Riptide by
(90 Stories)

Prompted By Dating

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My most memorable date was my first date with Garth (see Found), but my second most memorable date was my very first date ever. It was the first time I was allowed to go out with a boy, in a car, at night. His name was Rusty, and yes, he had red hair. He picked me up in his parents’ car, a long, yellow convertible, and of course he opened and closed the car door for me. As he pulled slowly away from the curb in front of the pink house I grew up in, it hit me…a wave of freedom. 


RetroFlash – 100 Words


Here’s my actual diary entry:

Dear Diary, recently I have started dating, and it’s just wonderful, even better than I thought it would be. Even going out with a male friend is fun. I know that I will have many more dates, because there are so many more boys and so many more days, and things don’t all of a sudden just stop. 

New Rule: You can add as many words as you want to a RetroFlash as an addendum. Just kidding…I made that up. But I couldn’t resist when I found that diary entry. Deep thoughts, right? Little did I know I would continue to date off and on up into my sixties…so many boys, and so many days indeed!

Profile photo of Barbara Buckles Barbara Buckles
Artist, writer, storyteller, spy. Okay, not a spy…I was just going for the rhythm.

I call myself “an inveterate dabbler.” (And my husband calls me “an invertebrate babbler.”) I just love to create one way or another. My latest passion is telling true stories live, on stage. Because it scares the hell out of me.

As a memoirist, I focus on the undercurrents. Drawing from memory, diaries, notes, letters and photographs, I never ever lie, but I do claim creative license when fleshing out actual events in order to enhance the literary quality, i.e., what I might have been wearing, what might have been on the table, what season it might have been. By virtue of its genre, memoir also adds a patina of introspection and insight that most probably did not exist in real time.

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Characterizations: funny, right on!, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Love seeing your actual diary entry, Barb. Good addendum. Rules are meant to be broken, if they add value and don’t hurt anyone.

    As for the actual Flash…your last phrase says it all – your “wave of freedom” is what the beginning of dating represented to many (all) of us! But glad you found and finally settled with Garth. He’s the ONE!

    • Thanks, Betsy! There’s a little wordplay (if that’s what it’s called) at work between that “wave of freedom” and my title, “Riptide,” as in maybe too much freedom at that age is a dangerous thing. But I’m glad I found Garth, too…he IS indeed the one!

  2. Marian says:

    This is so cool, Barb. I’m really glad you added the diary entry because it’s so full of life and optimism. You were (and are) open to many opportunities, including dating as a teen. Love the photo of that car as well. Makes me a bit sad that I missed out entirely on the high school dating experience, but I, too, dated a lot later to make up for it.

  3. Great RefroFlash Bebe, but what really floors me is that YOU STILL HAVE THAT DIARY!
    You Retro writers are amazing! Why, oh why am I such a thrower-outer!

  4. Suzy says:

    Love this RetroFlash, Barb, as well as the addendum. And of course you made up the new rule – you were the one who made up RetroFlash in the first place! Wonderful diary entry! How old were you when you wrote that?

  5. Khati Hendry says:

    Also loved the photo. I never thought of dating as freedom before, but having a relationship outside of the family—with wheels to boot—certainly opens doors, as you capture so well in the retro flash. And your diary entry is perfect. You are a memoirist par excellence!

  6. Laurie Levy says:

    I can’t believe you have your diary from when you were 14. On further reflection, of course you do. So interesting to see yourself at the start of dating, such an optimist. I found an old diary from about that age, read it, and tossed it for fear one of my kids would find it when I’m gone and discover that all I thought about was a crush I had on a boy who never asked me out. Mine felt pathetic, unlike yours. BTW, Love your new rules.

  7. John Shutkin says:

    Great RetroFlash, Barb. For all the talk about the restricive “rules,” as you note, dating still was a new manner of freedom.

    And I’m glad your latest RetroFlash “rule” has obviously been accepted by acclimation. Seeing the actual diary entry was absolutely worth it!

  8. Dave Ventre says:

    Very sweet. I love your enthusiasm and confidence in the future. I occasionally regret not having kept diaries to remind me of things I now can’t (or only dimly) remember, but I was always terrified that someone would find them.

  9. Freedom! And power. No more dependence on parents and their priorities. You prompted me to try recalling — was dating freedom for male me? I think it was more of an assertion of power, but then there was the riptide of anxiety as well.

  10. Susan Bennet says:

    Barbara, great story and relatable to most if not all of us, I’m sure. (I tried the diary thing but was too afraid it would be purloined by a “spy” in the house.)
    As for high school dating, I couldn’t imagine why girls wanted to get involved with all that. Once college began, however, wow was it thrilling!

    • Thanks, Susan…I was chomping at the bit to date but in, ahem, retrospect, wish I’d waited a little longer. Way too much focus on the opposite sex when I should have been focused on my studies, but oh well, here I am.

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