When I was 13 years old I played Seven Minutes in Heaven for the very first time.

I was paired up with a girl I will never forget.

Her kiss was memorable.

Seven Minutes in Heaven is a kissing game that turns into a  make-out game.  You hook up with someone from the opposite sex, do the 23 skidoo to a secluded area and kiss…for seven minutes.

On a cool Friday night in September, there was a bunch of us hanging out on the corner of Windsor Place between Howard and Fuller Place.  You know, a chill in the air where you need a light jacket and mother nature is reminding you summer is over.

It was around 9:30.  I’m not sure how the two of us matched-up but before I knew it, we were both walking away slowly from our friends, holding hands, towards Fuller Place. My cousins lived at 29 Fuller, I was hoping they would not see me with her.

We stopped in front of a random house and she made her way up the stoop then down the basement stairs. I watched her walk in front of me. She had white pants on.

As she took a seat on the cold concrete steps I followed behind her and sat across from her.

Out of nowhere, I heard a voice shout, “GO!”


Go where?

Her scent was intoxicating. The only perfume I had ever whiffed was my mom’s. In the past, I’d only been this close to a girl when my sister and I would play King of the Mountain on our bunk beds.

She put her arms around my neck and pulled me close. She gazed at me, removed a piece of gum from her mouth and lunged forward. Our lips locked. Her tongue found her way into my mouth and she moved it around like a snake. My arms stayed by my side.

And yes, my knees were weak.

I opened my eyes. Was I supposed to do that or keep them shut?

It was weird.

Her eyes were closed, she had clearly done this before.

I was clueless.

There was no “google” to learn how to kiss.

No “Kissing for Dummies” book available at the 6th avenue library and you didn’t talk to anyone on “how to kiss a girl.”

After the game, it was clear she had won; She overwhelmed me.

“You’re a good kisser,” she said to me as we walked back to where a few of our friends had gathered.

Most of us stood there in silence. I was speechless.

Walking home on cloud nine I figured my mother was going to yell at me for being so late.

I’m a good kisser I thought to myself. I kept saying it over and over all the way home.

No one had ever told me I was good at anything.

I had a hard time sleeping that night; all I could think of was that girl who I kissed for the very first time; she was the only thing on my mind.

While lying on my back on my bed, somewhere around midnight and staring up at the ceiling, I kept repeating her words…out loud.

“Whad ya say?” my mom asked as he walked by my bed.

“Nothin’.” I answered.

A few nights later we played Seven Minutes in Heaven again.

This time she was paired up with a different kid. After each seven minute segment, I hoped and prayed  I’d get paired with her, but this one night it just wasn’t happening.  I wanted the night to end; I was facing my first feelings of jealousy.

She was beautiful. A lot of guys from the neighborhood liked her.  In school I would see her at recess in the schoolyard standing around with her female friends talking. When I would get sent to the principal’s office, I’d peek through the door of her classroom.

One afternoon playing slap ball in the girls schoolyard, a buddy of mine informed me she “liked me.”

When I heard that my self-esteem went through the roof. I felt like a million dollars.

A few nights later we were hanging out in our usual spot.  Someone in our group shouted:

“Let’s play Seven Minutes.”

I was like, “Damn!”

I watched one couple pair off and head down Fuller and duck behind two parked cars. They quickly disappeared. She looked at me and said,


Turning red in the face and feeling nervous,  I gave a hesitant, “Yeah.”

Once again I was going to spend a few minutes with this pretty girl who was on my mind day and night.

There was no selection process this time. It wasn’t like ‘Spin the Bottle’.

No sir, she looked at me and grabbed my hand.

You would have thought after breaking the ice with her just a few nights ago that I would be ready?

Not a chance.

We walked a few yards down Fuller. I was shaking like a leaf.  Standing in front of the same exact house where we kissed the other night she reached for my hand and led me down the basement stairs.

She moved forward and pressed her lips against mine.

I knew the drill.

Opening my eyes, I was surprised to see hers already open.

Her eyes were gorgeous.

She cracked a smile, then laughed.

This girl was incredible.

She had an intoxicating personality.

She took  spending seven minutes in heaven to a new level.

I felt so good with her. I didn’t want the seven minutes to end.

By the way, who was keeping time?



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19 Responses to THAT GIRL

  1. Glenn Thomas says:

    Geez!!! I can remember all of those years in elementary school at HN and in HS having “crushes” on the girls from the distance. That whole thing of trying to talk to a girl was so foreign and completely out of place for me. In a way I am kind of glad that I didn’t have that extra pressure on me and could do the things that I enjoyed for as I am sure that everyone else can relate to that growing up we already had a lot on our plates with everything else going on. I can remember “spin the bottle” but not those other games!

  2. David Cullen says:

    1977!! What a year. I was 12 years old and getting ready to start the 7th grade at HN. I remember the blackout on 9th avenue and I remember how a solid Portland team (coached by a man whom, I can’t believe, has never received a Coach of the Year award) defeat a solid, but star-studded Philadelphia team in the NBA finals. Walton, in addition to rebounding, top-notch shot-blocking rebounding, passing, etc., was no slouch on offense, averaging more than 18 points per game. He “only” missed 17 games that season, but fortunately he was health enough at the right time. Yes, no slouch on offense, as evidenced when he was in college at UCLA and sank 21 of 22 field goal attempts one game. Despite his “hippie” mannerisms, Coach Wooden considered Walton one of the finest “students” he ever coached, as Walton asked countless questions.

    The 1977 Portland and 1979 Seattle teams were very similar, besides being from the Pac Northwes. Both teams had incredibily balanced scoring attacks. The Seattle team did not have one player average more than 20 points per game, but did have 5 starters who averaged between 13.5 and 19.2 points per game. In addition, they had two men off the bench who averaged more that 11 points per game. The Portland team the same story. 7 players between 10 and 20 points per game. When that happens, the other team does not know who is going to the hoop, since there are several players capable of scoring.

    The most recent team of the 2000s that reminds me of that was the 2004 Detroit team that defeated the LA Lakers in 5 games. Assembled by Rick Carlise and coached by Larry Brown, that Detroit team was solid defense and a balanced offensive attack.

    EXCELLENT POST!!! Hoops Coach

    • hoopscoach says:

      Thanks David,

      How about the following year; the Blazers raced out to a 50-10 record and then you know who got injured!

      What might have been???

      • David Cullen says:

        That’s why Walton received the MVP that season. The ONLY MVP to miss 30% of his team’s games. Walton played 58 of 82 games that season. Simply put, the team was 50-10 with him, 8-14 without him. That’s why he received MVP. Sometimes a player’s value isn’t realized until he’s not around. I remember Portland, although still the top seed in the West, getting knocked out in the playoffs by Seattle. Walton, only 25 years old, looked like a cripple, hobbling up the court with those bad feet. Supposedly the mishandling of players’ injuries by Blazers management had a lot to do with Walton leaving Portland, as well as the fact he became injury-prone after that, which he was even when he was 22 years old early in his career. It was nice to see him muster just enough energy to average 8 points and 7 rebounds a game off the bench for the Celtics 1986 championship team.

  3. David Cullen says:

    Hoops Coach, you could be a romance novel writer with that post. Fun reading.

  4. David Cullen says:

    And I thought “That Girl” was a TV show starring Marlo Thomas. At least kissing game were safer than some some of the stunts teens have pulled, both past and present.

  5. jimmyvac says:

    We played Spin the Bottle alot… I remember once kissing a girl I had a crush on and giving her a foot sanwich later playing knuckles … I’d like to say it hurt me more than it did her but I would be lying.. I was one of the younger kids on the block so I was paying “Spin the Bottle” and “Trust me ” at a young age… Gotta say Windsor Place had some great girls on the block…

  6. Maureen Rice (Flanagan) says:

    oh, have you seen “That Girl” lately?? scary looking- Marlo Thomas is almost unrecognizable…

    • David Cullen says:

      Marlo Thomas, in her early 30s when I was a kid, 40 years ago, is now in her early 70s. I guess being married to Donahue and some cosmetic surgery can only go so far… how about Sally Struthers? Same thing….

  7. Jack Kelly says:

    Good story Coach, I love a good kiss too. I remember my first real kiss as fondly as I remember my last. On our anniversary’s in later years me and Eileen had to kiss in front of the kids. They would clap when we were done. I remeber our last anniversary was spent in a hospital room in MSKCC and as we kissed two nurses were at the door and one said if we didn’t have to hook up the chemo we would’ve dimmed the lights and sent in a bottle of bubbly. I told them when you’re done just dim the lights I have a bottle of bubbly in my over night bag. No matter the situation a good kiss is still…..well,good.

  8. Jack Kelly says:

    You got it right Coach and I knew it from the start but the best part is everyone who met her knew it also.

  9. Joe Costantino says:

    Steve, you really have a gift for writing. I enjoy reading your blogs.

  10. jimmyvac says:

    As street smart as we were, there was still some innocence back then.Jack,
    had a nice chat with you dad last week…
    Cullen, I can’t agree more .. Portland may have been the best passing team I ever saw.. Walton missed alot of games, but for waht he did play that championship season and the following season until he was hurt, he did it all better than any ccnter I saw… He was the best backup center ever during the 1985-86 season with the Celtics, which was one of the best teams ever.

  11. Jack Kelly says:

    Jimmy, Yes my dad told me he talked to you the other day. He said you probably don’t know me that well because you had nice things to say about me. I told my father sarcastically if he only had nice things to say then he must have me confused with another Jack. My father said yep that must be the case. Life in the Kelly Clan is a blast!

  12. jimmyvac says:

    I think Walton was so mad at the Portland doctors for misdiagnosing him , he wanted to bolt.He probably missed more than half his games during his career. Jack, I think your dad wants to adopt my sister.. not me of course..

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