I made a promise many years ago. I promised that I’d never forget the Ladies of June 1987. As time spun on, I’ll admit, the memory faded. It all came crashing back to me this morning. I’m not sure why, but it did – fully, in brilliant Technicolor. It’s time this story was told.
Ladies of June 1987. This is your story.
There was a junkyard right by my house. One-hundred percent authentic, complete with a rusty chain-link fence and slavering, barking dog-beasts. You’d have to walk “the path” to get to it. The path was this “wooded area” beyond the dead end of the street I lived on. Our parents were not too keen about us exploring the path, but you can’t stop little boys from being little boys. I don’t think our parents would imagine, in one-thousand years, we’d climb the mighty pile of dirt that stood between woods and junkyard. The barking of the dog-beasts that sounded when you walked to close should have been deterrent enough. It was not. Curiosity and dreams of adventure became too much. When we did climb that small mountain, it was like we looked upon Mecca. Before us lay a field of old cars, half-buried in weeds and tall grass, rusting into near nonexistence. There were a couple dilapidated buildings, too – completely caving in on themselves. And strewn everywhere was junk. Twisted bits of metal, old appliances, and rotting tires. The sight was terrifying but ridiculously cool at the same time.
I’m not sure who was first to crawl under the fence. My guess is it was Brent Franklin. He was pretty damn fearless. The rest of us, Adam, Eric, and I were quick to follow. I was filled with a mixture of trepidation, exhilaration, and that feeling that can only be described as the “I’m gonna poop my pants” feeling. Paramount on my mind was the slavering, red-eyed dog-beasts. The fury hulks were nowhere to be seen – probably feasting on some trespasser at the other end of the junkfield. We spent some time digging through bits of broken TVs, stereos, and bicycles. There were records and old newspapers. Then the discovering that would change all our lives was made. A June 1987 Playboy magazine was lying atop a pile of random magazines. I had only spied this tome of sin from afar. I had never gotten close enough to touch one. Yet, there it was. Fate had left it there for us to find. A scantily clad vixen was on the cover begging us, in all our pre-pubescence, to look within, to take in an eyeful. Open it we did. We went page by page with scientific deliberateness. We skipped past all the articles, of course. It was pure naked-lady magnificence. It was liberation. My parents weren’t there saying “don’t look.” I didn’t have to spy breasts through the cracks of hands covering eyes.
For a while, if I recall correctly, there was a time-share involved with the magazine. Eventually, we reached the consensus that it was just not safe to hide it at home. So, we found a hole in the woods and did what any self-respecting kid will do with their treasure. We buried it. The plan worked well. Our girls were hidden from “those that didn’t understand” and always available for a peek.
Until it rained.
We should’ve seen it coming. I mean, we hid the damn thing in a marsh. A high water table and a summer rain ended up being certain death for the Ladies of June 1987. We found the magazine the next day. Snug in its muddy tomb. All the pages were stuck together. The pictures had become translucent, multi-boobed collages of soggy, soil-ridden paper.
I think Brent started crying.
There was a moment of silence for the magazine. I wished that I had the emotional fortitude to say some kind words. I was speechless in my grief. Heads hung long, we strode out of the woods. Vowing to never forget.