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101 in 1001
American Road Trip, 1998


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2001-05-24 - 12:27 a.m.

Grade school crushes (Or: "Does she know I know she knows I like her?")

I'm finally getting around to reading some other Spark diaries. Molzo keeps telling me about all the great writers we have, and I just haven't had the time to look.

So tonight (while at work shhh!) I read through some. I was immediately impressed by Whitebear. You have to read the one about turn signals and check out the "Surrender Hallelujah" story that spans six entries. Part 4 is my personal favorite, with a little snipet of Springsteen.

The other one that stood out for me was Sidewaysrain. She's got a soothing layout to go along with her enjoyable tales.

And I look forward to getting through more of our nice little ring.

I was thinking about crushes lately. (Molzo can tell you why.) The first person to have a crush on me was Audrey, when I was in sixth grade. She was a year behind me. I don't remember how she told me (that's how I found out she was very aggressive with it), but I know I was, well, scared by it. Scared because I was in the sixth grade. Maybe I was a shy, unusual child, but when I was in sixth grade, my crushes were merely that, nothing more. I never revealed them to anyone but my friends the guys and never acted on them.

Audrey called me at home one day. I was in the gifted and talented program at school, and she was joining the next year and called me to ask about it. Props to her for having such a good, honest reason for calling, other than the fact that she loved me. But I was so nervous about it; I don't know why. I guess I was just so embarrassed about the whole thing about liking girls. I just couldn't see myself feeling comfortable going on a grade-school date with my parents driving us to the movies or something. I didn't want to have any kind of talks (particularly The Talk) about girls if I could avoid it. So I avoided one-on-one situations with girls other than in school or on the playground or at dances.

Oh ... grade school dances. The very first one in my town was the Halloween dance in sixth grade. Sixth, seventh and eighth graders could go. When we got to sixth grade, we all arranged to sleep over at Joe's house. He lived a block from the school and his parents were cool. I didn't mind talking about girls with them. But the key for this setup was that my parents wouldn't have to drop me off or pick me up at the end of the night when the slow songs would be playing and I'd hopefully be dancing with some girl.

There were these fraternal twins in my school, Margaret and Rebecca. They moved in just before sixth grade from Illinois and then left to go back to Naperville after seventh grade. They joined my church and we spent lots of time together in Sunday school and then youth group. I felt a special bond with them when I got to see them six or sometimes seven days out of the week, with all the youth group activites we did together. I developed a crush on Rebecca. Then I think I liked Margaret. They came back to visit when we all graduated eighth grade, and one guy, Andy, had a party at his house the day after graduation. I took Margaret aside and told her I loved her; she asked What about Rebecca? That's when I realized I was an idiot and felt so small and slimy, because I didn't have an answer for it. Still, Margaret said she was glad I told her and gave me a wonderful hug on that muggy night in June.

They actually moved back to New Jersey a couple of years later, but further north. A few of us who had been friends drove up to see them one night, I think maybe the summer after senior year, before we all went off to college. Rebecca actually went to Northwestern, and although we e-mailed and talked of meeting in the city one day, we never did.

I lost touch with them. The last contact I had was with their younger sister, Christine (also a fraternal twin, to their brother Mark). Christine was a junior in high school in 1998 when I was covering high school track. I noticed her name for the high school that Margaret and Rebecca graduated from, and one day at a state meet at Princeton, I found Christine and reintroduced myself (she said she remembered me). That was when I found out the family was now moving down to Virginia where Margaret had stayed after graduating from James Madison. And Rebecca, far as I know (well, I was told then), is still in Chicago, working for Arthur Anderson or Andersen or one of those consulting firms.

So, I digressed mightily from Audrey. The only other two things I really remember from that whole thing was one day Aug. 8, 1988 I was walking downtown from my house. I live on Church Street, which has an actual church, and as I passed the cemetery, I looked through the gate in the brick wall (which was about head-high) and saw Audrey and a friend of hers by one of the first gravestones inside the gate. They saw me and said hello and explained they were doing some sort of little ritual (I think they had some photograph and a cup of water or something; maybe some matches, I don't particularly remember) because of the date: 8/8/88. It was one of those pleasantly warm (but cooling) summer evenings.

The other instance was at a cast party after one of our grade school plays. I might have been in eighth grade then; at least seventh. I don't have any real acting talent well, I don't know that for sure, but I know I was too shy to find out (though I do know I can't sing) so I always joined the stage crew. I liked working behind the scenes, and getting just a little recognition in the form of my name in the program and a short apperance for a bow after the two shows. But I liked the rehearsals and the camaraderie with the cast, hanging out backstage and the night out at Friendly's for ice cream that followed the Saturday night show.

So it was at this one cast party at someone's huge house on the Shrewsbury River that we were all running around in the yard having fun that May day and Audrey was there and I think she may have actually sat me down and said, "Look Dan, I like you. Do you want to go out with me or not?" That's when I ended it saying something stupid like I love you no, not really, but points to whoever names that tune. But I basically told her I was too chicken to be dating anyone at the moment. In a more adult-like response, I might have said that I was interested in someone else (see Margaret and Rebecca above). But I didn't.

So that's the story of my first crush, about as much of it as I can remember anyway.

Now I have to go look at my page to check all the links to be sure they work and I don't annoy Molzo. ;)

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