I've wanted to file this chapter of my life away somewhere for a long time now. (Personal note: Honey? You might want to skip reading this post.)
I always thought this journal entry would take the form of a scrapbook or diary page. I've mentioned before that I am a pack rat. I save everything! Does anyone else save mementos and photos of old boyfriends? No, I am not still holding a candle for these guys. The odds and ends that I hung on to are just there to use as a trigger for my long term memory. Both good and bad, I treasure my memories. I have friends who tell me they don't remember their childhood at all or their high school years very clearly. I do.
My second crush; Alex D. - Alex was a classmate...blond hair, big blue eyes, totally dreamy. My fantasies of him were blended in with my fantasies of Shaun Cassidy, Bo Duke and Leif Garrett. I looked for my old class photo at my Mom's house last time I was home, but I couldn't find it. Memories of Alex - he invented a secret code that looked like Egyptian hieroglyphics. It was used for passing notes in school and he gave me a copy of the code key (it was on green construction paper). He was impressed (and told me so) when it was determined through a series of arm wrestling competitions that I was the strongest kid in the class (boys included).
My third (and final) crush; Rob S. - Rob was part of my senior day camp group. Summer camp, in past years, was just a place for my parents to park my brother and I for the day/week. When I was old enough (6th grade) I was able to join the senior campers and go on over night and weekend trips. This was a very awkward and painful time in my life. I had become the target for some class bullies and a couple of my worst enemies were part of that same camper group. Those girls managed to alienate almost all the other campers from me. I had no friends. Rob took pity on me and let me hang with him and his sidekick (a shrimpy kid named Bug). We rode rides together at Canobie Lake Park and he loaned me his extra flashlight on our big weekend camping/canoe trip at Lake Winnipesaukee. Memories of Rob - I sat for hours on a rock outside his tent talking with him about my tormentors, being a military brat, being afraid of my father...he laid stretched out on the ground looking up at the stars and really listened to me. He held my hand and helped me off the Ferris wheel. He was wonderful. I got deathly ill after that trip and missed the rest of the camp outings/activities and never saw him again. (I heard years later that he committed suicide in his junior year of high school. I cried like it had just happened.)
My first "real" boyfriend; Ray D. - Ray worked at the base commissary (where I met my friend Chris, mentioned in a previous entry). Thanks to Chris, that summer after 8th grade I had really blossomed. Ray was the first boy who noticed. Ray made excuses to hang around and I just assumed he was interested in my friend Chris (everyone was interested in Chris). He used to ask me where else I hung out on the base. He seemed especially interested in what days I went swimming at the base pool (uh, yeah. He just wanted to check me out in a swimsuit.) He finally asked me to go grab a bite to eat with him at the bowling alley. My first date! Everyone warned me against dating him. He was a notorious bad-ass and trouble maker on the base, but he was almost never anything but sweet as pie to me. He showered me with gifts (some stolen, I later found out) and was desperate to spend every waking moment with me. You see, Ray was a very unhappy kid. His mother saw him as a burden and he had a volatile relationship with his step-Dad. His step actually broke Ray's arm. I dated Ray all through high school, but after my mother got a phone call from Ray's mom warning her to keep me away from him (for my own good), my mom forbid me to see him ever again. Like THAT was going to happen. We snuck around and saw each other when ever we could...for YEARS.
Memories of Ray - our "first time" out in the woods just off a nature trail in Concord, his love of Iron Maiden (he called me his "sweet leaf"), the hand hammered copper and enamel pendant he made for me in shop/art class, the time he ran away from home and lived in a pup-tent in the woods for weeks (he begged me to run off with him), telling him I had met someone else and feeling helpless when he threatened to kill himself if I didn't keep seeing him, having him show up months later at my freshman dorm and threaten to kill me, my roommate and himself (while holding my roommate at knife point) if I didn't take him back. That last incident was the last time I saw him. I was able to reason with him and told him I could never be with someone who threatened violence to himself, me or my friends. I think I finally got through to him. He actually contacted me a few years ago when he had hit a really low point in his adult life. He'd had a child with a now ex-girlfriend and she had vanished with his child to parts unknown. He was devastated and looking to reconnect with a happier time in his past life. He told me his time with me was the best of his life, that I was his one true love, and that he should never have let me go. Sweet. Scary, but sweet.
My second boyfriend; Jimmy C. - Jim was my best friend Pam's older brother. He took me to my Senior Prom (prom entry to follow). Jim was an enigma. We only "dated"officially, in person, for 2 weeks. In all that time, we never even kissed. I drove him to the bus when he left to join the Navy the week after my senior prom. He wrote to me faithfully a couple times a week. The letters started off being signed just "Jim". As the months passed that changed. He began to refer to me as his girlfriend, showed off my pictures to his shipmates, and signed his letters "Love, Jim" and "Forever, Jim". He must have built up quite a relationship in his mind because that Christmas he called me, collect, from Italy and asked me to marry him. I was speechless. I didn't know what to say, so I laughingly stammered out "Are you sure??" He got very quiet and then just hung up the phone. The letters just stopped and I never spoke to him again...well, almost never. I saw him years later when his Dad got remarried and I was invited to the wedding. He just said "Hi." and that was it (his wife was not at ALL what I expected...she was rather, er, trashy looking). I hear he got married within two months after his failed marriage proposal to me to this girl he met in a bar on the base. I guess he REALLY wanted to settle down and have a wife waiting for him in his home port. Memories of Jim - Dancing at the prom, holding hands and looking at the stars from my driveway, the pretty gold watch and authentic cameo pin he sent me for Christmas from Italy. Must have cost him a fortune. Ah well...
My third boyfriend and first/last affair with a married man; Harry R. - Harry worked for Digital (where I worked after quitting school) and was the fellow who installed network lines and jacks in the office cubicles at the Mill. If I lost network connectivity, Harry was the one to come and trouble-shoot the problem. He liked crawling around on the floor under my desk and made sure I knew it. He was such a flirt! He was not at all the type of guy I was normally attracted to. He was short, dark, curly haired and Jewish (not that I have anything against Jewish men). I had a history of dating pale, blondish, Nordic types - if two guys could be called a "history". Harry found my lack of experience very intriguing and made it his personal mission to teach me a thing or three about men. He was the most open, forthright and sexual man I had ever met! I was thoroughly seduced. His wife was having an on-going affair with her boss and they had come to an "agreement" for an open marriage. When it came right down to it, she was happy having her affair but wasn't happy when Harry started having them too. They eventually divorced (long after I had met someone new and moved on), but I still feel somewhat guilty over being the first woman Harry really fell for besides his wife. I was not his first affair outside his married. Sue had that distinction (remember her? Yes, THAT Sue.) But I still felt bad about being a contributing factor in the failure of his marriage. Harry was ready to leave his wife for me, but I wasn't ready for a serious committed relationship. We stayed friends for a long time even after our relationship ended. Memories of Harry - he showed me just how much fun a person could have in the office (wow), he gave me an appreciation for erotic storytelling and new insight into the nude female form (he also had a thing for pregnant women), he taught me everything I know about RPGs and how to play, he made me feel really beautiful, he gave me the confidence to go after men I found interesting.
The dating year - I had a varied assortment of dates with various fellows in my quest to find the right one for me. Many of them became my friends. None of them really counts as a boyfriend, but all were important in my ongoing social development. Steve, Kerry, Neil, Mike, Keith, Jack, and Bill...thanks for showing me what I DIDN'T want in a boyfriend.
My fourth boyfriend; Peter C. - I met Pete when I went into a music BBS looking for a nice guy to teach me how to play a new instrument. Pete offered to teach me how to play the drums. I only got one lesson. I spent the rest of our relationship following him from gig to gig and was more like a groupie than a girl friend. We kissed a few times but became more like buddies. I liked Pete a LOT. He was yet another "bad boy" in a string of bad boys I had been attracted to. What is it about the grungy musicians with long hair that we gals go gaga over? No question, the boy had talent. But he also had a drinking and drug problem. When I met John (yes MY John) a few months later, it didn't take me too long to figure out who was the better boyfriend. Memories of Pete - Going to concerts together, watching him practice with his band "Orb" or whatever they were calling themselves that week, and Pete's idea of a romantic date...drinking a case of Bud in his basement.
No need to talk about my fifth, and last, boyfriend. I love you, baby! I know you just read this entry anyway - despite my warning.