There were only a few school days left when Robert Kennedy was shot on June 5, 1968. Mr. Arvizu was not himself. His attempt to read from John Kennedy’s Profiles In Courage was fraught with long pauses as Mr. A tried to keep his cool. Eventually, the dam burst open. Our teacher was reduced to tears.
Seeing Mr. A loose it caused a domino effect. Girls and boys got weepy. Not because American History had taken a turn, possibly for the worst, but because a man who had done his darnedest to mentor us out of childhood had revealed the boy beneath the man. Big boys do cry.
As always, there was a girl. She was the epitome of sixties style. Ever since I saw Dear Brigette, I was a regular Billy Mumy when it came to long blond hair. It wasn’t just Brigette Bardot. In 1968, most sixth graders were not aware of Catherine Deneuve, but I lived on a drive-in theater where International films were on the bill of fare. I had seen Belle De Jour and it wasn’t my first R rated film.
I was a Jane Fonda fan since Cat Ballou. By 1968, Fonda’s star was on the rise. Besides being known as an actress, she was also a fashion model of some influence. Her political activism was still in its infancy. Which brings us to “The Look” and the girl that had “The Look”, her name was Eden Weber.
To paraphrase the song popularized by Glen Campbell, Eden was moving on the back roads, by the rivers of my mem’ry. Yes, she was gentle on my mind.
She had long blond hair like a silver screen goddess. Fashion-wise, she favored the look of Goldie Hawn on Laugh-In. She frequently wore a green Simplicity type dress with a zipper running from the collar to the hem of her skirt. The hem was high enough above the knee to reveal extremely shapely legs for a sixth grader. The hoop zipper really caught my eye. It was hard not to stare. Eden was taller than the other girls and the dress emphasized her developing breasts and hips. I may have been more infatuated with the dress than I was the girl. As is often the case, I admired Eden from afar. The Garden of Eden was out of reach. Besides, I was still carrying a torch for my first sweetheart.