Daily Mass has been my saving grace during these nonsensical times. I cannot get past the madness, and, to make matters worse, I found myself in a state of anger. We all have our coping mechanisms and mine is currently out of whack. I keep reminding myself that God is in control, and He will see us through. As the world continues revolving into more chaos, I turn to Scripture to keep me sane.
So instead of a story with political undertones, I have decided to re-share a story about my younger years, hoping that it will bring a smile to some of you.
For as long as I can remember, I always had a crush on a boy. My mother was a single mom and during our teens she kept us in check; we were taught the fear of God and to remain virgins until marriage.
My first encounter of confused love came as a crush I had on my six grade teacher. He was tall, dark and handsome. He was married with a pregnant wife, but my feelings for him did not change. During music class , when accompanied himself on his ukulele, that I knew he was the one. As a class we sang “My Gum Tree Canoe,” but I imagined that he was just singing to me. “Singing row away, row over the waters blue. Like a feather we float, in my gum tree canoe.” This was the most romantic song I had ever heard, but in a couple of weeks I got over him and fell in love with Ruben.
Ruben Hater’s Club
Ruben was my six- grade crush. In our innocence we just stared at each other; our eye contact was the profession of true love as we knew it. Ruben was going to be in the school talent show, playing the part of Ringo Starr, the Beatles’ drummer. For some reason I did not attend the show, so the following day I was no longer Ruben’s girl. He had moved on to Jeanine, who was a beauty. My heart was broken, so I formed a club: “The Ruben Hater’s Club.” I was president and my best friend, Nanci, was vice-president. We climbed a neighborhood tree and Nanci and I met to discuss our lives and Ruben’s, but within a few weeks the club dissolved. I moved on to other, cuter boys who appreciated my long stares.
Johnny and John
In Junior High Johnny was my secret crush. I told one of my friends how I felt, but she betrayed me; during recess she ran up to Johnny and told him about my crush. I was mortified, but he told her to tell me that he liked me too. Johnny and I just flirted, and that worked out fine for us. Our family had a telephone, but because it was a party line, you could hear other neighbors’ conversations: Therefore we never called each other. We had two phones at our home but if you were on one line, another person could carefully pick up the other phone and hear your conversation. Our brothers were notorious for humiliating us like this.
Our mother wanted us to have a better life, so she decided to move us out of Brawley. We moved to be closer to relatives in Fresno. I left my summer boyfriend in Brawley. His name was John, and he promised to write to me. He had this plan, that he called “The Five-Year Plan.” After five years we would meet again and marry. John was committed to this plan and wrote to me on a regular basis. I had a problem with John because in his letters he called it a “Five-Year Plane.” There was also the fact that after reaching the end of the line on the paper, he placed a period. It didn’t matter if he had written a complete sentence or not. So his letters had periods all along one side of the page. I could no longer continue the long-distance relationship with this over-zealous period guy.
Ninth grade in Fresno was still Junior High, but I loved it because, once again we were the big kids on campus. Another Ruben came into my life, but he really wanted to take me on chaperoned dates. My mother would not hear of this, so I just stopped asking. Ruben and I ran for Spring King and Queen; I won but Ruben did not. Mike, a white, popular, roly-poly boy was crowned Spring King. It was a no brainer for the king and queen to become a couple. Ruben did not take this graciously, so I was his first heartbreak.
Things did not go as expected in Fresno so, once again, our mother moved us, this time to Colton. This was my first high school experience. My sister Jo and I were the new girls no one knew. I made friends quickly but I didn’t date until my junior year. A friend of mine had a younger brother, I started dating but, he was a freshman. This was scandalous! Now I was considered a cougar. I went to one dance with him but later we broke up. I dated other boys but did not really like them either.
My senior year I had a boyfriend I did not like at all but I could not find it in my heart to break up with him. My mother did not approve of him either. She once told me, “If you marry him, your kids are going to look like monkeys.” Our mom never held her tongue when it came to who we were dating. I broke up with this guy after the worse prom date. On the day of the prom he kept driving past our house with his tux hanging from the back seat of his car. It was embarrassing enough for me, but my brothers were relentless in their teasing. He took me to Newport Beach for dinner, but by that time I would have preferred to be anywhere else but there. At a table near us was an older gentleman, in his thirties who sent me a note by the waiter. The note read, “If you smile, I will pay for your dinner.” I was flattered and gave the man a sincere smile. The stranger kept his word and paid for our dinner. On the way home I broke up with my date; I was so upset that I sat in the back seat. All of my high school relationships were pure because I could hear my mother’s strong voice in the back of my head, still influencing me.
College Jalopy Guy
When I was in college I dated but I was never really serious about anyone. I remember this nightmare guy who pursued me until I agreed to go on one date with him. I was getting flowers anonymously and I thought they were from him (they were not). On the day of our date this guy drove in something that resembled a car. He had spent most of the day hand painting this jalopy. As I got into the vehicle there was a huge opening under my feet and I could see the road and the axel rotating. I was scared for my life! Needless to say, this was our one and only date.
God was always with me and He had a big plan for my life. I thank Him that in all my past experiences with boys, I have no shameful regrets. I broke hearts and my heart has been wounded, but God had set me aside for my husband Mike. I was a child bride at nineteen.