Once Upon a Time in the West: a first kiss and a fisticuffs

fisticuffs:  to fight with the fists. 

First Known Use: 1605  ~ This correct definition is from Merriam Webster  and can be found HERE


Once when I was seven we lived in an unincorporated little suburb of Southern California.  Somewhere in the middle between Pomona, Montclair and Chino if I recall correctly. The little two bedroom house on Kadota Street was  surrounded by cows and cattle fence.  Smaller even than our current Farmlet, it was our family’s little bit of heaven on one-quarter acre.

I had a few friends, but being a bit of a Tomboy back then I really rather favored the friendship of a little blond-headed boy named Johnny.  We use to walk the pastures, build forts, climb trees, and play in the hayloft.  We loved to spin tales and then act them out.

Because of our boyish friendship it came as quite a shock, when one day in the hayloft Johnny tried to kiss me!  On the lips!  He leaned in, and I defensively crossed my arms over my chest between us,

and then pushed him away…


He went flying back and over the edge of the hayloft.  Crawling to the edge and looking down, I could see him laying there, on his back, and underneath the cow.  He was looking shocked and shouting up to me he exclaimed,

“Well, what’d ya do that for?”

I told him,  “Kissing was for grown-ups”, then climbed down the ladder and ran for home.

Over the next few weeks I avoided Johnny at school.  So it was a complete surprise to find him waiting for me on my way home one day.  He was angry and trying to pick a fight!  I wasn’t having any of that, so I crossed the street and tried to walk on by, but he caught up to me, grabbed my arm,  and hit me!

Of course I got really mad and lit into him, punching him right back, until he cried and ran off for home.  When I got home I said nothing to my parents, because I didn’t want to get in trouble for fighting.

Later that day, his dad came to the door with him in tow.  His dad wanted to speak to my dad.  The conversation went something like this as I recall,

J’s dad:  Your son beat up my son and gave him this black eye!

My dad:  I don’t see how that is possible…  (he was cut off)

J’s dad:  You’re calling my son a liar?

My dad:  I have two son’s.  On is two, and the other is in a cast over there in the living room, and he can’t even walk!

J’s dad to J:  You told me he beat you up?  What’s going on!

J:  No daddy, not him, her!

J’s dad:  You let a GIRL do this to you?  (smack)  Get along home!

Poor Johnny!


Johnny and I never were friendly after that day in the hayloft, and he never tried to fight me again either.  😉

Of note, a favorite song of mine from about that time was Perry Como’s Catch a Falling Star.  I used to sing the refrain all the time, because it was catchy and I liked the idea. 

“Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket, save it for a rainy day…”

However, the whole song has a line in there that may have given Johnny the wrong idea?  Who can say?  😀

40 thoughts on “Once Upon a Time in the West: a first kiss and a fisticuffs

  1. dianasschwenk says:

    haha I have a similar story. Only it was Randy in the 6th grade and I was in the 4th grade. He tried to choke me with my scarf, I got scared, then angry and then I pummeled him! His Dad also cuffed him in the head when he came to our house and saw me.

    • Lynda says:

      Kate, I honestly, after all these years, do not remember! LOL! However, knowing my dad he probably congratulated me for not letting him get the best of me. 😉

    • Lynda says:

      Joan, it is a clasic, is it not? Funny you mention it, but since posting it has become a main theme in the back of my brain too… Guess I was saving this memory for a rainy day! (it is raining today)

    • Lynda says:

      Tom, there is worse than pitching the poor fellow over the edge of the hayloft? Hm, now you have me wondering what happened to you on your first kiss! 😉

  2. LB says:

    What a story! (and here I was put in the corner in kindergarten for kissing a boy on the cheek …circa 1965). II was almost able to visualize Tommy lying there underneath the cow 🙂 Tiimes were different then and I’m sure both A and B were correct.

    • Lynda says:

      Laurie, yes! It was so different then. You know, I can still see him laying there in the straw while the cow just stood there chewing…

      They had zero tolerance even back then? I’m guessing at that age you were pretty upset by the punishment.

  3. shoreacres says:

    Oh, Perry Como. My goodness. When my dad bought our first stereo, that was one of the first albums we bought after we got tired of listening to the demonstration album, which had such delights as a ping-pong game. Kids today just don’t have a clue…

    My favorite Como song was “Round and Round” – the first track here.

    I’ve been sitting here trying to remember my first kiss – and I can’t! Whoever it was, I guess he didn’t impress me too much. On the other hand, I remember my first boyfriend. His name was Tim, and we were in 4th grade, and he died in a swimming accident over the summer. Traumatic, for sure. But I’ve still got the little heart box he gave me for Valentine’s Day that year. 😉

    I’m no fan of violence, but there’s a place for everything, including an appropriate whack upside the head. The day I landed a punch was the day my self-esteem ticked up a notch. The first thing I did was tell my dad, since he had been warning me for years I didn’t know how to make a fist and would break my thumb the first time I tried to hit someone. I did it right, and didn’t hurt my hand at all.

  4. Steve Schwartzman says:

    You prompted me to look up the origin of fisticuff[s], and I found that it was originally fisty cuff, where fisty was from fist in the same way that misty is from mist; cuff is the cuff that means ‘to hit,’ not the cuff that’s at the end of a sleeve.

    May all your fogs be misty;
    May all your cuffs be fisty.

    • Lynda says:

      Steve, you are one of the very few friends I have who loves language and archaic phrases as I do.

      On misty fogs…
      Did you know that misty fogs that occur in freezing weather become freezing fog, and will produce amazing ice crystals on everything they blanket? I have seen this twice since we moved here. It is gorgeous!

      And thank you for noticing my letter omission in the title. I will just fix that right now. 😉

      • Steve Schwartzman says:

        Funny you should talk about freezing fog, because on the weather forecast here a few days ago I heard about that for the first time. I was hoping the forecast would come true so I could take pictures of the kinds of ice crystals you mentioned, but there wasn’t much fog in my part of town, and what little there might have been didn’t freeze. This has been an unusually cold December for Austin so far, and maybe I’ll still get chances to photograph ice formations other than the frostweed curls I enjoyed photographing three days ago.

  5. chatou11 says:

    Oh Lynda I just have tears in my eyes.. when I was in England in the sixties, I was listening Perry Como on my small radio and I loved thas song so much. You imagine how happy I am to hear it on your blog. It reminds me so much things! thanks Lynda

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