The girl with the slippery tattoo | ParkRecord.com

Back to: Columns

The girl with the slippery tattoo

Core Samples

Although, quantitatively, you could have measured Virginia Castro’s interest in me during our initial contact in parts-per-billion (ppb), it would drop off dramatically by our subsequent encounter. Actually, it proved to be a non-encounter. She saw to that. But I’m getting way ahead of myself.

I always thought they should have affixed a plaque somewhere near the pool in the Compton College Aquatic Center as geographic testimony to where we first laid eyes upon each other. You know, embedded right there in the concrete like they did for Mario Savio on the Sproul Hall steps up at Berkeley.

It might have read something like: “Near this spot, following a water polo match during the fall semester of 1965, a stunning freshman co-ed paused to yawn in reaction to the moment her eyes and those of an easily-more-intrigued male student first met.” In retrospect, the modifier “underwhelmed” seems fitting.

As a sports columnist for the school paper, I had scheduled an interview with the team captain and, as the afternoon played out, it became more and more apparent that, probably as an adjunct to her biology studies, so had she. Well, you can just imagine whose line-of-inquiry was found to be the more compelling.

Grabbing for her arm, I was soon left with nothing but her fringed leather jacket in my hands. She had given me the slip and it would be a good half-hour before I relocated her and returned the garment.

The narrative now moves forward to a point-in-time where a carload of us, on the way to a party (go figure!), first swung by my ever so humble digs to pick up some music in its vinyl form prior to checking in with a friend of the driver’s to see if she would also like to attend. Yup, you guessed it!

Well, as it turned out, Virginia Castro, the girl in question, a quick study if there ever was one, upon noticing the vehicle pull up and recognizing my contribution to its obvious gender imbalance, responded by turning out all the lights in the house before hiding in the back bedroom. She probably didn’t come up for air for an hour or two.

Then, a bit later on the ol’ time line, came an Alpha Tau sorority dance where, upon entering and moseying toward the back of the hall, I came under the severe furrowed-brow scrutiny of their security chief. Yup! Virg again! And no way in hell was I going to prop open the back door so that my Beta Phi frat brothers could sneak in without paying.

So, I responded in the only manner I knew how. I pulled out a half-pint of Cutty Sark Scotch Whisky and asked her if she could help me locate an unobtrusive stash spot until after the dance. Whoda thunkit? The furrows disappeared and she escorted me, and the contraband, to an out-of-the-way cloakroom.

Not that she didn’t continue to keep me at arm’s length for an indeterminate swath of time, but her manner became less accusatory. The shunning had ended. Her yawns less frequent. We even attended a few respective sorority-fraternity dances together. Things didn’t get really interesting date-wise, however, until the following summer.

Having switched my major to an improvisational, off-campus countercultural studies program with special attention to chemistry and the west coast of Mexico, additional social opportunities and the accepted, yet bizarre, manner of their entrée began to present themselves.

Certainly, frugality played a role. One of our favorite musical nights on the town involved negotiating the back pathways of the Hollywood Bowl to a point whereby I would give Virgo a boost up and over the locked, yet unmanned, gate. An athletic sort, she soon reached the point where no boost was necessary.

She was a gamer back then, no doubt about it. Once when I flung open some side doors of the Shrine Exhibition Hall from the inside so my friends without portfolio could gain access, Virg blew past me with a semi-crazed “you’ll never take me alive” look in her eyes.

Grabbing for her arm, I was soon left with nothing but her fringed leather jacket in my hands. She had given me the slip and it would be a good half-hour before I relocated her and returned the garment.

Her inherent slipperiness also paid huge dividends outmaneuvering police with tear gas and nightsticks at the Chicano Moratorium on Whittier Boulevard in East LA just before we moved to Park City.

If only she could have given the slip to the massive aneurysm that took her life last week following a gym workout down in Albuquerque. As her many, many friends in California, Utah, New Mexico, Hawaii and elsewhere, could tell you, she was one special and slippery piece of work!

Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social and political scenes for more than 40 years.