Love Me Two Times

I walked back home studying the album cover and paging through the sheet music. I was eagerly anticipating hearing this new compilation and learning each of the songs with the aid of the songbook. The season had to be late in the fall because it was freezing outside and Christmas wasn’t too far off, but I would have walked through a raging blizzard to secure the new Doors album.I received a call one fall day from Mark Ghostly, Jack’s brother and top salesman at Nickelson’s Music, alerting me to the arrival of The Door’s new album, “Strange Days”. I literally ran the two miles to the store to purchase a copy. What was even more mind-blowing great was that The Doors had produced an accompanying sheet music book for the album with keys, chords, notes, and lyrics for every song on the album. It was a brilliant marketing idea to provide a songbook.

However, when I got back home dad wanted me to help him install the water heater that had just been delivered by Sears. Man, I was really itching to hear the album, but I was also itching to take a hot bath. So, I did the crawling under the house routing copper pipe and soldering pipe joints. I also wired the beast because as good as dad was at mechanical things he didn’t know shit about electricity. His first attempt at hooking it up darkened the entire house. I took over and made short work of it.

Hot water from a faucet was an amazingly delightful modern convenience. For the first time in my fourteen years I could take a hot bath without heating the water in a big kettle on the stove. You just can’t imagine how wonderful this was unless you have done without, even if it was just when you were out camping. Thus, hot water from a faucet in my own house was a huge leap forward in living comfort making it worth the delay of listening to Strange Days.

Strange Days contained ten more incredible songs. I listened through the album twice before starting to learn the organ parts, which was quite simple since I had the sheet music in front of me. None of the songs were terribly complex. Unhappy Girl contained the most intricate organ work, which I mastered after four or five plays.

I zeroed in two songs that I thought would be good Dynasty songs: Love Me Two Times and People Are Strange. I wanted to sing both of them because they fit my voice perfectly. I sang the songs over and over with Morrison. I dissected his voice as he sang, every phrase, note, sigh, and scream. It was uncanny how much I sounded like Morrison with a little practice.

While at Nickelson’s I had noticed a Panasonic reel-to-reel recorder on display. I hadn’t paid it much attention at the time because I was focused on the new Doors album, but soon I started thinking about the recorder more and more. Before long, I just had to have that recorder. So, I bought it the next time I was in the store and lugged the heavy beast two miles back home. I wasted no time in setting it up.

I recorded myself singing along with Love Me Two Times. I was amazed at what I heard. On tape I didn’t sound anything like I sounded in my own head. I noticed several pitch problems where I was falling just short of the right note. I also sounded like I was straining during the last verse of the song where Morrison goes up in pitch and volume. I practiced singing the song over and over, listening to the recording after each take until the errors were eliminated and I had what sounded to be a good rendition of the song. Now, the trick would be to get Rock to let me sing the tune.

I knew that if my cousin knew that I really wanted to sing the song that he’d most like insist upon singing it. So, when I introduced the song at practice I held down my enthusiasm. Rock thought of himself as a soul singer. He wanted to be James Brown or Aretha Franklin or a combination of the two. That’s right my Polish-Swedish-Indian cousin thought he was a black soul singer, which worked to my advantage on this occasion. He showed no interest in singing the song. I offered that I had been messing around with it, a little. The guys decided let me give it a try. I nailed it. No one had heard me sing a whole song before. I always stuck to high harmony parts. I had a strong falsetto voice that was perfect for high harmonies like the Beach Boys and Dixie Cups used, among others.

Love Me Two Times became the first song that I sang lead on. We agreed that People Are Strange wasn’t a good fit after all. The song wasn’t danceable. It was too weird, despite the fact that we were into weird. It wasn’t even a good slow song. Anyway, I got the song I wanted.

Love Me Two Times turned out to be the song that got me laid more than any other tune I have ever sung. All I had to do was pick out a girl in the crowd, look directly into her eyes, and sing,

“Love me two times, baby,

Love me twice today.

Love me two times, girl

I’m going away.

Love me two times, girl

One for tomorrow

One just for today

Love me two times

I’m going away.”

It worked damn near every time, which gave me even more reason to love The Doors.

In fact, it worked at the very first gig that I sang the song. We were down in Hayward playing a ski lodge. I made eye contact with a snow bunny in a colourful sweater, sang those magic words to her, and was making out with her on the very next break. On the break after that we were in the van where I unwrapped her sweater to see my prize, small pert little boobies, but ample enough for me. You never know what you’re going to find once you peel away the layers of clothes with those LBR girls. Ultimately, I wound up at her chalet balling by firelight in an A frame. Oh, how I love those snow bunnies.

Strange Days described my life perfectly that winter. Mother was drifting in and out of sanity, not bad enough to commit her to the funny farm, but bad enough to keep all around her walking on eggshells. Since I never knew what to expect at home I spent as little time there as possible. Even when I was there, I hid out in my room practicing, reading, and recording… anything to not have to deal with the madness.

Fortunately, there were a series of great movies in theatres that winter that Patty and I viewed, sort of. If the movie was good enough we’d stay for another showing and actually watch the film. We even went to see The Jungle Book in a theatre filled with kids. Our balcony activities were definitely not the reaction that Disney intended to the movie. We got pretty good at getting each other off while fully clothed by that point. Keeping the inappropriate sounds down was a fun challenge.

We were both weirded out by The Graduate. It would have been like doing it with Patty’s mom, a concept that was too bizarre for us contemplate.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner was interesting and sparked a long conversation on racism. Patty’s parents had related to her incidents of racism against the Irish when they first landed in America, which came as news to me. I thought everybody loved the Irish. I certainly did.

We had a lot of fun at Bonnie and Clyde, the story of two young robbers and their freakish love for each other. The film was quite racy for its day. Married couples still slept in separate beds on television. There was a time limit for on-screen kisses with tongues being strictly prohibited.

We got a bit of a scare and wakeup call in mid December. On our way to see Valley of the Dolls Patty announced, “I’m late.”

“If we walk a little faster we’ll be there before the opening credits,” I said.

“No,” she dragged out the word alerting me that I wasn’t getting her. “I’m late for, um, ah, you know…”

“Oh shit,” are not the words a girl in that situation wants to hear.

“What do you mean, oh shit?” she asked. I could tell she was close to tears. I needed to fix this in a quick hurry, but I was at a loss for what to say.

“I love you, Patty,” I stopped her and said directly into her green eyes. That turned on the waterworks. I’m not sure what she said after that as she became a blubbering mess for about ten minutes. There was nothing to do but hug her and try to keep her face from freezing in the winter air.

When she calmed a bit, intelligible speech returned, “I’m not ready to be a mom. You’re not ready to be a dad. We’re not ready for this, if it is what I think it is.”

We walked down to Sammy’s Pizza having decided to forgo the movie. We ordered pizza and pop (they call soda pop up in the LBR). Neither of us said much. I held her hand while she stared aimlessly into the distance with sad, red, puffy eyes. Finally, she said that she had never been late before, always predictable down to the hour, but this month she was nearly five days late, felt a little nauseous, and was craving strange foods. Those were all classic signs of pregnancy.

I wolfed down pizza and pop while Patty picked absentmindedly at her slice. Suddenly she got up and said, “I think I’m going to be sick.” She dashed to the bathroom with her hand over her mouth.

“Oh shit,” I said once she was out of earshot. A kid? At my age?  My parents were going to be pissed. Her parents were going to be pissed. They might just kill me. I might just kill me. The thought of having a kid wasn’t too bad. I wanted to have kids, but not at age 15. I always wanted a brother. This kid would be like my little brother. I would teach him all the shit I knew about the world, living, surviving in the wild, reading, playing keyboards and guitar. Yeah, having a kid wouldn’t be all that bad. Despite all the other problems associated with having a child, at least I would have a kid of my own.

I thought long and hard about what to say to Patty when she came out. I had to be supportive and reassuring. We could get our own place. We could live on the reservation if she didn’t mind. Yeah, it wouldn’t be so bad. We could make it on our own. I thought about how to sell that sack of bullshit to her. Who was I trying to fool? Patty was right. We weren’t ready to be parents. We weren’t done being kids ourselves. Where was she? She had been in the bathroom a long, long time. I hoped that she was alright. I thought of knocking at the door of the ladies room, but decided against riling her.

Finally, she emerged from the toilet smiling and crying at the same time. Don’t tell me this girl was gonna go bonkers on me, too. She sat down and said, “It’s ok.”

“What’s ok?”

“I’m not late anymore,” she revealed. “I’m not late. It’s ok.”

“Oh shit,” I said again. What had happened to my vocabulary? Was that the best I could come up with?

“No shit,’ Patty said. “We dodged a big fucking bullet. You,” poking her finger into my chest, “go buy some rubbers. I don’t want to go through this shit again, or for real. Buy some rubbers!”

“A little louder, dear, there are a couple of people on the wharf that didn’t hear you.” We both laughed a nervous kind of laugh.

Again, she was right. We had dodged a big fucking bullet.

“You know,” I said, “part of me is a little sad. I think I’m going to be a pretty good dad someday.”

“Yeah,” she agreed, “me too, I know I’ll make a great mom, some day, but not yet. I want to get my degree and actually teach kids before I have any. But it would have been a great kid coming from the two of us.”

“Yeah, it would have been,” I agreed. “Someday.”

“Right, some day,” Patty echoed. “But for now buy some rubbers.”

“Or, you could go on The Pill.” Birth control pills were known universally as The Pill back then.

“No, I can’t. I’m Catholic,” Patty declared. “The church doesn’t approve of birth control. So, I can’t take The Pill”

“But if I wear a rubber isn’t that birth control?”

“No, because you’re not Catholic,” she defended.

“Huh? I don’t see the difference.”

“If you wear a rubber I’m not the one practicing birth control, you are, but you’re not Catholic so it’s alright.”

“Ok, ok, I’ll buy some rubbers,” I said. “Do they sell them by the gross?”

“If you don’t stop being a smart ass you won’t need any,” Patty laughed right before gulping down three slices of pizza. “I need a fucking beer.”

“Me too,” I needed a whole bottle of whiskey. “Shamrock?”

“Shamrock.”

We got sloshed at the Irish bar ordering shot after shot along with Leinie’s. Later, we stumbled over to Ted’s place where we related our story to Ted and Jack, which put them both on the floor laughing.  Ted broke out a bottle of brandy to toast to our non-parenthood. We wound up cuddled in front of the fire. I had always been frustrated, no, downright aggravated by the monthly visitor before. On that night, however, I welcomed the bloody function with open arms.

“Loved me one time.

Could not speak.

Love me one time, babe.

Yeah, my knees got weak.

But, love me two times, girl

Last me all through the week”