I rarely, if ever, do things in order or at appropriate times. Also I’m a big fan of procrastination. I started this 100 Writing Prompts Challenge a while ago, stopping after Day 02. Today, we’re skipping a head, oh… just a wee bit, to talk about my very first crush.
I have already talked about first celebrity crushes in the early days of this blog, but this is not what I’ll be discussing this evening. No, I’ll be talking about the first ever person I could actually reach out and touch.
My mother enrolled me in preschool, just as she had done for The Sister years before me. It was a little place; a small home, built some decades before, but was now converted into a day school for young children. It was situated on the corners of S. 23rd and O’Ferral, a block from our dad’s shop. When The Sister attended, some six or seven years before, she could swing on the swing set out in the fenced-in yard and see our dad’s shop when she was up high. When I attended, however, there was a rather new apartment complex that separated us from sight.
I was placed into Early Years in 1984. I have several memories from this time, surrounding this day school and none of which centers around actual learning, though I’m told that we did learn things. On the outside to the right of the car port was a black tar topped area with rock rubble. This is where the swing set was. Perhaps not the best of ideas, that one. Beyond that to the right and then back was the dirt and grass play yard, which was open except for a few trees in the back and some large tires in the front.
One particular day, in my excitement to escape the confines of the interior, I tripped and fell onto the rock rubbled tar top and skint myself up. The usual things like elbows and knee caps and a bit of my face. I’d fallen before, so this was no big deal to me, though it did sting. However, I could hardly wait for the teacher to affix bandages to me before I ran away from her and out to the yard to play.
I remember sitting on the large, over-turned tires, on several occasions during games of Duck, Duck, Goose. I also recall several incidences of Red Rover, but more so the time I found a fuzzy caterpillar in the back, shady part of the yard and was the only girl who would touch or hold it. And I saw a boy peeing the bathroom, but that’s neither here not there. So, getting back to the boy in question.
Josef Plum. I thought he was the prettiest person I had ever seen. I was completely keen on him and thought he was super wonderful. He was always in the front of the yard practicing gymnastic feats of greatness; cartwheels and somersaults. Besides the fact that they looked like fun, I wanted to learn how to do them so that I could also impress him. For an entire week I practiced these things in my own yard at home. The somersault, I didn’t like, but the cart-wheel I liked, though it was the baby version where you only half kick your legs up, but that’s what he was doing and I didn’t know there was a better way until a few years later.
So, the following Monday during our first break, I was watching him like I had been for weeks by that point. He stopped with his gymnastics and I said, “I’ve been practicing and I can do a cart-wheel too. Wanna see?” He didn’t say anything, but he didn’t stop looking at me either, so I preformed my cart-wheel.
He then said something about no one could do gymnastic things except him, and he was rather upset about it. Then it all happened so fast, but he followed his mean words up with a kick to the face. I’m not even kidding. He purposefully swung his leg up to kick me in the face. The force connected with my mouth and I fell backwards a few feet and when I went to feel my mouth, he’d chipped off a piece of my front tooth!
Obviously, I was very emotionally confused and hurt by this. I didn’t understand what had gone wrong, nor why I should be on the ground, feeling that part of my tooth was missing, and pulling my hand away to reveal blood and spit in my hand. I remember my mouth feeling a bit off and throbby, but the pain of it didn’t bother me. I was too confused and upset over the boy I once thought was so wonderful being all mean and then haughty with his arms crossed and storming away. He didn’t care that I was bleeding from the mouth. He didn’t care that he’d kicked me.
I was certainly no longer over the moon about Josef Plum, and I was pretty put-off about boys the remainder of my time at Early Years. And since the girls were so prissy and whiny, I pretty much spent all of my time alone after that.
Fast forward seven years later and I ended up in this private Catholic school. My mother had gone to a religious day school in her youth and then an all-girls Catholic boarding school during high school, so she was revved up that I get into this school. She first mentioned the idea when I was about six or seven and I excitedly said I’d like to go. The reason was that two of my best friends attended that school. By the time that 1990 rolls around and my mother’s announcing that I was accepted to Sacred Heart, I was not thrilled. For several reason. I was no longer friends with one of those girls, because our mother’s were no longer friends. I would be in a grade ahead of the other friend. I was perfectly fine at the public school I was attending and had friends there.
But, I was accepted and my mother was not backing down. Perhaps I will follow this post with one all about that school, because it is a long story that I never discuss, but this post is not the time. This being a private school in a small town, it had a very, very small attendance. I was just leaving the fourth (and last grade) at my current elementary and had been there since Kindergarten. It was not a large school either, but I was accustomed to six to eight different classes of 25 or so students each within each grade. Sacred Heart had one class of about 15 students per grade from Pre-K through to Sixth Grade. Most of these students had been at Sacred Heart since Pre-K, or at least since Kindergarten. It was super tight-knit. And for myself, coming in at fifth grade, while I wasn’t really aware prior to my first day, I was not going to fit in. Actually I wasn’t going to be allowed to fit in, more like it.
So, on my first day of school, I’m wearing the blue tartan jumper, white blouse, and a whole itinerary of approved uniform clothing details; my nervousness levels through the roof. I walk in to the first grade classroom and there is a boy sitting at one of the desks who looks awfully familiar. Our teacher, one of only two nuns in the faculty, starts to call role and clearly states, “Plum, Josef” when she’d arrived at the P’s. After a few weeks there, I asked if he’d ever attended Early Years, to which he responded, “Yes.” He asked if I’d attended. I muttered a yes, but did not mention the face kicking incident. Well, not until the end of sixth grade when I’d had it well beyond my tolerance level for those bitchy private school kids.
And that boys and girls is the disastrous story of My First Crush.