Tuesday, July 29, 2008

There must be some mistake. I didn't write that.

Part two of yesterday's post. My memoirs of 1964. This one is filed under the heading: Idiotic things I have done.

…there was Dana.

I was always in love with someone at that age (14 and I was already listening to Sinatra and getting blues in the night). In the 9th grade it was Dana. I was completely smitten by this little blond shiksa goddess. She was the perfect California Surfer Girl (except she never surfed, had alabaster skin, and was kind of a stuck up bitch). But that combo worked for me.

I may have been a nerd but I wasn’t one of those Cliff Clavin- afraid-to-talk- to-girls- without-peening-on-themselves types. I could say hello to girls I had a crush on. Even Dana. She was usually aloof but I didn’t know if that was personal or just her general raging bitchiness.

Two years earlier I had written the then-classmate-of-my-affection a birthday letter and kinda casually mentioned I thought she was the most beautiful creature who ever lived. She found it very endearing and even wrote me back. So I figured, why tell Dana how I felt about her in person and possibly trip on my tongue when I could just convey my feelings in a letter? I spent a good week crafting that letter, rewriting it endlessly until every sentence was a work of art, every sentiment expressed with pinpoint perfection. Very proud of myself, I slipped it in her locker.

What a colossal mistake.

The next day in class, not only did Dana snub me, she passed around my letter to all of her friends. Why didn’t she just set me on fire? That would have been so much quicker. I was the complete laughing stock of the 9th grade.

And how do you save face from something like that? Say there was someone going around forging my name… and handwriting? Claim to be on major psychotropic drugs? Say it was really meant for Dana Delaney? I was so dead. Today the letter would be posted on line and girls from Malaysia would be laughing at me.

For weeks the snickering behind my back continued. Thank God David Millstein took the pressure off by being caught with Maiden Form bra ads in his binder.

Not that that whole Dana experience left any lasting scars or anything, but I have never written another heartfelt love letter. Ever. To anyone.

Aw, school days. Good times.


D. McEwan said...

Just be glad you weren't born 15 years later. You might have written out your speech and then left it as a message on her phone answering machine, and then gone to school only to find that she'd played the tape for the entire student body, and they'd all heard it in your voice. Try and deny that!

Thank Zeus I was never a romantic.

Sebastian said...

I got such a letter in 7th grade. Supposedly from a girl who, to me, was quite hideous and suspiciously shy for such an outpour of feelings. To me none the less.

So I tore it up and threw it in the face of the three boys I thought wrote it. They never talked to me about it afterwards and it wasn't torn up in too tiny pieces to put it back together easily.

So to this day I still think that I was right and it was them but every time I see that girl (now woman) I am pretty close to asking her about it. But I won't.

Don't know what I would've done if those guys would've actually had the brains to chose a good looking girl.

rob! said...

ye gods, she WAS a stuck up bitch.

let's hope she watched Cheers and M*A*S*H a lot, as she was stuck at home with her six kids, while her doctor husband was out banging his 22-year-old secretary.

D. McEwan said...

Sebastian's comment reminded me, when I was a high school senior, I came into English class one day after lunch, and there was an envelope on my desk, with my name on it. Inside was a card. Inside ythe card were written just four words.

"Your eyes are boss."

I never found out who wrote it, but it made my day. And now, 40 years later, I still remember it.

JSWN said...

Aaaaaaaawwwww, Ken! I'll get that Dana, and her little dog too.
I really enjoy reading about your childhood...coming of age.It makes me laugh and cry.

My junior high/high school boyfriend wrote a poem for me during freshman year in high school. It's written on a piece of notebook paper with a number 2 pencil. It's 30 years old and I keep it in my dresser drawer.
He snow-shoed over to my house once on a snowday. For most of our relationship, I was taller than him. I think I had a kink in my neck from making out with him.
He was my first love. Puppy love. He had a band called 747 and they did a cover of Deep Purple's SPACE TRUCKIN'. He was the drummer.
We sailed together during summers in Michigan. I had a Butterfly sailboat and he had a SideWinder. I was a skinny girl with a lame haircut. I always wanted my bangs IN my eyes. I was flat chested(still am) and had big feet. I was a sprinter on my high school track team. I also played paino. (During one of my lessons, I saw my paino teacher's sons balls by accident.But I digress.) My poetry writing boyfriend was and still is the person by whom I measure(d)any and all suitors. He is was and always will be my one and only......
He passed away at age 39. Cancer. Ewings Sarcoma. He left behind a beautiful wife three sons and a daughter. His wife happens to be my best friend from highschool and we remain close to this day.
I've carried the poem with me over the years for various personal reasons and because it brings me luck. I even carried it when I auditioned /was hired for a job on a show for which Ken and I both worked. Corny, but true.

Anonymous said...

"The next day in class, not only did Dana snub me, she passed around my letter to all of her friends."

I think I'd prefer a good water boarding. (I think if it weren't for high school psychologists would probably go out of business.)

As others noted, I do hope Dana remembers enough of you to recognize your name on the credits as they roll by.

DrBear said...

And it's incidents like this that not only make me remember my school years as an unadulterated hell, but keep me from watching any TV show that professes to show adolescence, from Mr. Novak through The Wonder Years to That 70s Show.

rosebud said...

Peening on yourself?

Is that like when I have to get hammered to get the courage to talk to a girl?

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

OK, how about when my health-food-nutjob aunt gave me vitamin pills before school every morning, and I'd play with them in my pocket during class.

When the 500 mg vitamin A capsule popped in my jeans, staining the front of my Levi's for the rest of the day, the entire 10th grade class of Burbank High School thought I had committed an unspeakable act. And the SMELL!!

Sebastian said...

*hrr hrr*

Hey Barefoot that reminds me of the day during my civil service where I worked in a hospital for 13 months and gave my mother my bedsheets from my room at work and it had a stain on it.

"What's that" she asked
"Must've been a vitamin A capsule that popped" I replied.

hrr hrr hrr

Did I mention that room was right next to the nurse's school dorm?


Tom Quigley said...


If you ever run into Dana again, you could explain the letter to her as part of a story you were trying to work out for a TV show you were planning to create someday, and then finish by saying "By the way, you might have heard about me. I produced THE WONDER YEARS"...

growingupartists said...

Well, I'm sure your wife doesn't appreciate this grudge-holding quality very much, does she? It's never too late to re-invent romance.

Grunt said...

Sad thing is that, in the 9th grade, I would have been totally crushin' on a 6'2", 130lb boy. On the otherhand, when I was 13, I still looked 8 (I went from 4'6" to 5'0" when I was 14...I'm now 5'2", and I didn't have breasts. I got those the summer I turned 15. I went from a small B to a D in about 2 months. Talk about painful, I know exactly how it feels to be kicked in the nuts because a 2 year old I was babysitting for once punched me in the chest and I had to hold myself against the wall to prevent myself from falling over with the kid and/or throwing up, but I digress...) so it is unlikely that I would have been any competition to Dana.

charlotte said...

Aw, Ken. Your poor wife doesn't get a love letter because some 9th grader was a jerk to you 44 years ago?

I think you know what your next writing assignment is. Due date: Valentine's Day.

tb said...

My older brother found a note on my dresser that this girl gave me. It said "I think I love you". Then he says, much to my relief "Haha- You like the PARTRIDGE Family!"

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

A "paino"? I thought it was a typo until it showed up again. Is this the same instrument Dr. Flameo played?

What you could have done, Ken, is write 20 copies of that letter and send one to 20 different babes. Then, everyone would have thought it was a spoof. Or you'd have suffered 20 times the humiliation.

Roger Green said...

Whereas I would never reveal the pangs of jr high/HS romance, though I have managed to forget them...wait: Valentina. Nope, it's faded again, thank goodness.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Ken. I wrote one of those, too. Fortunately, she only showed it to a few of her friends. But my face still burns when I think of it.