Fleetwood Mac and my summer of love

I can’t remember how I met her. I think it was possibly on the boardwalk, or in the arcades at Weirs Beach. I do remember my buddy Brad and I hitching part way around Lake Winnnepesaukee so I could be with her. It was the summer of ’76 on the lake, and my first summer love, and I’d just turned 15. I was raging hormones and sweet tenderness and she was Vicki, beautiful, smart, from Detroit and spending the summer at her family’s cabin in Meredith, New Hampshire, a 20 minute drive from where I lived.

That summer now punctuates many wonderful memories. What could be better than summer in New England’s Lakes Region learning about love, kissing, passionate caresses and long, lazy days on the lake?

The first time Brad and I hitched out to Vicki’s cabin — we hadn’t even kissed yet. The cabin was settled into the woods beside the lake, with a boat house, a pier, a detached garage with a room above, and parents that allowed their teenage daughter to entertain two male friends and her girlfriend in that room. It was all pretty innocent. The parent’s trust in their daughter was not undue.

We played some records, or was it only one? I remember just one. Fleetwood Mac’s second eponymous album, Fleetwood Mac, released just the year before. I’d never heard of the band, or the album, had never heard the music. But, for a while, I couldn’t feel Vicki’s presence beside me. Didn’t notice whether she was looking at me, or not. Wasn’t trying to arrange myself so that touch was inevitably natural. My enthrallment shifted from beguiling girl to the enchanting spell being cast by Stevie Nicks, Lyndsay Buckingham and the rest of Fleetwood Mac.

A little later, after the album played through, and my attentions returned to more earthly and present enchantments, Brad and the girlfriend made themselves scarce and we did have that thrilling first kiss. The moment seemed perfect.

On the way home Brad and I stopped in at K-Mart where I snatched up the album. That night, I had music, sweet music, to accompany memories of the sweet moments of the day.

She rings like a bell through the night
And wouldn’t you love to love her?


Dreams unwind
Love’s a state of mind

2 Responses to “Fleetwood Mac and my summer of love”

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  1. Gary says:

    Bravo, Patrick! A very sweet story, beautifully written. Reading it, I could imagine the scenes. The place names you mentioned and the references to summer days, lakes and cabin evoked strong visual images in my mind. I straightaway thought of movies such as On Golden Pond and Burnt by the Sun, two films featuring scenes of idyllic summers awash in golden tones. It also reminded me of a movie by the French director, Eric Rohmer (who died recently) called A Summer’s Tale.

    As for Stevie and the Mac, that’s the true beauty of music, isn’t it? Songs and albums provide a soundtrack to our lives and have the power to remind us in quite vivid details of events and people long in our past.

    That song, Rhiannon, inspired many mums to name their daughters by the same name, so there are quite a few 35 – 37 year old Rhiannons running around the world these days.

    Thanks for sharing. Perhaps I’ll also write a post of my first true love one of these days.

  2. Patrick says:

    Thanks, Gary. It was a pleasure to tell that tale…the best way, I think, to relive a cherished moment.

    Interestingly, On Golden Pond was filmed nearby, on lake Winnisquam, summer of 1980. Just 20 minutes from my home. One day Kate came into the fruit and vegetable stand at which I was working. A good mate of mine helped her pick out some cantaloupe (is that what you lot call it?). When she left, we all rushed up to him: “Jimmy, that was wicked!” He didn’t know what we were talking about… “Who’s Katherine Hepburn?” Some brushes with fame are completely wasted on the ignorant.

    And, yeah, that’s one beauty of music. The other? How music inspires us, touches us, guides and even heals us.

    Rhiannon…I love that name.

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