We were actually having fun together. I mean real "not-so-serious-dating" fun. There was never any pressure when we got together. We hit the clubs in South Jersey, the diners in the Northeast and the mall in Willow Grove. Denise and I didn't argue or disagree on ...anything! Why couldn't I just sack up and say," Let's just date each other"?
BR (before radio) dating was a difficult mission. Not having: 1) looks 2) money 3) nice car didn't help the "hook up" picture. Radio erased those negatives! Women who wouldn't urinate on me to put out the flames were making themselves available to go out for dinner. One particular event really cranked up the dating quotient. I had the opportunity to interview David Bowie on TV when he came to Philly to promote his tour. The interview (barely 60 seconds) was then turned into a 30 minute special that aired one night at 9pm. I didn't realize how many single women saw the broadcast. But I started to fall in love with Denise at the same time (OY!).
Many of our "dates" were lunches at a salad restaurant in center city Philadelphia called Salad Alley. I would drive into town and meet Denise at her office in the beautiful Warwick Hotel, then we'd walk a few blocks. That day she was dressed in white. I'm talking WHITE! She was wearing a white blouse and white skirt. Now THAT'S confidence. A sloppy schmuck like me would never have the guts to eat in a white suit. I wonder how Colonel Saunders did it?
On the way to our lunch, we noticed the streets started to fill up with people....lots of people. It turns out the city decided to have a mini parade to honor the retirement of basketball legend Julius Erving of the 76'ers. Some lug nut scheduled the DR J. parade at noon on a weekday. Well that was the invitation kids needed to cut school to see this NBA legend. So as thousands of teenagers descended on center city, it became more difficult to walk. Luckily, Denise and I made it into Salad Alley for lunch. Unfortunately, getting back to Denise's office would be a challenge.
We were able to see Julius Erving atop a convertible as we finished lunch from the safety of the restaurant. We finished up and started to walk back to the Warwick when we heard a huge crash of glass. It appeared that all the kids at the parade now had nothing better to do than.....LOOT! Somebody smashed the window of a jewelry store about 20 feet from us. The sound of all that glass hitting the sidewalk is frightening...the sound of more glass breaking is freakin' scary. The crowd turned into serial looters and began "smashin and grabbin" anything they could carry with their filthy hands. Denise, dressed in a beautiful white business suit looked at me with a terrified look.
As looters and thugs ran in all directions, I noticed an alleyway between two buildings. I pushed Denise towards the alley, forced her into a doorway and put my body between her and the crowd. We weren't alone. A Philadelphia cop also sought shelter from the crowd and dived in for cover.
Philadelphia Police were eventually able to assemble and take on the crowd. Denise and I made it back to her office from a lunch we still remember to this day. You think something like that would bring two people closer together? I felt necessary to protect her from the riot....but I just couldn't push myself closer to her. Besides, I had to get home for a date with legal secretary name Lori who also saw the David Bowie special. What's up with that?