College Days – Prelude

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So I put my hand on her knee, and crossed the Rubicon. She turned her head and offered me her parting lips. No embrace, just a kiss, my hand on her knee and hers on my thigh. In that single instant we became lovers. A long kiss that could never be long enough set in motion a series of events that has fueled my fantasies, dreams and outlook for my entire college career and beyond.

Patricia Nolan, you see, was the epitome of everything an insecure Tulane freshman like me was afraid of: a Newcomb senior, quite rich, terribly intelligent and Vogue model beautiful. She was a member of this trendy sorority, the Delta-somethings, and engaged to a naval officer, who had graduated in engineering the year before. They were to be married when (and if?) he got back from Vietnam.

She had a little job of sorts passing out study tapes in the language lab to would-be polyglots, which she expected to blend into a position as a graduate student in Spanish and Portuguese the next year, here at Tulane or wherever her beau took her. Things were like that in the mid-1960s.

The first words she said to me on my very first visit to the language lab: “Mr. Strange, did you break the tape again? Freshmen can be such klutzes.” Not exactly a confidence building introduction. But the put-down, intended or unintended, had happy consequences in the end. When I returned my tape – one of those six-inch wheels of magnetic film – she apologized: “I guess being a freshman you have enough problems without a someone making fun of you.”

And so for the remainder of the term, we greeted each other in the language lab with a smile and an exchange of last names, a Mr. Strange and a Miss Nolan. With my classes on the front quad and hers in back, I very seldom saw her except in the language labs. Seniors, especially seniors who lived off campus apparently didn’t spend much time at the University Center.


The week after Christmas I was walking down Charters and daydreaming about women, what else and my acute paranoia about Newcomb girls, smarter and richer and scarier than their counterparts at Loyola or LSU or just about anywhere. I was dating too many Catholic high school girls. That must stop.

“Mr. Strange.”

I turned and there she was. Patricia Nolan. Her blackest of hair, reddest of lipstick and softest of makeup. She didn’t look this good in back of the Dutch door at the language lab. She wore a gray tweed suit, with the terribly short skirt then in style which, aided by high heels and dark nylons, showed off her great legs. My ego soared at being remembered.

“Miss Nolan. I didn’t expect to see you.” I never expected/expect to see anybody. “What brings you to the French Quarter on this bright, chilly afternoon?”

“Queen’s luncheon at the Oxford Club. I was never the queen but I was in their ball last year, so I got the invite.”

So, not only is this girl smart, rich and good looking, she is a former debutant from a socially well connected family.

“I’m just going down the street to the Attic to get a sandwich. You’ve eaten, I imagine, but you’re invited to join me.”

“OK, but you must call me Patricia. John?”

“Jack. Come with me to the Attic I’ll buy you a cup of coffee.”

“No, we can both eat at the Attic. You’re not supposed to eat at these Carnival luncheons. I’m starving. Besides, there’s something I need to talk to you about, John.”


Something she wanted to talk to me about? That of course explains why she would flag me down on Chartres Street. I’ll accept any excuse. What could it be? I’ll be surprised.


“You will love the turtle soup here,” she said after we had been seated by the windows along Chartres Street. I ordered a Dixie beer, she had ice tea. We both put ourselves down for the turtle soup. Gawd she was good looking… and sophisticated and rich and smart and everything else that I wasn’t. I wanted to plunge right in with dozens of questions I had been dying to ask about chichi Newcombians, but I thought some obscure rule of etiquette demanded that we settle her affairs first and put off my interrogations, which I realized then were a bit on the accusatory side.

“Now, what was it you wanted to talk to me about?”

“My little sister Marilyn asked me find her a Tulane date for the Sisyphus Ball in two weeks. It’s a pre-debutante dance, really. I thought you’d be interested. I am sure you’d like my sister. She’s very good looking, I understand.”

Experience now dictates that I should have made a reference to how she, the little sister, must take after she, Patricia Nolan, the big sister. But this is now and that was then. I was also a bit disappointed. I mean sister and all.

“Actually I was looking forward to asking you out.” It was the dumbest thing I could think of.

“Thank you for the compliment, but I am engaged, and, besides, Byron is considerably bigger than you.”

“Not sure your sister would appreciate being a consolation prize.”

“I won’t tell.”

And so we had our turtle soup ataköy escort and Patricia joined me for a coffee and Calvados – as sophisticated as she was she had never had Calva before, and I scored some kind of culture points. I sensed the moment had come, and launched into my questions about class and smarts and sophistication and inferiority complexes and paranoia.

It would have been one thing if her answers had been bad or incomplete or unsatisfactory, but in truth she just didn’t have any, other than: “You’re not shy with me,” and “I’m certainly not rich or smart” (she lied). And “I have enjoyed being with you for lunch.” (She lied again.)

I closed my case, agreed to take the sister to her pre-debutant ball, and very ungallantly let her pay for the lunch.


One really good thing about having a friend at the language lab is that when the lines get long you don’t have to wait for your tapes, but can just walk around the corner pick them up. You could also go back among the tapes and splice up your own repairs. That was exactly what I was doing the day of the storm.

It was like one of those Rube Goldberg things. The tree was uprooted, sending the branch crashing through the window, knocking the chair into the bookshelves, boom, boom, boom, ending with the largest shelf knocking me down and pinning me head first between Patricia Nolan’s legs. My erection was immediate and unwavering during that hour under the tapes.

That was the week of the pre-deb party, and my bruises gave me the perfect excuse to excuse myself. But, of course, I was much too absorbed with scent of Patricia Nolan to even dance with sister Marilyn. Had I not been shy about by the smarter, richer, older and more sophisticated Newcombian before I was scared to death now. But Patricia Nolan wasn’t at all. She now greeted me on campus on those rare occasions when we crossed paths. She even invited me for coffee one evening after we had met in the library.

“I apologize. I’m sorry,” I said as we sat at a table in the nearly empty coffee shop.

“For what?” Patricia asked, as if she didn’t know.

“The language lab thing in January.” I could feel myself turning red.

“Well, that certainly wasn’t your fault.” I fumbled to explain without explaining. “I think you’d better stop right there, Mr. Strange.” And she laughed.

And thus we began seeing each other almost daily. She tried to set me up with the sister again, but she understood my reticence. I think she was flattered by my interest but wanted to be cautious at the same time. You see, with Byron over in Vietnam – probably getting laid by all the Saigon hookers – their much-heralded engagement destined her to be dateless at parties, included as a third or fifth at gatherings and escorted by cousins at carnival balls. But a “friend,” especially a friend four years her junior, could go a long way toward a normal social life.

She had been a debutante the year before, as I mentioned, and was a special invitee to a number of the carnival functions. She said if I wanted to go she could get me an invitation, but I would have felt out of place.

When the parades began, we went to Canal Street together to see them, once or twice from the Boston Club reviewing stands. All Platonic, all safe, all brother and sister, all perfect for her. All frustrating for me.

That all changed the Monday before Mardi Gras at the nearly empty Formosa Restaurant in Kenner. We wouldn’t have to be so Platonic here, or at least I imagined. Seems I imagined right.

The Formosa was a nondescript Chinese restaurant with large windows which, when the curtains are drawn, provide a panoramic view of Veterans Highway and the drainage canal that runs through its neutral ground. A steady stream of tractor-trailers reminded diners that this part of Veterans was, at least until I-10 was ready, the artery linking New Orleans with Houston, Dallas. Memphis and points between and beyond.

Like most Chinese restaurants, the food was unspectacular, but unlike other Sino-restos the Formosa was over-the-top clean. The manager – at least I think she was the manager – gave us a corner table, seating us side by side so no one would be facing the wall. I don’t remember what we ate, though it was probably a numbered dinner, with won-ton soup and egg roll. I do remember that Patricia Nolan tried unsuccessfully to teach me to use chop sticks.

“You’re such a klutz, Jack.”

“I’m also not very bright. Otherwise I would have started with a fork.” And we laughed

It was then that I placed my hand on her bare thigh, and it all began to happen. We kissed for the longest time. Her lips were soft and sweet, and her tongue eager. I was hard in a second and stayed that way all night. I wanted more, more of her kisses, more of Patricia Nolan. We didn’t make love that night, but we didn’t have to. We had already become lovers.

We finished our dinner in silence and drove to her apartment on Pine Street at the corner of Freret. Despite the constant drizzle, she didn’t complain bakırköy escort about my $250 sports car with the porous top – the first of many such. Her roommates were both home. We were in no hurry. A quick kiss screened from view by the passing Freret trolley bus and we parted.

We met the next morning at the university center and took the streetcar into town for the parades. She was wearing jeans and a Harvard sweatshirt, no bra. Her sorority sisters had rented an apartment in the French Quarter, providing a pied-a-terre for the girls and their beaux. We made sure not to get too close to each other. Byron’s friends were there, too. Me, being cast into a sea of mature, rich, smart, sophisticated women, I found the arrangement most uncomfortable. Patricia Nolan not so much so. She just ignored me.

But we stayed sober all day, ate pizza for lunch, caught beads and doubloons at the parades, exchanged Mardi Gras kisses with strangers and gawked at the more outrageous – and outrageously skimpy – costumes. We even dropped into a bar for a pitcher of beer, and when we thought we were alone enough, we held hands.

As darkness began to set in, we walked to the foot of Canal and took the ferry to Algiers and back in an effort to be alone for a few minutes. We made out in the stair well on the way over. I massaged her free breasts for the first time, and she pulled on my penis through my jeans. That night, if the stars were aligned in the right fashion, we would make love.

Of course, the stars were not in the proper order.

“Jack, my man.” It was Ralph Toomey, who was two years ahead of me at boarding school. “My place in the Point is available if you’re still looking. I’m moving back into the fraternity house now that they’ve elected me president.”

“Congratulations,” I offered. I had no way of knowing what fraternity he was talking about. I mean, what kind of fraternity would elect this guy president?

“Hello Patricia. I didn’t see you there. Have you heard from Byron? I understand he was offered a promotion if he agrees to stay in Nam for another six months to a year. At least that’s what I heard. I don’t know if he’s going to take it or not. You probably know better.” Ah yes, Ralph and Byron were alpha beta gamma delta epsilon brothers. Alpha males, I guess you could say.

Patricia Nolan and Ralph exchanged chit chat for a few minutes, with Ralph asking about the Little Sister, whom he apparently was sweet on and whom he assumed somehow that I was involved with. That made for a great excuse for seeing Patricia Nolan and I together, though the senior-freshman, patrician-plebeian conflict was still our best cover. The lady danced around Ralph’s questions like a Sugar Ray. But despite all efforts to disengage, Ralph stuck around like a Bronx Bull. After we had hit the dock and began walking down Canal Street he continued to adhere to us, once even asking how I was recovering from the incident in the language lab.

He continued to accompany us past the Customs House and into the French Quarter, chirping all the way. At a no-name bar on Decatur Street, he bought three beers, apparently under the impression that he was renting our ears and patience for a few more blocks.

When we arrived at the Delta pied-a-terre, Ralph walked in with us. So there I was again, surrounded by these smarter, richer, older, more sophisticated women and Ralph, and with a pimple rising up under my right eye. How does that go: Did you ever get the feeling the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes? I walked back to Canal Street, took the streetcar to campus to pick up the car and drove home.


When school and such returned to normal at the end of the week, I made an effort not to run into Patricia Nolan on campus. I understand she was making the effort to avoid running into me. The big sister thing would only fly so far. But we knew, ever since that evening at the Formosa, that it was out of our hands, and “if chance would have us laid, then chance may lay us.”

It had been more than a week since our Mardi Gras ferry ride when we met again, in front of the auditorium as the students filed in for the free Friday movie. We sat in the back and held hands — Held hands!! PDAs – not the math kind – were verboten for us, of course, even in the darkness of a theater.

My heart beat increased bit by bit as the movie went on. I am sure hers did, too. When the movie was over we walked slowly across campus, making the effort to appear unhurried despite our urgency. We joked about the movie – an updated rip-off of the African Queen – and kept our hands in our pockets. We made no mention of where we were going.

Upon arrival at the house on Pine Street, Patricia Nolan handed me the key.

The apartment the three Delta sisters shared occupied the lower rear of a family duplex become student fourplex, It was accessed by a side door off Freret Street, three steps up into a nicely furnished living room, with an open threshold to a large kitchen/dining area, and a number of doors behind which were closets and bedrooms.

“They’ve gone to Lacombe for the weekend,” she explained as she stepped toward my open arms. Her kiss was like it was that night at the restaurant. I wanted to enjoy the moment, and to let it extend forever and ever. She melted into my arms, our bodies, though still fully clothed, forming a seamless weld. I just enjoyed holding her close, oh so close. I ran my hands up and down her sides and across her back, and I grabbed her ass and pulled her against my growing erection, as she traced the contours of my ear with her tongue. She was wearing that Harvard sweatshirt from Mardi Gras, this time with a bra, though not for long. I let my hands touch her hips and move up her sides, once, twice, before moving up her back, feeling her ribs ripple and unfastening her brassiere.

She led me through the darkness across the room toward one of the closed doors, her bedroom. The door opened into a large room bathed in the oh-so-soft light of a street lamp on Freret. She didn’t seem very practiced, though according to the times she had certainly fucked Byron and according to the tradition of local upper class had had other intimacies before him. It was that Sacred Heart bravado that was guiding her that night. Me, hell I was 18, with all my experience coming in back seats of Chevies and Buicks. Getting to see her full naked body standing before me was explosive. I was just trying to make sure I didn’t explode too soon.

I guess she recognized my awe at seeing her nakedness, because she removed her sweatshirt in a single move and stepped out of her jeans and panties in another. The streetlight was just enough. She was beyond my fantasies. Breasts neither too large nor too tiny, skin blemish free, wide hips and a black bush, full but never wild, trimmed for a bikini. (She looked great in a bikini that summer by the way.)

Assured my eyes had had their fill, she stepped forward and put her arms around my neck. I leaned down for a kiss but she turned her head just enough to warn me off. She quickly turned back and locked her green eyes onto mine: “I know what I’m doing.”

“OK,” I thought. And who am I as a little freshman to second guess the decisions of a rich, smart, sophisticated Newcomb senior?

Patricia Nolan didn’t expect an answer, and pulled my head down and turned hers up for a magnificent kiss. She backed up a step and began unbuttoning my shirt and loosening my belt. I wrapped my arms around her and pulled her wonderfully naked body toward my now naked torso. Great! I ran my hands up and down her sides and across her back again. I cupped her ass in my palms and pressed her closer to my still covered erection.

“Oh my god,” she gasped as she pressed herself closer to my penis. My hand dropped between her legs and I let my middle finger enter her and press against the front wall of her vagina searching for her elusive “G-spot,” as my thumb pressed her long clitoris. She jumped. Her breath was warm, her body almost hot in the chill air as she pulled on my cock, then dropped to a knee, pulled down my pants and shorts, and stroked me before lifting a teardrop of juice from the tip of my erection.

And she went down on me, this rich, smart, sophisticated woman took a mouthful of this common freshman’s cock and sucked and stroked and played with it with her tongue as she caressed my balls in her palm. She came up for breath, I guess you could say, then went down again, taking all of me, gagging slightly, then taking a bit more and gagging again before releasing me.

She was spread out on her bed, my face between her legs, when she came that first time, rinsing my face in her love juices. Ambrosia. And I pressed deeper, licking her vagina and biting her clitoris, spurred on by her moans and calls. “Come here, come up here, inside me, inside me, please, please, now, here, inside me.”

I moved toward her voice in the semi-darkness, pushing my cock up the inside of her leg, and as I neared her crease, she jerked, grabbed my ass and tried to direct me in. I complied. Moist, warm, tight, heaven. My first thrust was sudden. I guess I was more impatient than I pretended to be. My heart was now throbbing and my breath racing as I pumped in and out and in and out. She flexed her vaginal muscles to make her tightness even more stimulating. I bit her shoulders. She ran her fingernails across my back. We went on and on for what seemed like hours but felt like seconds all at once.

At her urging we turned over, a swift transition without interruption. I can still see her atop me: moving up and down in no real rhythm or speed or force. Her boobs bouncing as she moved. Her head twisting and turning in the dim light and her hair shaking from side to side. I saw us together, my penis sliding into her body and out again through her dark, damp pubes. (This was all new to be at the time, by the way.)

She sat straight up and started riding. Up and down and up and down and up and down, faster and faster. She closed her eyes, then tilted her head back. “Yes, yes. Come, Jack, come.” I tried to resist as I could, but Patricia Nolan began to shake and moan and repeat unclear phrases in muffled screams of pleasure.

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