I first met Loraine in one of my classes. I was a junior in my second semester at Broadmoore University in East Texas. I had come to Broadmoore from an all-Black high school deeper in East Texas. I had never personally known any white girls. To me they were different. I had been there for three years and had never seen her before, or just hadn’t paid any attention to her. It was a fifteen thousand student body campus in the heart of the piney woods. I registered for my classes and was in one of my classes for the first day. I remember her sitting there with her stockings just above her hemline on her skirt. She had nice-smooth-uniform legs. You could barely see the dark rings around the top of her stockings. These kinds of stockings were usually reserved for the out-of-date women, or those considered wayward in some respects. I thought this was a little unusual because most girls wore pantyhose rather than stockings, but she was looking sexy. I have to admit I got turned on.
That night the professor, Mr. Hamilton, who was head of the department, gave a party for everyone who was majoring in the field of rehabilitation, for which he was chairman of the department. I went to the party and tried to talk to Loraine, but was a little nervous. There were many people at the party that I hadn’t seen before. I wasn’t used to talking to white girls in an unfamiliar crowd, though I had been at Broadmoore for three years, which was a mostly white university. There were lots of Red Necks at this university that didn’t go in for that sort of thing. I walked over and sat beside her on the couch.
“My name is Craig, what’s yours?” still a little nervous about approaching her.
“My name is Loraine,” she said, giving me a nervous smile.
“What’s your classification?” I asked, looking at her from the side.
I was trying to make conversation. But knew I was beginning to sound a bit sophomoric.
“I’m a junior,” she said, finally making positive eye contact.
“I guess you’re also majoring in rehabilitation,” as I sipped from my Coke.
“Yes. I saw you in my class today and figured that was your major also,” acting very confident.
“What dorm do you live in?” I asked.
“Ten South,” she said, with no hesitation.
“What do you plan to do with your degree when you get it?”
“I plan to work for the state,” she said, sure of what she wanted to do.
“What about you?” she asked, with much curiosity in her voice.
“I’m not sure yet.”
I had known her for only one day, but thought I would like to get to know her better.
She was blonde, with blue eyes, about five-six, and 120 lbs. She kept herself very neat from what I could tell from my few hours of knowing her. I thought I would make a play for her. But I didn’t want to make my play too soon. I didn’t want to rush into things.
“Can I call on you sometimes?” as I sat my drink on the coffee table.
“That wouldn’t be a good idea. I have a boyfriend in Houston that I’m in love with,” she seemed very serious, “I don’t date anyone here at college, only my boyfriend in Houston.”
“I can understand,” I said, but still felt dejected.
She saw how bad I felt and said, “We can be friends, but nothing serious, just platonic.”
Near the end of the term I quit seeing her in class. Before the end of the term another friend in the class told me she had a nervous breakdown, and had left the campus and gone back to Houston. I didn’t know what had happened to her. I just knew I hadn’t seen her. I guess there was pressure on other people besides me. This friend also said she was supposedly in love and saving herself for her boyfriend, but found out he was occupying himself with several other girls while she was in school. A friend from Houston had told her what was going on with him when she went home one weekend. In fact, after dating her for a number of years, he told her he just wanted to be friends. He told her this after she confronted him.
I didn’t see or hear from her again until after I had graduated, spent two years in the Army, and had come to live in Houston. One cool, sunny, October evening in 1972, I was roaming around at Hermann Zoo, and saw her looking kind of sad and forlorn, standing over at the monkey’s cage observing the monkeys. I was glad to see her. Immediately I went over to her.
“Hey Loraine,” I looked at her smiling.
“Hello Craig,” she opened her arms, put them around me and smiled, giving me a big bear hug.
“Where have you been?” I asked, as if I had missed her a great deal.
“I had a breakdown and left college, I’ve been in Houston since that time,” looking a little depressed as she spoke.
“What caused you to have such a problem?” I asked, as if I hadn’t heard.
“My boyfriend left me for another girl, and I couldn’t take it. I loved him too much,” tears came to her eyes.
I wanted to get off the subject to stop her from crying.
“I graduated and spent two years in the Army,” I stated proudly.
“How long have you been in Houston?” she asked, still wiping tears from her eyes.
“I came back to Houston last month.”
She began to regain her composure.
“Are you working yet?”
“No, I haven’t been able to find a job yet.”
“What about you?”
“I took a job for a while, but have been too depressed to work.”
“I have a few leads,” I said, while trying to keep the conversation moving.