Updated: Nov 5, 2021
In 1965 Inspired by John Kennedy, James Walsh ran for mayor of Scranton, challenging the Democratic Party structure and the party's endorsed candidate, Jim McGee. I was asked to be a “Walsh Girl”. A group of young girls that would go to rallies and ride in convertibles in parades. I was just 16. We had red and white outfits with capes. Basically, eye candy. One night at a rally, one of the older guys working for the candidate asked me to help him. We were at the Hotel Casey. He took me upstairs to one of the suites to get more beverages for the party downstairs. I should have realized something was wrong, when he didn’t turn on the lights. Before I knew it, he picked me up and started to carry me towards the bed. I was able to get away and ran downstairs. Marty was about 30 years old. I was more aware of my surroundings after that. Sexual inappropriateness was not really addressed then. I felt ashamed. I never told anyone. I was starting to realize that men like that are attracted to girls who they think are easy to manipulate and control. My senior year I was looking forward to going to college. In 1966 we had two big colleges in Scranton. Marywood College, which was for girls and the University of Scranton which was for boys. I graduated in a high school class of 500 students. We had a huge senior class. The Scranton Central High School was a college prep school. Most students were planning on going to college. After the graduation ceremony my parents gave me a watch as a graduation present. Then they informed me that they would not be able to support me going to college. Their belief was that the college was wasted on girls because ultimately, they were going to get married and have children. They said I needed to stay home and get a job and help the family. I was crushed. I was 17 years old and my brain and my temperament, personality and resourcefulness was not adequate enough to defend my dream. I did not have the courage or capability to figure out a way to go anyway without their permission. It seemed like an insurmountable problem. I was dating a boy that was a year younger than me at the time. I had met him at a dance and he did not go to our school so I didn't know how old he was when I met him. Curt was a sweetheart. He really fell head over heels in love with me. I started dating him in March. By June my feelings had simmered down. However, I needed a date for the prom. I wasn't going to break up with him until after my Senior Prom. I went to the prom with the explicit plan of losing my virginity that night. I wore this full-length dress with a yellow bodice and enormous skirt embroidered with daisies. In spite of the size of the dress, I fulfilled my mission. In the back seat of his 1964 Mustang. Oh, the flexibility of youth. That summer Curt became an annoyance. I just didn't care for him and it got so bad that when he kissed me, I would literally want to throw up. By Midsummer I had broken it off with Curt. He was very upset about it. One night I was coming home from a dance and he was literally waiting for me in the dark. He scared the shit out of me. He got on his knees and begged for me to take him back. I can't believe I did this but I actually said "You are not much of a man if you're on your knees. " I went to a dance a couple weeks later at Workingman’s Hall. During intermission this gorgeous blonde boy walked up to me. He looked like James Caan in the 60’s. The way Caan looked in the Godfather, when he played Sonny Corleone. Curly blonde hair and green eyes. We started talking and he told me he was leaving to go in the Navy the next day. He asked if I would write to him. Of course, I said yes… he wrote down his military address on a matchbook cover and I promised I would write to him. That promise changed my life in ways I could not imagine.