NARRATOR: Ever since I could remember, the Coopers' annual barbecue had been the first event of summer. It was a neighborhood tradition, the herald of good times. Japanese lanterns glowed in the dusk.
[A scene of KEVIN's NORMA and JACK, and then of KEVIN, PAUL, and WINNIE playing ping-pong.]
NARRATOR: And warm breezes carried the smell of burgers sizzling on the grill, and the sounds of kids having the time of their lives.
[A scene of WINNIE's brother, BRIAN Cooper. WINNIE runs up from behind him and jumps on his back, and he spins her around. Then a scene of KEVIN, PAUL, and WINNIE mugging for the video camera.]
NARRATOR: But maybe the best thing about it was that it happened the first week of summer vacation, one day after...
[A bell rings.]
NARRATOR: ...the last day of school.
[KEVIN walks down the hall, which is filled with the mayhem of students on their last day of school.]
NARRATOR: It was kind of a solemn moment. Eight months of relentless education were finally erupting in a blast of summer madness.
KEVIN: [calling out] Winnie!
[WINNIE, standing by her locker and holding her school yearbook, looks up at KEVIN.]
KEVIN: [walks over to her, smiling excitedly] Is this great or what?
[WINNIE looks crestfallen.]
KEVIN: [suddenly a little concerned] What's the matter?
WINNIE: Well, I think I'm gonna ... kinda miss it.
[KEVIN looks relieved, and gazes at her happily.]
NARRATOR: Leave it to Winnie Cooper to get all sentimental about things. You had to love her.
[KEVIN realizes he's staring at her and snaps out of it.]
NARRATOR: Figuratively speaking of course.
KEVIN: So, um, sign my yearbook? [hands his yearbook to WINNIE]
KEVIN: [waits for WINNIE to ask him back, then gives up] And, maybe I could sign yours?
WINNIE: [hands her yearbook to KEVIN] Give it back to me fourth period. Gotta go. [smiles demurely at him as she walks away]
[KEVIN watches her go, smiling.]
NARRATOR: Yep, you could feel it in the air. Hope, potential, ...
[WINNIE pauses on the staircase and looks back over her shoulder at KEVIN before continuing on her way.]
NARRATOR: ... who knew what the summer breeze might bring?
[The opening strains of "Winnie's Theme" play, then trail off as a GIRL walks up to KEVIN. She is wearing full orthodontic headgear.]
GIRL: Sign my yearbook?
KEVIN: Uh ... sure. [takes her yearbook]
GIRL: We really had a great year, don't you think?
KEVIN: [gives her a sideways glance, and nods] Yeah.
NARRATOR: There was one minor problem here. I didn't have the slightest idea who this girl was.
[KEVIN looks at her again, but gets nothing.]
NARRATOR: I had to think fast. [as KEVIN writes] "Have ... a ... neat ... summer." OK, it was cheap. But it did have a certain flair.
[KEVIN hands the yearbook back. The GIRL reads it, looks at him and smiles, then walks away. KEVIN turns and walks down the hall, past some rowdy kids. He looks toward a closed classroom door as a wet sponge hits the glass portion. An older woman's face appears in the window, and she frowns.]
CUTLIP: Men! We've worked together, we've played together. I'd like to think we've learned together. It hasn't been easy ...
PAUL: [muttering to KEVIN] This is gonna be a long one.
CUTLIP: ... I've had to push ... I've had to yell. Sometimes I've had to double-knot my hard shoes and kick you square in the fanny! [chuckles] But it's been worth it. Thirty-eight weeks ago you arrived here a rag-tag bunch of softies. Now you're leaving a hard-boiled cadre of young athletes. That's something to be proud of. This summer, when you're ... [jerks his head sideways] ... out there, think back on the guy who made it all possible. Ed Cutlip. Human being, a man, an educator. Sure, maybe he didn't have a Master's degree. But he was fair ... [starts to get choked up]
KEVIN: [to PAUL, in disbelief] What's he doing?
[CUTLIP covers his eyes and starts crying. He turns away from the class.]
NARRATOR: Oh my God. Was it possible? Cutlip was falling apart before our very eyes. It was horrible. Like watching a bug die on a window sill. Someone had to stop this.
[A loud, vomiting noise is heard. The class all backs away from a student at one end of the group.]
NARRATOR: And someone did. Joey Putnam. It was his last act of seventh grade but it was his finest.
CUTLIP: [blows his whistle] Wynan. Get a mop.
[One student leaves the group.]
CUTLIP: The rest of you sixty laps. That's six-oh, and no shirking. Let's go. Let's go! [claps his hands five times]
MISS WHITE: " ... so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." [closes the book, and looks at the class]
NARRATOR: Let's face it, no one could press pages quite like Miss White.
[MISS WHITE tilts her head to the side, sighs, and smiles. KEVINglances down at the book on his desk.]
MISS WHITE: Did you feel the sensual power of Fitzgerald's imagery?
[KEVIN quickly looks back up at MISS WHITE, smiling broadly and nodding his head.]
NARRATOR: Yes ... yes!
[MISS WHITE tilts her head to the side, sighs, and smiles.]
[KEVIN smiles broadly.]
NARRATOR: OK, so maybe she was a little old for me ... this year.
MISS WHITE: [walks to the front of the room] Now, before the bell rings ...
NARRATOR: But, heck, just the other day I ... I coulda sworn I felt a whisker coming in.
[KEVIN strokes his chin.]
MISS WHITE: ... I have an announcement to make.
NARRATOR: So, maybe, just maybe, next year--
MISS WHITE: I'm in love with Kevin Arnold.
[KEVIN looks up and music begins to play.]
MISS WHITE: [swooning] And I don't care who knows it. Oh, Kevin!
KEVIN: [stands, and cries out] Miss White!
[Music abruptly ends, along with KEVIN's daydream. MISS WHITE is still standing before the class, as if nothing has happened.]
MISS WHITE: Yes, Kevin?
KEVIN: [abashed] Um ... [slowly sits back down] ... what did you say?
MISS WHITE: I said, I'm getting married this summer. [walks around her desk to the chalkboard] And when I come back next year, you'll all be calling me ... [speaks as she writes the name on the board] ... Mrs. ... Heimer.
[KEVIN contorts his face.]
NARRATOR: Heimer? Heimer?! What kinda name was that for Miss White?
[KEVIN looks up, and MISS WHITE appears in a drab brown suit, with short black hair and wearing glasses.]
MISS WHITE: Class? Can you say "Heimer"?
CLASS: [in unison] Heimer.
[MISS WHITE is shown again, still in the drab outfit. KEVIN buries his face in his hands.]
NARRATOR: Oh, well. Maybe part of loving is learning to let go.
NARRATOR: Four more hours, one lunch period, and a few arias were all that stood between me, Paul, and summer. I wasn't gonna let anything ruin that.
KEVIN: [turns to PAUL] Got your bike ready?
PAUL: [trying to balance a pencil on his upper lip] Huh?
KEVIN: OK, so tomorrow morning we have to get my tent out of the garage.
NARRATOR: Yep, I could feel it now. The wind in our faces, the open road ahead, our knapsacks on our backs.
KEVIN: [excited] I can hardly wait! Can you?
PAUL: [puts down the pencil, pauses solemnly, then turns to KEVIN] We gotta talk.
NARRATOR: Uh-oh. In the history of mankind, no good has ever come from those four words.
KEVIN: [irritated] What do you mean you're going away?! How come you never said anything?
PAUL: Well, the Schwartzes kept changing their minds.
KEVIN: The who?
PAUL: The people we're sharing the cabin with. And, look, it's not that bad. We'll only be there until Labor Day.
KEVIN: Paul, that's the whole summer.
[KEVIN and PAUL stop walking as they arrive at their lockers.]
PAUL: No, you see, not technically. The summer officially goes until September twenty-first.
PAUL: OK, the whole summer. Anyway, I'm gonna have a lousy time.
KEVIN: Oh, yeah? Where you going?
PAUL: Lake ****.
Transcriber's note: Does anyone with sharper hearing, a better copy of the tape, or inside information know the name of the lake?
KEVIN: Oh, so basically you'll be swimming, fishing, sailing, and water-skiing.
PAUL: I guess.
KEVIN: Paul, why don't you just admit that you're gonna have a great time.
[PAUL looks down, as if unsure of what to say.]
NARRATOR: I was asking for the impossible. I'd have to try another tack.
KEVIN: OK, tell me one thing that's gonna make it lousy.
[PAUL pauses, thinking.]
NARRATOR: I had him on the ropes.
PAUL: [suddenly enlightened] Mosquitoes!
PAUL: Yeah, are you kidding? With all that standing water? Do you have any idea how many diseases are transmitted by mosquitoes?
NARRATOR: The man was a master.
KEVIN: [deflated] Well, at least we'll have the barbecue tomorrow night.
PAUL: Yeah, sure. Except I'm leaving tomorrow afternoon.
KEVIN: Well how 'bout tonight then.
PAUL: [sighs] I gotta pack.
[KEVIN looks annoyed.]
NARRATOR: I was mad. Mad at Paul, how could he do this to me? He was ruining my summer.
[KEVIN looks over and sees WINNIE sitting at another table.]
NARRATOR: Wait a minute, I still had Winnie. Winnie wasn't the type to up and leave you, she wouldn't pull a stunt like that, she was thoughtful. Look at her. Mulling over what to write in my yearbook, carefully choosing her words.
[KEVIN smiles. WINNIE appears to be deep in thought.]
NARRATOR: Wait a second, this was serious mulling. Sure, we'd had our ups and downs, our missteps. ...
[WINNIE begins writing.]
NARRATOR: ... But we were older, wiser. It was time to let her know how I felt. It was time to make poetry.
[KEVIN picks up a pen and opens up Winnie's yearbook. Some food splats on the table in front of KEVIN, and he glares at it.]
NARRATOR: No matter what the obstacles.
[KEVIN begins writing. Part of what he writes is shown: "Winnie, Well it's been a great year hasn't it? I can hardly believe we made it through. I guess next year we won't have to be the little kids anymore. But hey! We had a pretty good year, right? Hope we're in more classes together next year . . . . . . . December when Mrs. Lambert's wig ..."]
Transcriber's note: A few more words are shown, but I couldn't make them out. Also, I'm not positive about the name "Mrs. Lambert."
[KEVIN finishes writing and looks up.]
NARRATOR: There. I had filled an entire page with phrases like "never change," "always stay the same," and "good luck." Still something was missing. It needed something more. Something ...
[KEVIN writes again: "I LOVE YOU. Kevin." A few bars of "Winnie's Theme" play.]
NARRATOR: OK, it was a bold and reckless move, but I was a bold and reckless guy, and these were bold and reckless times.
[KEVIN picks up the yearbook and walks over to the table where WINNIE is sitting.]
KEVIN: I'm finished. I tried not to hog up too much space. [sets WINNIE's yearbook on the table]
WINNIE: Me, too. Here's yours. [hands KEVIN his yearbook] Well, I'll see you later.
KEVIN: [smiling] Yeah, see you later.
[WINNIE picks up her yearbook and lunch tray, and walks away. KEVIN watches her go, then walks quickly back to the table where he had been sitting. He sits down and quickly leafs through the pages of his yearbook.]
NARRATOR: I couldn't wait another second. To read all those wonderful things Winnie had been too embarrassed to say in person. All those secret passions, and yearnings she'd kept bottled up inside for the past year.
[KEVIN stops turning pages and looks stunned. The page is shown: "Have a neat summer! Winnie."]
NARRATOR: "Have a neat summer"?
[KEVIN, looking puzzled, flips through the pages again.]
[A bell rings.]
NARRATOR: I hadn't even left school grounds, and already my summer vacation was a bust.
NORMA: [standing behind KEVIN, near the sink] Hey, Kevin, it's starting to clear up. Don't you wanna get dressed and do something?
[KEVIN raises his eyebrows, but doesn't turn around.]
NARRATOR: It wasn't fair. I was doing something. I was hiding out.
NORMA: Well the barbecue tonight'll cheer you up.
KEVIN: I don't think I'm gonna go.
NORMA: What? Why?
KEVIN: I just don't feel like it.
NARRATOR: Wild horses couldn't drag me to that party, not after I'd made a total fool of myself all over Winnie Cooper's yearbook.
KEVIN: I just wanna stay home, OK?
NORMA: No, I think you should go.
KEVIN: [a little annoyed] Mom.
NORMA: [walks over to him] Honey, they're expecting us. It really means a lot to them. Especially this year.
KEVIN: [looking up at her] Mom!
NORMA: Kevin, you're gonna go, that's all there is to it. OK? [ruffles his hair, and walks back to the sink]
NARRATOR: Great, first my best friend walks out on me, now I have to die of embarrassment in front of thousands of party-goers. I couldn't take it.
[WAYNE walks into the kitchen behind KEVIN, and opens the refrigerator.]
KEVIN: [whining] Why can't we go on vacation?
NORMA: Maybe next summer.
KEVIN: Well it's not fair. I have nothing to do.
JACK: [walks into the kitchen behind KEVIN] What was that?
KEVIN: [stammering] Ah ...
WAYNE: I'm not exactly sure, but I believe he said, "I have nothing to do."
JACK: Nothing to do? [walks up behind KEVIN]
[KEVIN looks up at JACK.]
JACK: All right, start in the corner, you clean out the junk, then you work your way to the center. Then you sweep it out, and hose it down.
NARRATOR: [sarcastically] That's all?
JACK: After that ... [hands KEVIN the broom] ... we'll see about the attic. [walks away]
[KEVIN rests his head on the broom handle, dejected.]
NARRATOR: Well, so much for madcap vacation plans.
[KEVIN walks slowly into the garage.]
NARRATOR: I had finally hit bottom.
[Footsteps are heard approaching.]
WINNIE: [off screen] Hi, Kevin.
[WINNIE is shown from KEVIN's viewpoint, through the dirty mask. His breathing reverberates inside the mask.]
KEVIN: [sits up, facing away from her, and slides the mask on top of his head] What are you doing here?
WINNIE: I was just taking a walk. It's a little hectic at my house right now. Do you need any help with this?
KEVIN: [still looking away] No, that's OK. I can handle it. [stands and walks over to her, and speaks in a mocking tone] It's part of my really neat summer.
WINNIE: Oh. [looks down]
NARRATOR: "Oh"?! I'm dying of embarrassment and she gives me "oh"?!
WINNIE: Well maybe we can talk about it tonight, at the party.
KEVIN: Yeah, well I don't think I'm gonna be there.
NARRATOR: Boy, now she was really makin' me mad.
KEVIN: Well? Did you show it to anybody?
WINNIE: Show what?
KEVIN: [exasperated] Well, the yearbook. You know what I wrote?
KEVIN: Yeah, well you can just forget about it, OK? 'Cause I didn't mean a word of it. I mean, you can just rip out the page and throw it in the garbage because--
[WINNIE takes KEVIN by the shoulders and kisses him on the mouth. The kiss is shown in slow-motion. When WINNIE pulls away, KEVIN stares at her, wide-eyed and dumbfounded. WINNIE looks at KEVIN for a moment, then turns and runs away down the driveway. KEVIN stares after her.]
NARRATOR: It was amazing. It was our first kiss since that day last fall in Harper's Woods, the day Winnie's brother Brian died. I'd been waiting to kiss her again all year. And now that it had happened, I felt as confused as ever. There was only one thing I was sure of: I was a man on fire.
[Music begins: "Light My Fire" performed by The Doors.]
[A scene of KEVIN in his robe, with wet hair. He wipes steam off the bathroom mirror and begins combing his hair.]
[A scene of KEVIN in his bedroom, buttoning up his shirt. He buttons the top button, then changes his mind, unbuttons it, and smoothes out the collar.]
[A scene of KEVIN in the bathroom. He opens the mirror cabinet and takes out a bottle of after-shave. He rubs the after-shave lotion between his hands, and then pats it all over his face. He puts the bottle back in the cabinet.]
NARRATOR: Welcome to my summer of love.
NARRATOR: There was the usual crowd of people at the Coopers' that evening. But to me, it was strictly a two-person affair.
[WINNIE is shown. She glances up and sees KEVIN. He smiles and walks over to her. She's holding a tray.]
NARRATOR: What do you say after a kiss?
WINNIE: What's that smell?
WINNIE: It smells like ... [pauses, trying to place the smell] ... a saddle.
KEVIN: [sheepishly] Oh, I ... guess it's my after-shave lotion.
KEVIN: Yeah. Well, I mean, I didn't actually shave, I just, sorta, put it on.
[WINNIE nods slightly.]
KEVIN: I ... I can go wash it off--
WINNIE: Oh, no, that's OK.
KEVIN: So, um, wanna sit down?
MRS. COOPER: [off screen] Winnie!
WINNIE: [handing the tray to KEVIN] Uh, can you take this to my Dad?
KEVIN: Uh, sure.
WINNIE: Thanks. [walks into the house]
NARRATOR: OK, so she was busy, that was understandable. After all, it was her parents' party.
KEVIN: [walks over to MR. COOPER, who is working at the barbecue grill] Hi, Mr. Cooper. [holds the tray out]
[MR. COOPER takes the tray without even acknowledging KEVIN.]
NARRATOR: OK, so everybody was busy. No problem, the evening was young.
[KEVIN turns, and JACK and MR. ERMIN walk up to him.]
JACK: Mr. Ermin would like to talk to you.
NARRATOR: Oh my gosh, Mr. Ermin. The Genghis Khan of lawn care. He had a lawn the size of Wyoming.
MR. ERMIN: I understand you're looking for work, son.
[KEVIN looks at JACK, who smiles at him. KEVIN looks back to MR. ERMIN, who also smiles. KEVIN fakes a smile. The music fades out.]
NARRATOR: This evening was heading nowhere and fast.
[WINNIE walks over and picks up some records.]
KEVIN: Do you wanna take a walk with me somewhere?
WINNIE: I can't, I have to help out.
KEVIN: C'mon, only for a minute.
MRS. COOPER: [walks over, carrying a bag of hamburger buns] Winnie, would you take these to your father? [holds out the bag]
WINNIE: Mom, I'm changing the records.
MRS. COOPER: [sternly] Honey, please.
[WINNIE takes the bag, sets down the records, gives MRS. COOPER a sharp glance, and walks away. MRS. COOPER stares out the window.]
KEVIN: Um, I'll change the records.
[MRS. COOPER, without acknowledging KEVIN, turns and walks away.]
NARRATOR: Don't mention it. Just here to help.
[KEVIN shakes his head. He begins sorting through the records, then looks up and sees MR. COOPER through the window. WINNIE approaches him carrying the bag of buns. MR. COOPER takes the bag from her without so much as a glance and walks away. WINNIEquickly turns and looks after him, sadly. KEVIN is shown again, and also looks sad.]
NARRATOR: In the course of the next hour, I watched Winnie wear a groove in the patio between her parents.
[WINNIE is shown walking from MRS. COOPER, who is serving drinks, across the yard to MR. COOPER, who is still working at the grill. MR. COOPER hands WINNIE a tray of hamburgers, and she carries it back through the yard.]
NARRATOR: There was only one possible explanation: she was avoiding me.
KEVIN: [walks over to WINNIE] Wait a minute.
NARRATOR: Yeah, we'd already said that.
WINNIE: Did you have a burger?
KEVIN: Winnie, are we gonna have some time alone or not?
MRS. COOPER: [in background] Winnie! [holds up some drinks]
WINNIE: [turns to look at MRS. COOPER, then turns back to KEVIN] OK, I promise, in a few minutes. I gotta go. [walks over to MRS. COOPER]
[KEVIN watches her go, and shakes his head.]
NARRATOR: Five burgers and three hot dogs later, I was finally fed up.
[KEVIN looks up at the sky. Then he looks over and sees WINNIE, who is standing in the corner of the yard, staring out away from the party.]
NARRATOR: She wasn't helping her parents, she wasn't doing anything, she was just standing there. OK, enough was enough, the game was over, let's lay out the cards.
[KEVIN stands and walks up behind WINNIE.]
KEVIN: [sounding angry] What is with you, huh?
[WINNIE looks at him, then frowns and turns away again.]
KEVIN: [agitated] One minute you like me and then the next minute you don't! First you kiss me, and then you act like you don't even know me. You've doing this all year! I mean, if you like me, then say so. But if you don't, then ... don't act like you do, OK?
[WINNIE keeps her back turned.]
WINNIE: [turns quickly] Kevin, I have to go away this summer.
KEVIN: [incredulous] What?!
WINNIE: With my Mom. We're going to my aunt's in Maine.
KEVIN: [turns and throws up his hands in disgust] I don't believe this! [turns back to WINNIE] I mean, what about my summer! Paul's going away with his parents and now you're going away with your Mom and-- [stops abruptly, and just looks at WINNIE]
[WINNIE looks back at KEVIN sadly, then runs into the house. KEVIN turns to watch her go, and then surveys the party.]
NARRATOR: And then, for the first time that night, I looked around. The music was playing. Couples were dancing. Holding each other tight.
[NORMA and JACK are shown dancing, holding each other closely.]
NARRATOR: But not everybody.
[MRS. COOPER is shown, standing on one side of the yard with her arms folded on her chest, unsmiling. Then MR. COOPER is shown, still working at the grill, also unsmiling.]
NARRATOR: And suddenly I began to understand.
NARRATOR: I wanted to tell Winnie I understood what was happening to her family. I wanted to say something that would give her comfort, something incredibly wise.
KEVIN: [quietly] Sorry.
WINNIE: Will you write to me when I'm away? [looks at KEVIN]
[WINNIE looks away again. KEVIN sits down next to her, looks at her, then looks toward the street himself.]
WINNIE: [looks at KEVIN] I miss my brother.
KEVIN: [looks at WINNIE, then looks away pensively] Yeah.
[WINNIE looks away. KEVIN looks back at her, and music begins: "Scarborough Fair/Canticle" performed by Simon and Garfunkel. KEVIN slowly puts his arm around WINNIE, and she looks at him as he touches her shoulder. They both look away as the camera pulls back.]
NARRATOR: That summer, kids everywhere swam, water-skied, and sailed, while Winnie Cooper struggled to keep her head above water, in a family torn apart by anger, and grief.
NARRATOR: I pretty much stayed close to home. I mowed Mr. Ermin's lawn. I went fishin' with my Dad. I watched a man walk on the moon.
[The camera finally settles on KEVIN, who is lying in the hammock, with his hands resting on his chest, and a comic book covering his face.]
NARRATOR: I considered myself pretty lucky.
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