"I see you two have the same interests," the cashier commented.
"Yes, we're hockey fans," Mary Beth camouflaged our true intent, as we suppressed giggles. Mary's mother flagged us down, and we successfully steered her toward a sale at Montgomery Wards. We settled down on a bench in the courtyard and got down to business. I flipped through the book like gold threads were woven in the pages.
Mary tapped me on the shoulder. "Aaah, you might wanna look at the first page."
The first paragraph described the hero's fond memory of his girlfriend's nickname for his penis. We giggled so loudly they could probably hear us all the way down the mall, in St. Anne’s Shop and Florsheim Shoes. We were surely going straight to hell. Within a few weeks, selected pages had fallen out of the binding from being read and pawed at countless times. So, our first real sexual fantasies were actually imagined, they weren't shown to us in full Technicolor on some laptop screen or VCR. We had to search for something dirty, which made it that much sweeter when we found it.
While surfing the net a few weeks ago, I happened across a list of used bookstores, so just for the hell of it, I typed in the title. After fifteen minutes of searching, I finally tracked down a hardcover copy at a bookseller in New Brunswick, Canada. I ordered it, and had a fun time rereading it, chortling at the descriptions of the hippie band and their manager and the use of words like groovy, far out and outtasight. Yes, people really talked like that. And then there was the evil sportswriter (the media was blamed for everything even back then), whose article was partially responsible for getting the hippie chick so upset she crashed her Fiat. Looking through it now, it seems so tame in comparison to -ooh, just about everything a 13-year old encounters in 2011. There were only three - maybe four - sex scenes in the 250 page novel, including the penis reference on page 1. And they were read over and over again, since copious amounts of dirty material was unavailable to young teens in the early 1970s. Considering the machinations we had to go through to find this one book - and get it underneath our pillows without our parents finding out, another reconnaissance mission was out of the question. It's amazing - 35 years later, I remember the passages verbatim. (Too bad I couldn't recite my seventh grade history book the same way.)
Winter Comes Early was actually a well-written story about star-crossed lovers, with realistic depictions of both the Canadian hockey world and the hippie-dippie rock star world of the time. It is quite the cult book/film in the Great White North, and a restored edition of the 1971 film version has just been released.