, , , , , ,

Young loveI’ve been reading some of the responses to the Word Press Daily Prompt today about remembering your first crush. The ones I’ve read have been fun. I normally don’t warm up to these prompts, but this one I did because I know exactly when and who it was. But it’s not really the “crush” that made it so memorable. It was what happened in the aftermath.

* * * * *

It was summer of 1961 and I had just turned 10. We had a rare treat that June. My mother’s favorite brother Francis, known by his family and friends as Hilligan (no clue…), came to visit us in Ohio. We’d not seen them since I was six. We had traveled to Great Falls, Montana via Florence, Oregon (where I nearly drowned at Devil’s Elbow State Park) to spend a week with them. That was actually the first time I’d ever met my cousins, Jim, Judy, and Jeanie.

We were all waiting impatiently when they pulled up in front of the house. As they climbed out of the car my eyes were all for the tall, curly-haired blonde teenager unfolding himself from the back seat. Jimmy wasn’t the little kid I remembered anymore. He was in junior high school and he played football. It was good to see Judy and Jeanie, but my eyes were only for Jimmy — and, apparently so was my heart.

It was a terrific week. I’d followed him around like a second shadow and hung on every word he said. My guess is he couldn’t help but be flattered. First puppy love must have been fun for him, though I expect he’d had his fair share of girls interested in him by then. The week passed so fast and soon it was time for them to leave.

The morning they left I was hiding by the gate that led to the backyard. Even at that young age I HATED saying goodbye to people I might never see again. I remember that I was crying by the rosebush. Suddenly here came Jimmy bounding around the house looking for me to come and say goodbye to everyone. When he saw I’d been crying, he bent down and gave me a kiss. Now I seriously doubt it was on the lips. My memory of that moment is not real clear. I do remember he dragged me around the house then so everyone could give me a hug. It was a very tearful goodbye. Not just for me. My mom missed her brother something fierce.

What happened a couple days later has never stopped reverberating in my head and I often times wonder if it created a permanent writer’s block for me. I’ve mentioned on here that I started journaling at a young age. I also wrote stories. And that kiss, as innocent as it was, begged a story! So I wrote it. Or at least started it. I remember being very shy about what I wrote, so I usually stuck my dairy under my pillow. It was our job to make our own beds or at least help, so I’d always know when it was time to hide it for the day.

That morning I had folded up the paper I’d been writing the story on, stuck it inside the dairy, and gone off to school. When I came home my mother was waiting. I could tell by the look on her face that I was in trouble for something. She pulled a folded-up sheet of paper out of her apron pocket and held it up in front of me. My heart sank. She had decided to go ahead and change the beds that day and found not only my dairy, but my story about “the kiss” as well.

Mom had a tirade that day. She wadded that paper up and shook it under my nose saying I was NEVER to write anything like that again.

Now for the life of me I cannot fathom what a very sheltered just-turned-10-year-old girl could have written about that kiss that would cause such an uproar. Girls of that age didn’t know NEARLY as much then as they do now. And we never talked about it after that. She crammed it back in her pocket and I have no clue what she ever did with it.

So in the end my first crush was actually “crushed” by my mom. And to this day I find myself wondering how much her reaction to that little story helped to create that inner critic that lurks the hallways of my mind just waiting to find folded pieces of paper to wad up and trash! Damn! That must have been some hot story!!! o_O

* * * * *