Tuesday, February 15, 2011



When I was 14, I fell in love. Oh, it was slow to build, but it was steadfast and true. I met him at camp. He was 20. He was an adonis. Tan, tall, and charismatic. Our senses of humor meshed like strawberries and whipped cream. Tart and frothy. He said he liked how open I was to the experiences of friendship and novelty. I couldn’t articulate my likes, I just knew. We teamed up in sports, on beach days, and the mock Olympics. At the Saturday dances, he stood back in amazement as I displayed what I’d learned from the dancers on the Lloyd Thaxton Show. I think I felt admired for the very first time. We agreed to marry when I was 20, and he was 26.

When camp was over, we wrote letters. In those days it involved pen, paper, storytelling and a stamp. I was the envy of my camp buddies to be his regular correspondent. Even my older sister, who did everything better than I, was a little jealous. He told me that all the guys at his Harvard dorm lined up at his door whenever he got one of my letters. They were all dying to know the further adventures of me. He assumed I had dozens of suitors to choose from, but downplayed his own romantic life. But he told me when he had a cold, when his mustached froze after skiing, his decision to become a teacher. We were confidants.

I lamented as I maneuvered into high school that while of course I didn’t really think I’d marry David, I was sure I’d never find anyone else as perfect and amazing as him. Who could top him? I had plenty of crushes in high school, but I sort of watched the romantic scene from a distance. While outgoing on most fronts, I was shy on that one.

College came, a little more success on the boy front. But a piece of my heart was still heavily invested in David. His letters filled me with an invaluable sense of worth. He took the time to listen, to comment, to admire, to pinpoint my strengths and to pay attention. To an uncertain kid, that meant everything.

The letters dwindled down in the latter years, as I was in college and he was settling into life on the east coast as a high school teacher. I felt certain the kids in his class would be in for some awesome years, as he would encourage them to find their strengths, and discover great new things about their inner lives.

Finally, I got a card which sort of drew my crush to a close. The card announced that on August 1, 1976 (just 21 days shy of my 20th birthday) David would marry his beloved Christine on a cliff in Laguna Beach. Feeling my crush crushed, I slowly released the hold he’d held over me these wonderful 6 years. I sent a card to wish them well, and set my standards accordingly.

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