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Early education

Tony Vagneur

It seems like a lot of good packages come in threes. You may recall that a couple of months ago, this column paid tribute to some of Aspen’s ladies of reminiscence. We mentioned the Coe girls – Susan, Nancy and Judy, a trio of earthy beauties who piqued the developing hormones of young men around town, myself included. About a week after that piece ran, my friend Doug, who had lived in the same neighborhood, sent me three pictures from that time of Nancy Coe herself, a dashing young sweetheart with a very shy but beguiling smile. As she got older, I’m sure the smile became less uncertain and more enticing. She was, just as my memory told me, a beautiful girl.After the Coes moved away, our hearts were heavy and it became clear that life without them was going to be a lot less intriguing, our further education most likely limited to that which we gleaned from books. A sad state of affairs, so to speak, until the fateful day when we got hooked up with the Just girls. My good friend and a knockout in her own right, Pamela, introduced me to these young ladies and in an instant the whirlwind of life was cranked up several notches. The three girls, Carla, Joella (Dodi) and Norma, lived just across Hunter Street from the Catholic church in a single-family house. Tall, long-legged and with fine features, they were basically three different shades of blonde and triple the persuasion for any normal young guy in town paying attention. Norma, who always seemed to be called Nomi, was in my class at school and was, for a couple of exciting years, my on-again, off-again girlfriend. It must have been that their mother worked at night, because we seemed to spend a lot of nights playing over at their house. There was one of those dim, single-bulb street lamps hanging over the corner of Main and Hunter (home base for many kick-the-can games), which lit the way to the fascinating world of the Just girls. As we neared the house, the code was revealed, saying, almost unfalteringly, that if the porch light was on, it was OK to stop in. If the light was off, it meant that Mom was home – stay away.Carla and Dodi were older than we were by a couple of years or so, but it was a better-than-good night when all three girls would sit down with one or two of us guys to play a few rounds of spin-the-bottle. There was an interesting, unspoken ethic at play, one that said we all could have fun and explore each other’s sexuality, but in ways that were acceptable to the group. Pairing off was not allowed outside this close-knit interaction of youths with desires on the brink of explosion. It all seemed to work reasonably well and kept things from getting too serious on any level, but there may have been exceptions. It’s easy to conjure up images of kids gone amok, having sex in pantries or behind couches under the shadow of the ever-watchful eye of the Catholic church but in reality we were a bit more innocent than that, probably because we were still a little young. We were learning to engage, physically and mentally, with these girls and others that hung out at their house, learning how to interact with those of the opposite sex. But make no mistake about it, these were, at least in our minds, no mere schoolgirls. They were high-powered women, the likes of which I doubt have been surpassed in Aspen since, and who, of course, will remain in the memories of more than just this writer for the rest of our lives. Aspen, as we all know, is home to more than its fair share of alluring women. The proof of this can be found in a glance around, right or left. Those of us who grew up here have known it all along, and we are forever thankful to the wondrous women who gave us the early education between the sexes that could have happened only within the confines of youth.Tony Vagneur wonders what’s happened to some of his old school friends. Read him here on Saturdays and send comments to ajv@sopris.net


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