I expected a pi?ata ladened with fruits and candy kisses but instead ended up spinning an old milk bottle leading to real sweet kisses.
In 1941 as a shy 12-year-old Mexican kid living in Artesia,I probably would not have gone to Mildred Smith's birthday party if I had been aware that "kissing" was on the agenda. Too late to back out, I made the best out of this unforseen stressful situation.
Every time the bottle spun, I froze. As the bottle kept missing my position, I began to feel a bit more relaxed - perhaps this crazy game would end before disaster struck.
No such luck - on the next spin, disaster struck! Totally embarressed, I shuffled into the dark closet where Mildred waited. As the door closed, I spotted the farthest corner and attempted to embed myself into its walls. Perhaps, if I stopped breathing, she would not find me. God failed me - she found me!
"Vince, are you okay?" she whispered.
"Yeah," I whispered back - surprised that my vocal cords responded.
"May I kiss you on the cheek?"
"Yeah," I whispered, still surprised that I was able to speak and resigned to do whatever had to be done to get out. Finally, the door openedand I darted into the daylight, only to be pushed back by the waiting group who were delirious with laughter. I didn't know the ruled of the game - it was my turn to wait in the closed for the next customer. I quickly made my way to my secure corner and closed my eyes as I said a quick "Hail Mary."
Susie was very tall for her age, with a boyfriend to match. She was NOT shy. She quickly found me, bent over, kissing the top of my head as she pulled my chin up with her hand and kissed my lips.
"How do like that?" she purred.
Too dazed, bewildered and embarrassed to answer, I came out of the closet
stumbling into the arms of the hilarious and boisterous bunch.
With patience, practice and natural hormone enhancement, I overcame the kissing phobia and actually came to enjoy this crazy Anglo game
Vince Perez is a native Californian whose parents emigated from Jalisco, Mexico in 1918. He taught Anatomy and Physiology at East L.A. College for 35 years. Now retired, he enjoys traveling and writing.