Wildwood Daze – Betty Ann – Part 9 – Farewell, My Love

Wildwood, New Jersey – August 1984

I remember Betty telling me, at the beginning of our relationship, she was moving to Chicago in three months for her husband’s job. So I knew no matter what happened between us, it would be short-lived. It was an affair she wanted to have with a younger man to get revenge on her husband. But what she didn’t realize at the time with whom she had chosen to have that affair.

We were sitting on a bench on the boardwalk one afternoon. It was a warm sunny day, and the tourists milled about us. Eating, drinking, playing games, and going on amusements.

We were just having a moment of gentle repose when she turned to me.

“You know, Chaz… when I started this with you it was just to get back at my husband.”

“I know, Bets. It’s okay. I’ve had no illusion as to what this relationship is.”

“But… I’m sorry about that.”

“It’s okay. I’m fine with it. I’ve just been happy to be with you, even though our time has been short.”

“But… I never thought that I’d fall in love with you.”

I smiled and kissed her. “I love you too, Betty. I loved you the first time I saw you come in the store.”

I knew what I was getting myself into. At 22 I was just driven by my desire to love and be loved. Nothing more. I’d always been that way. Almost desperate to be recognized by a beautiful woman. To feel real value and worth. It was a young man’s folly, but back then it was real. It was what I was.

The movers had begun to pack up her house and prepared to truck it off to Chicago. One evening we were lying on a sheet on the floor of her bedroom. We had just completed another one of our fiery sessions. The house was basically empty, sans us on the floor and a fan that blew across the room to cool us.

“Chaz…”

I laid back and stared at the ceiling with her beside me. I turned to her and kissed her lips. I knew this relationship’s expiration date and had prepared myself for its demise.

“I’m really going to miss you, Chaz.”

“I’m going to miss you too, Bets.”

“You know… I went off birth control a while back.”

“Wait… what?”

“Yea. I stopped taking it over a month and a half ago.”

“Umm… why?”

“I love you, Chaz. I thought if I got pregnant it would be a nice present you could give me, so I would always have a part of you with me forever.”

Anxiety goes into overdrive.

“Are you…?”

“I don’t know and I don’t care. It’s my decision.”

Not much was said after that while my mind swirled with a million possibilities. All of them ended with me getting shot by her husband.

To be honest, it had been such a crazy whirlwind romance I couldn’t even process what was happening at the time. I was just traveling through time in space caught in the vortex that was mad love and desire for Betty.

One night, about a week before she was supposed to move I was sitting at the kitchen table at my parent’s house having a snack. I was the only one at home at the time. The phone rang and I answered it.

It was Betty’s husband.

It was an awkward conversation and at first, I denied who I was. But he knew he had the correct number and that it was me. I don’t know how he got my number or name, but he must have gone through his wife’s things. He had stated on the call that Betty had run off to Texas to spend some time with her friend Leddy and that I should call her.

I was surprised at how cool he was, but somehow the jig was up. This was bad. This wasn’t supposed to ever happen, but what did I think could happen with what I was engaged in. He gave me Leddy’s number and I quickly scrawled it down on a piece of paper by the phone. Then he hung up.

I called the number and the person who answered the phone wasn’t Betty but sounded giggly and maybe high. She put Betty on the phone and we talked. She expressed again that she was in love with me, and that she no longer wanted to be with her husband, so she took off to her friend’s house to get her head straightened out. I assured her that as hard as it was for both of us, she should try to work things out with her husband.

Frankly, as much as I adored the drug of being with a girl like Betty, it had all begun to wear on me. The sneaking around, the idea of her infidelity, and the fact that she had a 5-year-old daughter.

I had prepared myself for this affair to only exist for a finite amount of time and felt resolute with its outcome. It frightened me that her husband had called my parent’s house and I’d had enough. Worlds colliding is never a good thing. I didn’t want this sort of mess in my life anymore. The possibility of Betty ever staying with me and making life with me in Wildwood seemed unimaginable to me. It didn’t make sense. Betty had been a secretary that hooked up with a high-powered married executive. He left his wife for Betty, his then-mistress. That almost never happens. People cheat because they’re not getting something from their spouse. It has nothing to do with sex, it’s more about that person’s character and bigger things wrong in their current relationship.

Betty was 32, but when I look back on it now, she was very immature as a woman. She liked being with charming, fun me because she longed to be young and 20 again. That was never going to happen. She was a house cat now. No job, no real skills, a mother, and a kept trophy on the arm of a rich guy. She had her daughter with him securing her financial stability. But Betty and me at age 22 would never have worked. Was she going to go from living in a nice house and driving a BMW 5, to living in some cheap apartment with a guy who worked at a video store? She just was caught up in a world of lust and fun and needed to get her head straight.

I get it. Once women hit around 28, the clock starts ticking. They need to settle down, find a husband, and have a kid. That’s happening a million times around the world right now. Even as you read this story it’s happening everywhere.

We kept in touch leading up to her going, but she did end up moving to Chicago with her husband and daughter. I was relieved, but for some reason, I wasn’t sad. I guess because Betty loved me and I her, but she was never mine. She belonged to another man. Her heart was all for Chaz, but the rest of her life was with him. I think after some time and counseling, she realized that and relented to his will. But it was for the best.

She wrote to me a few times and we chatted on the phone, but they were to stay out in Chicago for at least the next 3 years. So I knew time would heal all wounds.

She did call me one night and we were chatting and she asked that I mail her the polaroid pic of her topless back to her. She stated she just didn’t want a photo of her like that out in the world. I was fine mailing it back to her. It never meant anything to me anyway. Why would I look at some crappy picture of the woman I was seeing in the real world. Looking at a naked pic of Betty just seemed tawdry compared to what we once shared. Something sweet and elegant.

Here’s some of the stuff she sent me in the mail in the following months after she left.

Is that binding? (lol)

You’d think that the story would be over at this point. But there’s one last thing I have to tell you.

Tune in next Tuesday for the bone-jarring conclusion to this sordid tale.

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Sun Stories – I Can’t Believe We’re Open in Rittenhouse!

The entire front of the building looks like a construction site, or a bomb site.

We closed the old salon for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. We were open for business at the new location that Tuesday. We moved and entire business in three days! Achilles and the boys had been doing the build out on the new address for the last month, but it was an absolute herculean task doing what he accomplished.

We have had some setbacks and growing pains. No internet. No phone. New number that no one can call yet. The hamper disappeared. A new phone in the box disappeared in the move as well. We can’t take credit cards because we can’t get on any network yet. There is no sign on the door downstairs or an address. So almost no one can find us. The entire front of the building looks like a construction site, or a bomb site.

However, we do have all of the rooms up. They’re just sheet rock and doors right now, but three of the sun beds actually work, and people that can find us are actually able to tan. They are the two premium beds and one stand up unit. So we’re letting anyone who can find the place tan in whatever bed is available. The best thing about this is, the folks who don’t have the premium package get to tan in the premium beds for the first time. So they love it.

Sawdust and detritus are everywhere. I just keep sweeping, mopping and wiping things off throughout the night. I know it will all come together in time but we’re going to be at least a month or so in this condition. It’s a mess, but we’re all soldiering through it.

I’ll keep you all updated as the new place comes together.

 

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Sun Stories – The Move

I just start grabbing anything that’s not tied down and tossing it into boxes or bags.

Five guys tearing apart a business and breaking down huge, complex tanning beds and moving them to another location was so brutal, Achilles says he’ll never move again. I can’t agree more. We’re going to a better location and the new salon will be beautiful… eventually. I couldn’t think of a good image to show what a mess the salon is now so I’m sticking with “hot chick in a sunbed.”

I closed on a Friday, and that night the crew came in with Achilles and started dismantling the sunbeds. Great thing was, I didn’t have to sweep or mop the place, because we would never be open for business again at this address.

I went back in Saturday morning around 10am and the crew was in full swing. Achilles, his brother Zues, and two other big strong dudes. They’re all taking things apart and carrying them down the back steps to the alley outside. The beds are huge and have tons of parts.

I just start grabbing anything that’s not tied down and tossing it into boxes or bags. I carry them by hand and walk the three blocks down to walnut street. I carry them up the 30 stairs, unload, and walk back to the old salon. I do this over and over until 4pm.

My whole body hurts when I get home. It’s that moment when you finally sit down for a bit and then have to get up to get more ice for your drink or something. Once on your feet the pain and stiffness kicks in and I groan like an old man.

And the worst part? I have to go do it all again tomorrow. This move has been brutal!

 

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Sun Stories -Two Steps From the Move

The place is a mess. I just keep the clients rolling and sweep up the dust and debris.

This Sun Story is not about some cute blonde in a sun bed. It’s about the salon itself. So why the cute naked blonde? Why not? Look at her! She’s a doll!

So if you’ve been reading this blog you’ll know that we are moving the tanning salon down to Walnut Street. Lease was up. Building sold. New owners. Rent was going up. It’s been a great ten years, but it’s time to move to a better address. Where the new location will be is probably the most upscale shopping district in the city, so that can’t hurt.

It’s the last day at the old salon and they are literally ripping the place apart. The premium beds went first, then the rest will go over the weekend. We don’t have to be out until the end of the month, but the weather is going to be really nice this weekend. So we want to get over to the new spot now.

I’ve been working from open to close every day leading up to the move. That’s from 10am to 8pm on your feet. I really don’t mind it, because I like to work and our clients are great. Achilles and his team are dismantling the machines, and I’m running the store. It’s Achilles, his brother and two other big guys. So they’re all of the mind and muscle. Just four dudes and a pickup truck. I’m holding down the fort until we close.

We’re down to just three beds in operation. The premium lay down in Room 10, the all access lay down in 3 and the stand up in 2. The place is a mess. I just keep the clients rolling and sweep up the dust and debris.

The best part is for the clients. I have to tan everybody in whatever is available under the circumstances. Which means if you paid for a medium package, and the premium bed is available, you get to tan in the premium bed. It’s not the client’s fault that we took most of the beds from their package to the new site.

Here’s the reason that moving is going to payoff for us at the new location. For the last few days we’ve been letting everyone tan in whatever is available. So the clients that have never experienced the premium beds are getting a taste of something they can’t afford. The best bed in the house. 600 watt face tanners, 200 watt tubes, Vitamin D P2 lamps, 3 levels of tanning, (Basic, Mediterranean & Caribbean) and most of all aqua misting! They’re all coming out of this bed raving about it and asking about pricing, and how it’s “THE experience.” So now that they’ve gotten a taste of the very best, when they re-up their packages I’ll tell them it’s only $10 more for a 5 pack and just $15 for the monthly plan. So now that they’ve had the best, how can they go back?

So we’ll probably get some clients that will be spending for money for the better experience. We’re also offering a $20 discount for students. So that’ll help us as we come into our busy season.  So I’ll help them move all of the small stuff that I can gather tomorrow, and we’ll take it one day as a time.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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