DANE MANCHESTER

in my own words...

Dane ManchesterI know that everyone keeps telling me that I need to settle down, but why should I?  I'm a young man who should be enjoying everything that life has to offer.  "Wine, women, and song"  That's my motto.  I don't mean to brag, but I've had a pretty easy life.  My father is a lawyer for a bunch of society types in Chicago and my mother always seems to be content to hang on his arm at all the parties that they have to attend.  It seemed that Dad's clients threw an awful lot of parties.  Of course, I always had to stay home.  Dad always promised that I would go when I got older.  He used to laugh and tell me I could charm all the daddy's girls into convincing their fathers to float some business his way.

I remember one in particular.  I was about sixteen or seventeen when I met Theresa.  It was at the Calhoun Christmas party and she was a niece or something.  I do remember that she was wearing a long, white dress and had her long, dark hair piled up in curls on the top of her head.  She had to have been the most beautiful vision I'd ever seen.  Of course, I'd seen more than my fair share of pretty girls.  There always seemed to be one mooning over me.  But Theresa was different.  She didn't just fall all over me like the rest of them.  I did manage to wear her down and we danced the night away.  I found out that she was staying in Chicago through the holidays and we made plans to see each other again.  I think I was as surprised as she was that we wound up spending almost every moment together.  In fact, it was Theresa I kissed at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve.

After the holidays, she went back to California and we wrote back and forth to one another at least once a week.  Sometimes every day.  When summer came, I made plans to go and see her, but Dad refused to let me go.  He said I was being foolish to chase after a girl who lived half way across the country.  He told me I was way too young to get serious about anything or anyone.  I was disappointed, but it did make me realize that he was right.  I had plenty of time to think about getting serious with a girl.  I still couldn't help but think of Theresa, though.

I knew that when the right time came, I'd find the perfect woman to marry and I'd be just as happy as Mom and Dad.  I just don't want to rush it.  I want to wait for the right time.  When I get married, I want it to be just the two of us and I want it to last forever and I'm just not ready for that now.  Now, I want to play and have fun.

I still think about Theresa.  In fact, the summer before I went off to college, I went to California to find her.  I guess something inside me was hoping that she was waiting for me.  I couldn't have been more wrong.  She was engaged to some heir to an oil company and wouldn't even see me.  I guess I had waited too long.  I suppose I'm better off.  I wasn't ready to get married anyway and it looks like she was.

Now, I've got a girlfriend.  She's really nice, but I hope she doesn't think we're gonna get married or anything.  We're just having fun.  I like to have fun with lots of girls.  I don't tell her about it because, well, you know how girls are.  They're funny with love and everything.  I'm just not ready to settle down yet.  However, I can think of one girl who could change my mind.  Jillian.  She reminds me a lot of Theresa...

March, 1935