I fell in love for the first time in 2nd grade. Our class had been lined up and marched to the nurse’s office for immunizations. Back in our classroom, the teacher noticed Richard was missing. She found him crying in the coat hall. My heart fluttered. I wanted to cry, but lacked Richard’s courage. I was smitten—even after I moved to another school.
I remained true to Richard’s memory until 5th grade when I sat across the aisle from handsome Lamon Stewart. Lamon lived in my ward. Every school or church teacher meeting Lamon for the first time pronounced his name, “Laman?” Lamon always corrected them with a touch of arrogance at their stupidity. “It’s La Mon.” I found his name quite dashing. I found Lamon dashing until the day he came to school with his hair frizzed in a perm his 16-year-old sister had inflicted on him. Visualizing Lamon with a head full of pink Toni curlers ruined my feeling for him.
All the girls in my 6th grade class swooned when blonde, curly-headed Byron Penwood walked into our room. Even his name was romantic, although I’d never heard of the poet Byron. Somehow, I associated the name Byron with a Greek god. Byron never noticed me. In May the 6th graders took a field trip to Liberty Park. Byron took Drusilla, the prettiest girl in class, on all the rides. I watched them snuggle together on the Tilt-a-Whirl and hoped Drusilla would puke on him.
A new boy moved into town at the beginning of 9th grade. Chuck Nelson—tall, dark and as close to handsome as a gawky 9th grader can get. All the girls were in love with him. I used to walk past his house on my way home from school despite the fact that it was ten blocks out of my way. I had to let Chuck know my feelings. I composed notes in Spanish and convinced my brother Dooby—who had 7th grade science in the same room the period before my science class with Chuck—to leave the anonymous notes on Chuck’s desk. Fortunately, Dooby never considered how easy it would be to humiliate me by adding my name to the notes. Family solidarity is a wonderful thing.
In high school I found geeky guys who had crushes on me, but finally dated a cute guy named Lance who returned my feelings and initiated me into the pleasure of making-out in drive in movies. My freshmen year of college, I attended a small school with three times as many single guys as girls and my social life kept up with my crushes.
When I returned home for the summer, George asked me out. George was definitely not a geek, but he had the crush, not me. After dating for awhile, I realized that I missed George when he wasn’t around, and realized I was in love. Even after 150 years of years of loving and annoying each other, we’re still friends. And when George starts rocking to the music in his old bad- boy form at Gold’s Gym, I recognize the object of my final crush.
Happy Valentine’s Day!