people fucking in one place all at the same time you’re going to see some lights in the sky.

Skinny dipping occurs in the bayside of the isthmus only. I can assure you that no copulation happens in Lake Superior. First, there is the male shrinkage issue. Second, I’d like to meet the bloke who can maintain an erection standing in 35 degree water, because that is one tough motherfucker. Physics, you see, makes this impossible. It takes blood to achieve and sustain a hard-on.  Understand that once the water reaches the man’s knees every ounce of blood races to legs and feet in an attempt to maintain normal body temperature causing the sun to set quickly on Mr. Wiggly. I know this from personal experience. Bayside yes, lakeside: embarrassment.

However, if you did manage to get your date to swim with you on the lakeside it was a surefire ticket to nailing her back on land. Five minutes in ice water makes her eager to shed wet togs and cuddle close.

That reminds me of a joke that circulated around that time. A guy and his chick were making out heavily. He got to second base but kept getting denied third. Finally, he asked her, “Well, do you mind if I put my finger in your belly button.” Whereupon she replied, “Well, I guess that would be ok.” Shortly thereafter she gasped, “Hey, that’s not my belly button.” The guy replied smoothly, “That’s OK, that’s not my finger.”

Patty O’Leary had been my girlfriend for about a month. The first time I met Patty she started Frenching me out of nowhere without a word. Since then, we had continued with just the make out thing, nothing more. However, I saw a special twinkle in her eyes when she asked early in the day if I wanted to go with her to Wisconsin Point that night.

“Will you take me to The Point tonight?” she asked.

“I’ll be happy to take you,” was my response. Right answer!

We had both been quite shy, never talking about… you know. But on that night, in that sacred place, fireside with Boone’s Farm wine on her lips, she looked straight into my eyes and asked, “Will you make love to me?”

I assented that I would despite the fact that I had no idea of what “making love” might mean to her. I hadn’t a clue as to her interpretation of the phrase. My definition came from Rock Hudson-Doris Day movies. In their films, making love meant kissing with minimal body contact for brief periods (censors) and absolutely no tongue.

What was Patty’s definition of making love? I contemplated that question staring into our private fire that we struck far enough from the main party to ensure our privacy. I thought back to Tom Jenkins from Loading Zone. He always had smooth lines that worked magic on the ladies. What would Tom say in this situation? I pictured TJ in my mind and finally said, “What would like me to do to you?”

Hot shit, did that work! Patty started shouting out instructions like a Drill Instructor. “Suck this, suck that, finger this, caress these gently, bite my neck…” and on and on. I did the best I could to respond promptly to each command with only one mouth, ten fingers, and one major stiffee that was ready to cut glass, but still in my pants.

She eventually lost patience, flipped me over and mounted me like a gymnast on pummel horse.  She even pointed her toes, the little devil. She stripped my jeans off with a single flick of her wrist and her own with the same motion.

Sheer fright at the witchy look on her face in the firelight and the pain of her ass mashing my balls into the crusty sand caused me to last forever on that first time with her. She was delighted at my staying power. I wasn’t about to correct her impression.

I felt the spirit of Indian ancestors coursing through me as we feverishly humped just feet from the frigid lake.

We laughed later as we realized that we both had wanted to do more sexually long ago, but didn’t know how to transition into that level of intimacy. Man, this chick was great. To her long list of positive attributes I added horny as hell.

Thanks to the spirits of The Point and cheap wine our barriers had fallen. Dionysus would have been proud watching us dance naked around the fire.


In late June, Patty and I rode out in an aging, rusting Detroit-made hulk of a car out to The Point for a keg party. This was 1967. The cops of Superior really weren’t the aggressive, ‘roid-raged thugs that we know today. There was no real crime in this town of 25,000. Just the normal juvenile delinquency shit like drag racing on county roads, shoplifting at Kresge’s, tipping over garbage cans, and an occasional bag of flaming shit on a grouchy neighbor’s porch. There hadn’t been a murder in town in decades. There wasn’t a lot for cops to do in 1967.

Here’s another joke of the time: One prostitute says to another, “Have you been picked up by the fuzz yet?” Prostitute Two’s response was, “Yeah, and it hurts, too.”

Time would change Superior drastically in just two years, but on this late June we parked near the end of The Point within short walking distance of the Lighthouse. A bonfire of driftwood was already blazing onshore and the first keg had been tapped with the others stacked in line awaiting their freedom.

We were both tentative and quite nervous on the ride out. We still hadn’t figured out how to smoothly transition into deep intimacy, but we were working on it.

We slammed our first beer together quickly. Actually, Pat slammed two in the time it took me to drink one. Her drinking capability not only bruised my male pride, but also made my New Orleans exploits look tame by comparison. Damn, these Wisconsin people could drink… and from a young age.

After my second beer and Pat’s fifth we were both feeling tipsy. She teetered into me nuzzling her face into my lean chest. I reached around to support her weight and quickly discovered, to my great delight, that she was braless. And that she didn’t mind me grabbing hands full of boob. True love it had to be.

An array of car and portable radios blasted the latest rock hits from WEBC in Duluth, 560 AM.

Another joke of the time: “We are radio station S-H-I-T, that little brown spot on your dial.” (I still chuckle at that.)

There was still only one rock station in Duluth, MN and this was it, WEBC, channel 56, “Radio, radio, fadio…” Hits of the day blasted from the station by the hour. The Top 50 hits in America, most of which were unnecessary contributions by unhip stars from previous generations – Frank Sinatra, Pat Boone, Sinatra’s talentless daughter Nancy droning in monotone, “These boot were made for walking”.

We drank more beer, hugged, kissed, and grooved to the new sounds that were finally bursting forth from the radio at that late hour.  Late on a Friday night, the DJ had the discretion to try out new songs and make up his own play list.

I broke my tongue-lock with Patty neatly at the crack of the rim shot that launched Light My Fire. My mind pictured the notes that the keyboard player was stroking. Those were my fingers but that wasn’t her belly button. Pat tumbled me into the sand, guided my hand down her shorts and over her panties to her favourite spot, riding every note as I tried to figure out the complex organ part. Within two minutes we were both singing “Come on baby, Light My Fire” together and she was “going” by the final “Try to set the night on… Fiyahhhhhhh.”

“I’m going. I’m going,” she cried aloud, which made me laugh inside. Patty was destined to be an English major at college. If you don’t get it, I’m sorry but it has to do with her insistence on using proper grammar even in the throes of passion.

Patty started dragging me toward the Lighthouse even before my feet were under me and stable. We climbed and stumbled our way slowly. The boulders contributing to the breakwater are ancient, hard, and slippery when wet. If we fell from one of those rocks into the 37 degree water we would never be seen again. Yet, we continued our struggle toward the Lighthouse. Patty was transfixed on reaching the precipice of the tower where 1 million lumens would cast our shadowed embrace across the water to other lovers in Canada.

We made it to the Lighthouse, but there were numerous couples and singles in various stages of embrace surrounding the perimeter. Patty grabbed my hand and made me climb another dozen steps up to the Keepers perch where she bent over the rail, tore open her blouse so that she looked like a real-life maiden on a bow sprit, and guided me to the heavens. The air was chilly but she was so very warm.

“Turn on your love light, turn it bright on me… Let ‘em shine, shine, shine, let ‘em shine on me.”

After an hour or so we stumbled back to the campfire someone had tuned into the local FM rock station – only one of those, too – that was playing the first Doors’ album in its entirety. There was organ everywhere in these songs. I enjoyed the songs and Patty enjoyed my constantly roaming fingers. Turned on again, we tumbled back into the woods where it was warmer and banged to the rhythm of Break On Through – to the other side.

Rocks grind into the finest sand when pounded by random crushing waves of a lake so relentless that it often scares crusty ocean sailors into soil their skivvy’s. We took turns flushing sand from various nooks and crannies off and on for nearly an hour. Cold overtook us, and we had to huddle together once again.

“Pull my finger,” said I.

“Ok,” said Patty.

“Hey, that’s not my finger”.

“I know, and that’s not my hand,” said my wild Irish Patty.

Patty’s older sister joined the FM DJ in the booth and on the mike. Nearly immediately, he played whatever Patty’s sister wanted. It took no imagination to figure out her method of persuasion. She was truly a twisted sister.

Many of the songs they played at first were cool, tender, like the delicate melding of two bodies. But soon, Patty’s sister transitioned the music quickly from Them to Paul Revere to The Monkey’s, to The Kinks, to The Beatles, to the point where we fell out of sync and Patty nearly disjointed me…  To this day I have a nearly imperceptible lean to one side.

Again, the DJ played side one of The Doors. Break On Through led to Soul Kitchen.

“Well, I could sleep all night in your soul kitchen…”

Huddled under a heavy Army blanket, we sang along not really knowing who the band was, but their sound was incredible.

The Crystal Ship. “Before you slip into… unconsciousness.” Sultry, sexy, suggestive. Man, these cats were really good.

Twentieth Century Fox. Cool.

Alabama Song. “Oh show me the way to the next whiskey bar. Oh, don’t ask why. Oh, don’t ask why.” What a great song! Who were these guys?

“The next song is Light My Fire, again,” said the girl’s voice on the radio, “The hottest song in all the land.”

“Thas my shister,” slurred Patty. “Thas Mary. Mary O’Leary.”

“This is the long version of the song that is sweeping the nation,” said Mary O’Leary. “Today, Light My Fire knocked The Beatles out of the number one position on Billboard Magazine’s Top 100 Chart. So, here it is in its entirety, Light My Fire.”

“Your sister is a really good DJ,” I stated.

“Damn right, she is,” said Patty. “And you’re cute. Kiss me.”

My fingers attempted to mimic the organ solo on her belly while our mouths meshed together. I mounted Patty as the singer screamed the final verse and we all climaxed together.

I had to buy that record. I had to learn those songs.