The impetus behind this post, that I’m sure will be the first of a series, was an email I received from a sort-of-ex inquiring about my marital status. And I’ll eventually get to why this email got me thinking but because it did, I figured I’d start at the beginning. From my first boy meet girl moment or at least the first I can remember.
It all started in preschool. I was a vivacious and outgoing little girl and my mom always made sure I was impeccably dressed and my hair was curled in an adorable manner. I was pretty enough but the extra time my mom took with my appearance ensured my hottie status. I’m not bragging here because truthfully, I had little to do with this. My pleasing features were a gift from mom and dad and being the only girl in the family, I benefited from my mom’s desire to dress me up and make me pretty. The personality was no doubt a mixture of nature and nurture. The result of all of these factors? I was honey to the little boys’ flies.
Oh yeah, I was really bossy too. It’s well documented in progress reports. “Susan is a joy to teach and a natural leader, though she has a tendency to boss the other children around when not closely supervised.” I don’t know if this trait played a part in my appeal then but it seems to have become so later in life.
The clear winner in the fight for my affections in preschool was Charlie Brown. I kid you not. This was really his name. He was even a bit of a blockhead from what I recall. His large, square head was what caught my attention. He looked like my grandfather and that was enough to make me love him.
Charlie’s love carried me through preschool, kindergarten and into first grade. He was a sweet and doting boy and his occasional attention was just right. He didn’t smother me, letting me play with the girls yet being available when I marched up and made him hold my hand. He (or his mom) made sure I had a very special Valentine each year.
Unfortunately in first grade, my eye wandered. Come Valentine’s Day, the new object of my affection, who I only remember as Michael, gave me a hand-drawn airplane scene that somehow managed to make my heart beat fast. It was drawn on notebook paper IN MARKER! Which meant he took the time to make it at home because we weren’t allowed to have markers in our class. Yowza!
The summer between first and second grade was a tough one for me and something I’m not going into right now. I’ll just say that there was an experience that left me much more shy and I started putting on weight. My hottie status decline severely and I don’t recall a second grade boyfriend.
Third grade was a time of change yet again. My family moved to another state in the middle of the year. That meant I had to start all over. Making new friends and adjusting to a new school. I didn’t hit my stride until fourth grade but when I finally did, I found true love again. His name was Ricky Marriott. He was a farm boy, complete with adorable little John Deere cap. He handed me a note asking if I liked him and I checked the “yes” box. We cemented our relationship on a field trip to a nearby Air Force base. We sat together on the bus and walked together during the entire tour.
Unfortunately, this relationship ended badly and started a long period of cheating boyfriends. Ricky’s father threw him a birthday bash at the farm and he ignored me the whole time. I found out later that another girl in our class had gotten the “do you like me” note from him and I was out. And crushed.
Fifth grade I focused on my best friend and ignored the boys. Susie dominated all my time at recess and outside of school with weekly sleepovers. She was blonde and pretty and if I have to be honest, probably a girl crush. Because she too broke my heart.
In our town, fifth grade was the end of elementary school. In sixth grade, we moved to the middle school. Susie and I ended up in different classes and she found a new best friend. I tried to hang out with them but her new bestie rejected me. I’ll never know why Susie gave me up so easily but lesson learned. Girls could be just as cruel as boys.
Sixth grade also brought about hormonal changes. I started sprouting breasts and pimples. It was not a pretty time. My mom still tried to dress me like a doll when all of my friends were wearing cool jeans and t-shirts. I became awkward. And also developed an aversion to bathing for some reason. Cut to the first school dance I attended. The self-confident social butterfly was gone, replaced by a wallflower. My mom made me get my hair done before each dance and dress up. If she had known that I spent the entire night sitting alone in the loft above the gym, she might have relented. But I pretended to have a fabulous time at each and every dance because it seemed so important to her.
The saving grace for me? My dad was transferred for his job and we packed up and moved again during the summer between sixth and seventh grades.
Up next…a new town and a new start.