Trail of a Heart 10 – In Search of Daddy
The loves I have had in my life all seemed to be trying to find my dad. It is curious that I still remember several of them and the quality that drew me to each one. In Mrs. Higgins’ 1st grade class it was Donald Ainsworth. He was tall and blonde, quiet and the smartest guy in class. I am quite certain I never revealed my heart to Donald. I saw Donald this last year at our 50th high school reunion. I finally confessed to him and his wife. I thought it was kind of sweet. I’m sure I embarrassed him and his wife.
Who could compare with my dad? Daddy was one of the smartest men I have ever known so I admired men with brains. Daddy graduated from high school just before the Great Depression and didn’t get to go to college. He had always wanted to be a basketball coach, having been a good player in high school, but he had to begin work right away to help the family survive.
My next crush was still in elementary when I fell for Winifred Rains. He was athletic and funny, a definite class favorite. My strongest memory of him was how I finagled to go to his house when I was out selling Girl Scout cookies so he might notice me. He lived very far from our house. I remember walking that far and then not being sure which house was his. As I recall, no one was at his house when I got there. I trudged dejectedly back home with all my cookies unsold. I don’t have any memory of how I got over him, but unrequited love at any age is painful.
In sixth grade it was Bob (last name withheld for reasons that will become obvious). He was tall, dark and handsome. As we would all walk home from school, Bob was always in a bunch of boys, laughing and joking and seemingly having a great old time. I usually had a few friends, or at least a few sisters, with me on my trek home. I couldn’t take my eyes off this dreamboat. I fantacized many a time what it would be like WHEN I was his girl. I would have never done anything overt to make my heart known to Bob or any other boy. I don’t even know if my friends knew.
One day it all came apart. I had thought nothing could shake my love for Bob, until that day. There was a mentally retarded girl in our school who was very openly in love with Bob. She would follow him admiringly, not seeming to care that he was not responding. One day I happened to see Bob give her his books to carry for him. In those days, carrying someone’s books, albeit it was usually the boy carrying the girl’s, was a sign of true love. What followed next stuck in my heart. He began to joke about the girl to his friends. She walked on oblivious to their taunts, enveloped in her love. What a creep! I was very glad that he had never noticed me anyway.
Watch for the next installment.