Gary Rinsem

Holmes And Yoyo
by Gary Rinsem

November 1976
September 2020

Memories can be a tormenting task master when involving strong emotions.

  • Hanky Panky

“Some of us will never know we'd owned someone's heart for a season.”
Joyce Rachelle

I don't recall her name, it was lost long ago. Randomly assigning one would dishonor her memory so her story will have to do without. I intend for this to honor the girl I knew, once in sixth grade and again senior year of high school. I only knew her for two months each time, but I've carried her memory for forty-four years. It's time now to share it.

I was nearly eighteen and just starting senior year in high school. I got a strange phone call. It effected the rest of my life to varying degrees. For good or bad I've lived with the result of simply answering the phone.

Her voice was strained and her words evasive. She spoke in riddles. It was clear the caller had an agenda which made her uncomfortable, it was complex with multiple facets. She was having difficulty expressing it.

It was against my nature to be patient with a stranger on the phone. If my patience had worn thin an instant sooner I'd have missed the following experience. My emotions are mixed concerning this event, I can't decide if it would be good or bad to erase the memory.

I gave indication that I was about to end the call. All she'd done was confuse me with vague comments about possibilities in life. There was no apparent purpose in her calling, only that this stranger knew she had the person she wanted to talk to. I had no idea why she wanted me and I wasn't interested in knowing. I was late for work.

Talking to me was extremely important to her. I wanted off the phone and one short comment made that fact clear to the caller. Panic struck. The thought of the call ending before she got results was enough to make her get to the point. The tone in her voice changed. She told me that I'd known her daughter in sixth grade, more than five years earlier. Sixth grade to senior year is a very long period in a kid's life. I recalled the brief friendship, but barely remembered the boy I was, the boy who knew that girl.

Her mother became irrationally excited by me remembering her daughter. I told her we ate lunch together, spent recess talking and walked home with each other for the last couple months of sixth grade. That's about it. She assured me her daughter's memory matched mine.

I went on to say that we'd lost touch at the end of the school year. We never saw each other again because they opened a new school, Pueblo, and I was assigned there for seventh grade. Her mother explained the real reason I hadn't seen her again, it wasn't the change in schools. Her daughter became sick that summer, never returning to school after sixth grade. She'd lived those years isolated at home. She never once had a visitor her own age. She'd grown up alone, with no friends.

The mother told me that I was her girl's only friend, for what must have been an entire lifetime, five critical years. I was her boyfriend in her mind. She developed a crush on me in sixth grade and arraigned for us to see each other at school, a point I'd missed at that time. I was oblivious to her crush and years later the revelation made this phone call uncomfortable. I wanted out yet I stayed, strangely intrigued by a girl I'd known only briefly, who'd casually passed through my thoughts for those years of my life.

Her mother realized my discomfort and assured me the girl was OK, she didn't actually believe that I was her boyfriend. It was a fantasy life. It was all she had growing up sick and dying. I was the only friend she could remember by name and the only boy she remembered ever talking to her. Perpetually isolated, a fantasy was all she had in the world. My involvement in this eighteen year old girl's fantasy life, was the result of a little girl's first and only crush.

Her mother finally got to the reason behind the call. She said it would be of utmost importance to her daughter to get a phone call from her boyfriend. I instantly objected, declaring I had a girlfriend I love very much. The mother again assured me her girl was not nuts, she knew it was a fantasy. I learned later that this was just one page in their deception.

It wasn't enough that I simply speak to her on the phone, a girl's fantasy demanded she hear the phone ring as I called. Jotting down the number we ended that odd phone call, only to start another, stranger by far.

Her mother answered and yelled "Honey, it's Gary." The girl spoke as if we'd recently been in school together, and as if I was her boyfriend. Talking to this sixth grade girl was odd, given that she was actually eighteen years old. She'd never grown up in the absence of school and social life.

Our conversation was pleasant enough, but without substance. It was impossible to imagine her as anything other than a twelve year old girl. After five minutes talking about sixth grade, I was finished with all of this. The suggestion that I needed to shower and get dressed for work brought about a complete personality change. Like her mother, the daughter changed at the thought that I was about to end the call. The odd little girl with a crush on me was instantly replaced by a sick young woman. Even her voice was altered.

The young woman begged, with subtlety, but it was begging none the less. I could relate to her life as a young woman far more so than as a sixth grade girl. She explained her life from her point of view and in more detail than her mother had quickly done. It gave me greater perspective coming directly from her.

As our phone call continued, the young woman reverted back to the persona of a girl. It was OK, I understood now. She spoke of a new program on TV called Holmes and Yoyo. Time was spent explaining the premise of the show. It sounded stupid to me then, much more so now. She'd watched the pilot episode a week earlier and provided her synopsis of it. After forty-four years, I recently watched that episode on YouTube. Same as I recall of the episodes I saw then, the pilot is horrifically bad. Cars in the street scenes are nostalgic now, but that's about all.

The call had gone on far too long and I was late for work. The girl again disappeared at the thought of the call ending, replaced by the sick young woman. She emphasized the reality of her life, that she'd never even had a date with a boy. More of the intent of this contact was becoming apparent. Her and her mother knew what they were doing. They elevated my empathy for her to epic heights.

She asked that I visit her the following evening to watch the second episode of Holmes and Yoyo. It would be her first date, more than that, it would be her first visit with anyone her age in all the years she'd been sick. Telling her about the girl I love had no effect and I couldn't refuse. I tried, even telling her I'd have to call in sick to work.

Apprehension overtook me as I rang the doorbell. Was I entering an episode of The Twilight Zone It felt like it. Only Rod Serling's narration was missing. Her parents jointly met me at the door. They uncomfortably stared, looking me over head to toe for what seemed a long time. Both of them smiled when they decided I'd do for the task in mind. Warmly inviting me in, Rod Serling faded away.

Living room furniture had been pushed to corners, making space for an impromptu theater in the center of the room. There she sat, strapped into a wheelchair wearing a pink robe, bunny slippers and her hair shoved under what appeared to be an umpire's cap. We smiled and said hello as I entered. Approaching, her arms raised simulating an embrace so I leaned over for a hug. Doing my best to embrace her, I felt weak limp arms around my neck. She struggled to raise herself enough to gently kiss me on the cheek. I returned her kiss. She had a tray attached to her chair as if it were a baby's height chair. There was a bowl of popcorn and a frosty mug of root beer. A small upholstered chair sat next to her with a coffee table in front. Matching refreshments waited for me on my table.

I was early enough that we spent ten minutes getting to know each other. Parents couldn't stay out of the room, excited at the prospect of their only child having a never expected first date. Her mother and father continually flitted in and out, offering more root beer and more popcorn. Wanting to share the experience, they couldn't leave us alone.

We sat quietly eating popcorn and drinking root beer as the second episode of Holmes And Yoyo ran it's painful course. After the show, ten minutes of casual conversation was enough for her father, that or he took pity on me. He gave me the exit I wanted by advising it was time to return her to bed, it had been her most exhausting evening in a long time. She and I hugged and kissed as we'd done on arrival, then said good night. Not goodbye, good night. She said it first and soon after I realized she'd indicated they had further plans for me.

Mom and dad walked me out, following and talking all the way to my car parked on the street. They were jubilant. They praised me incessantly, calling me the most compassionate and generous boy they'd ever known. They dwelled on the significance of this event in their daughter's life and assured me that the kindness would be remembered. With tears in their eyes, they hugged me before walking back into the house.

The sick, frail, emaciated young woman in the wheelchair, acting like a twelve year old girl, made a lasting impression on me that night. I began crying as I pulled away from their house. By end of the street my vision was too blurred to drive. Parked on the cross street for an hour I eventually gained composure, but not yet perspective.

I wasn't expected, but I'd planned to spend the rest of the evening with my girl. She had too much irrational jealousy in her to share these events. It would have driven her crazy. My state of mind wasn't appropriate to spend time with the girl I love so I chose Jack In The Box instead. Eating in the park I managed to put that sick girl's life out of my mind. I went home considering the matter closed, expecting never to give it another thought.

A week passed where I avoided all thoughts of her, until the phone rang. The big girl personality was showing. She invited me for a second Holmes And Yoyo date on the following night. I wanted to refuse, but didn't have the strength. Our second date was a carbon copy of the first in every detail. It was followed by five more identical Holmes And Yoyo dates, a total of seven weeks in a row.

In the midst of those dates, they threw an eighteenth birthday party for me with all the trimmings. Cake and ice cream were served along with singing happy birthday and a simple present from each of them. Her father cut the party short, always concerned with my needs, always worried they were unreasonably imposing on me. Most surprising is the fact that this is my life's favorite birthday. I really only recall a couple others. One because it's the last time I saw my second love (1982). Not a happy birthday memory. Since then I do everything I can to avoid birthdays. All birthdays, not just my own.

Week eight I was met by parents at the door, as usual except they weren't smiling. In an instant I sensed something was different, they were cold and unwelcoming. This night they didn't even look me in the eye. By their fixation you'd think there was something wrong with my shoes, were they untied

We passed the living room. The furniture was set normally with no provision for our date. She wasn't in there. Her father explained, our date would be in her room tonight. I thought I understood. I expected her to be too sick to leave her bed. That would explain their lack of cordiality and her not being in the living room.

Walking down the hall, her father motioned for me to go in as he stood by the door, her mother close behind. I took stock of the room in the instant before hearing the door close. It was obvious this was not a typical girls room. Sparsely furnished with nothing of a personal nature. I spun my head around to verify the door was closed and became confused as to the reason. Feeling like I was led to slaughter, I overcame the urge to rush out the door. I had come to care for this sick young woman. I had to see it through.

She did as always, reached out for a hug and a kiss on the cheek. I obliged. It gave me another moment to evaluate the circumstances. Beyond just the bedroom setting there were numerous things out of the norm. Her umpire's cap was missing and instead of dirty stringy hair showing around the cap, she obviously had a make over. I detested Farrah hair, but it was a huge improvement. Gone were the robe and slippers, replaced by bare feet, slacks and a feminine button down shirt. She was wearing makeup for the first time and giant clip on earrings. She was 'perched' on a hospital style bed, in a sitting position. Perched because the bedding was unnaturally neat, as if pressed in position. She had not been there long or the bedding would have been disturbed by her movements.

I'd followed the routine, showing up early enough for a ten minute talk. We watched the ninth episode of Holmes And Yoyo on a small TV atop her dresser. Ten minutes after the show I was looking for her father to open the door and grant me the exit. He betrayed me. I should have guessed when he closed the door. They didn't bother with us at all this date.

Eight dates she had stayed in the character of a sixth grade girl. I understood it as her way of dealing with the life she'd lived. Fantasy provided escape from reality through a reset of her life to it's last happy state. It's all she knew of life and the thought of it still makes me cry for her, forty-four years later.

Without fatherly intervention I was at a loss for my exit. We had the longest and most difficult child like conversation of my life. The slaughter I'd been led to was slowly unfolding. Little did I know how naive that thought was. There was far worse than immature conversation coming to me.

I was gently leading up to my exit, but too slowly. The girl dropped out, never to be seen again, replaced by her mind wrapped in reality. First sign of that change was a sudden surprise to me I still remember the words, out of nowhere she said: "Gary, I don't want to die a virgin." Instantly realizing their hidden motive starting with the first phone call, I panicked and wanted to bolt for the door.

Her father closed the door, not just literally, but figuratively as well. There was no gentle exit. I searched for a way to crawl into my twelve year old boy so I could easily deny this reality. My mind raced looking for the solution. There were only two options, grant or deny her dying wish. I couldn't do either. Granting her wish would require cooperation down below, there was no chance of that happening. Denying her wish was also not an option. I searched for a way to solve this dilemma. I was instantly consumed by the problem.

Delay until a solution is found. I explained the difficulty of granting her wish. She was even more naive than the sixth grade girl she emulated. Just when I thought it couldn't get more difficult, I found myself describing a penis to her. I explained flaccid and erect states and the cause of erections. My sick friend was enthralled by the frank talk, creating the delay needed for me to find a solution to her request.

We talked bluntly for several hours with never a sign of parents. I was unprepared to hear the startling facts she revealed. One after another she asked direct questions about life, love, romance and SEX. Included was a description of her parents response whenever she asked sensitive questions. They simply handed her a bible and told her to start reading.

My sick friend mentioned menstruation. A doctor asked and she replied that she didn't, admitting only to me that she didn't know what it meant. I explained and she listened intently. When that topic was done I was told the reason she'd mentioned it. The doctor said it meant she couldn't get pregnant. She brought up the subject to let me know it was safe to have sex with her.

There was a discussion of puberty and the difficulty of understanding changes in her body. With closed mouth parents she had no way to get the facts. I answered all of her life questions as best I could, from the perspective of an eighteen year old boy.

Discussion of puberty led to the subject of sexual arousal. She'd had it, didn't understand it, didn't realize it was a part of sexuality. Correlation between her own arousal and the requirement of it for erection, helped her accept that I couldn't grant her wish.

It seemed there'd be no end to the sensitive discussions. Another centered on masturbation, a topic she'd never heard of and a word she didn't know.

She timidly described what she'd been doing and how it made her feel. I gave the activity it's proper name and let her know it was a type of sex. The feeling she got at the end is an orgasm. She was ecstatic. Her parents caused horrific feelings in her surrounding that subject. They cast a dark scary shadow over something which should have been a joyous part of her life.

My tactic of conversation as a stall had to end sometime. She chose the time by asking me to get in bed and hold her. We'd been down the rabbit hole for hours so it seemed a simple request. Using buttons, she laid the bed flat and wiggled to one edge, rolling on her side with her back facing me. I kicked off my shoes and snuggled up from behind, arm around her waist.

Every detail of the following hours is fresh in my mind. I'll not turn this pornographic, choosing instead to simply say that I found a compromise to satisfy my sick girlfriend's request.

Leaving the next morning, her parents were cold and almost rude to me. I don't think they even said good bye.

I waited for her call the following week, to invite me for Holmes And Yoyo, but it didn't come. The next night I waited, ready to go if she called. I watched the show at home.

Weeks passed without hearing from her. I saw two possibilities. Either she had no more use for me, or she died. Deep down I knew her well enough to know she wouldn't mistreat her only friend. I believed she died.

Two or three weeks passed and I'd been driving by her house often, numerous times a day, drawn to it like a moth to a porch light. I rang the bell when I could take no more. Her parents still wouldn't look me in the eye. They confirmed what they'd refused to say before, she had been living on borrowed time. She died a few days after our night together. I thanked her parents for telling me and was about to leave when the father looked up, very quietly asking: "She refused to talk to us. Did she lose her virginity?"

My mind raced trying to choose a response. Should I refuse to answer, should I lie, should I tell a half truth If she'd wanted them to know she would have told them. She and I had decided, what happened constituted loss of virginity. I told the truth, simply saying "Yes." They thanked me for telling them and went into the house.

Still drawn to that house, I drove by it for a long time. One day something was wrong. I hit the brakes in the middle of the street and stared. It dawned on me, there were no curtains. I rushed to the front window and saw an empty house that was being renovated. There were new people living there a short time later, but I didn't lose my affinity for the place. Years later I'd find myself driving by anytime thoughts of her passed through my mind. Over four decades later, I recently took a Google Street View pass by her house and now, finally after so much time, I've finished writing the memory so I can share it.

To that special girl,

You died 44 years ago with no siblings to remember you. I never knew if you had other relatives. There is a good chance your parents are both dead. I only told your story to two special women in my life and they died in 1995. I may be the only person left to remember you and I haven't remembered your name in decades. I'm proud of all I did for you, but I truly wish I'd not lived my life with this memory. I'm 61 years old and thoughts of you still cause anguish in me.

Those three words have been of utmost importance since the first time spoken to me. Writing this I cry knowing you died never hearing them. I'm sorry, but a sickening feeling of guilt, as if it would have been cheating on my girlfriend, kept me from telling you I love you. It's not the romantic love you lamented never knowing, but even after so much time has passed I still feel the need to say I love you.


I can only find the first five episodes of Holmes & Yoyo.

I'd suggest you enjoy these videos, but that's unlikely. The show was so bad I'm surprised it doesn't have a cult following like some bad movies.

Holmes and Yoyo
Episode 1 - Pilot
September 25, 1976

Holmes and Yoyo
Episode 2 - Funny Money
October 2, 1976

Holmes and Yoyo
Episode 3 - Dental Dynamiter
October 16, 1976

Holmes and Yoyo
Episode 4 - The Last Phantom
October 22, 1976

Holmes and Yoyo
Episode 5 - Yoyo Takes A Bride
October 23, 1976

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Episode 1 - Pilot
Episode 2 - Funny Money
Episode 3 - Dental Dynamiter
Episode 4 - The Last Phantom
Episode 5 - Yoyo Takes A Bride