Franco Zeffirelli’s “Romeo and Juliet” came out in 1968. I saw it 5 times!
First, when my World Civ’ II class was taken by bus to Washington DC. We experienced the love story in a super deluxe, modern theater with surround-sound and gigantic, curved screen.
We had to read the Shakespeare play first, of course. It was AP English. But the movie burned that tale into my brain forever. I walked around singing & playing on my flute the hit song from that movie,
“What is a youth? Impetuous fire, what is a maid, ice & desire….”
After getting home from the school trip, I dialed Sheila. I insisted that her boyfriend Al (RW’s older brother), Shelia, Robert W. and I go see “Romeo & Juliet” the next Saturday. Date Night!
Robert W. and I saw it 3 more times on our own, dropped off by Al (neither Robert W. nor I could drive yet). Al & Shelia would go somewhere to make out, picking us up sometimes an hour late. We stood, holding hands, in front of the theater, speaking of Romance, music, paintings & poetry.
Robert W. and I talked feverishly about the Capulets and Montagues, their fathers’ hate and our true but ill-fated romance. This was us!! We agreed never to kill ourselves but to run off to California one day, like nearly every teenager in our Boomer Generation dreamed of doing.
“Your parents can’t keep me away from you,” RW pledged his troth. “If they lock you in your bedroom, I’ll float in through the keyhole.” What a freaky thought! Like from an acid trip, man!
My father did lock me in my bedroom whenever he put me “on restriction for the duration” for any offense–from “getting smart” to staying out past my 10:00 p.m. curfew. He’d switched the doorknob so it locked from the outside.
I was a fairytale princess, starving & lamenting life. I wrote in my Real journals: scrolls of paper hidden in shoes & boot boxes. The old diaries Dad had given me (“you’re the type of person who needs to write everything down.”) were in the left-hand drawer of my work desk. I wrote things like “Bob is an idiot” & drew goofy pictures in those, knowing my brother would sneak in to read them.
The scrolls contained my True Life Stories. Love, laments about boys being shipped off war, plans to run away, live in Beach Boy California with RW, Al & Shelia, sell paintings to tourists. We could live in a VW bus, painted inside & out by RW & me. Shelia was smart & practical. She took business courses at Langley. She’d get an office job easily. Al would do something. He was a man of many talents.
RW was a great mechanic & hard-working construction guy. We’d get a cottage near the ocean, pitching in our earnings for food & rent. Ah, Life Would Be Groovy!
Super Groovy friends: Robt, Teresa & me, dancing to groovy 60s soul hits