dressed in yellow she says hello

As far back as I can remember, I was always excited to start a new school year. Never nervous. The first day of each year I would find my desk and then scan the room for the cutest boy I would decide to have a crush on. I remember all of them, even in elementary school.

I was never good about keeping it a secret and it never donned on me, in most occasions, that perhaps they didn't like me back. Even if I followed them around the playground while they ignored me. I hate to admit I held this bad habit all the way through college!

1) Tommy Eaton was the first I remember. He was the Ken Doll of what my memory tells me might have been first or second grade. Blonde, feathered hair and blue eyes. Back when boys had cooties and girls never admitted a boy was cute. Well, I was different. While they sat in a circle with their pretty dresses playing jacks, I followed Tommy all over the monkey bars, through the swings, and passed the tetherball courts. I finally caught up to him one day and asked what he was doing. He told me he was making Jason (the kid who ate paste) do an initiation (how did he know this word?) for his club. He told me I couldn't join because I was a girl. I told him I could still do whatever Jason had to do, but better.

He laughed and shifted his attention to Jason and told him to run all the way around the soccer field. I trailed behind and eventually passed him. Jason gave up and never finished. I returned to Tommy and found him speechless, honestly admitting he didn't think I would be able to do it. That was the first time I realized I had talent as a runner. I felt more excited to have done something better than a boy, that I let go of my interest in following Tommy. I think I started hanging out by the kids in the soccer field from then on trying to play sports with the boys.

2) Tony Montoya was the next one. My sister will have to help me with this one, but I think it was second or third grade? This boy had a girlfriend, Meredith, but that didn't keep me from following him around and hoping for his attention. She was my first experience of having true jealousy. I am embarrassed to say I reveled inside the day she hit her head flipping over on the monkey bars. I honestly thought she wouldn't come back to school and then maybe Tony would like me. But.....she got stitches and was back at school, I remember being disappointed to see her (what an evil little girl I was!).

I had a birthday party and he was the only boy I invited. We had a break-dancing contest and he won. I ran crying to my room because I didn't win and hid for the rest of the party. I don't think he brought me a present. My adoration for him ended the moment I closed my bedroom door.

3) B.J. (I SWEAR that was his name!) was a trouble-maker. He always had a crew cut, I think this might have been third or fourth grade. Somehow I remember him wearing Vision Skateboarding t-shirts, but I have a hard time believing I was thrilled by skater clothes that young. He had a birthmark on his forearm. He wasn't very good with his schoolwork and that concerned me, since I was certain we were going to be married someday.

A girl named Sissle gave me a candy heart that said "Hot Shot" in my Valentine's Day card. It hurt my feelings. I knew she was right. Then I opened B.J.'s card and the hearts inside said "I Like You" and "U R CUTE". It could have been chance; his mom could have put them randomly into envelopes. But my heart skipped beats as I looked across the room and smiled at my crush who might have secretly liked me back!

4) Jason (not the paste-eating kid) left school every other Friday for skateboarding contests. His dad came to pick him up on a motorcycle and had hair to his waist; always tied in rubber bands. Jason definitely wore Vision and G&S clothing and his shoes were always ripped up. I thought it was because he was poor, but now I realize that's just what happens when you skate. I think this was fourth grade. I remember things really started to pick up between us one day after school. We went down the tunnel slide at the same time!

Then all of a sudden he wasn't at school the following week. I heard a rumor he missed too many days of school and was going to be expelled and that is why they moved. I was sad, but always wondered what he would do for work to support our family if he ever got seriously injured (weird that was important to me so young!).

5) A.J. Rutherford was for sure fifth grade. He had perfect teeth and brown eyes and hair. We sat out front on my lawn with our boom boxes listening to MC Hammer, Run DMC, The Beastie Boys, and Young MC tapes together. This boy actually liked me back and 'asked me out'. Which meant he thought we should hang out during recess. But since I wasn't used to this attention actually being given back it freaked me out. I broke up with him quickly and then felt a bit betrayed when he had a new girlfriend in sixth grade. Abby, she was the only girl in school who actually needed a bra. I heard they kissed under water at golfland and it made me glad it was her and not me. Kissing seemed so gross to me back then.

6) This was by far my most pathetic crush in the history of crushery: Mike Lynch. He reminded me of Fred Savage from The Wonder Years. I put all my boy focus on him from the end of 5th grade to 7th grade. If a boy told me he liked me or wanted to eat lunch with me I would say "sorry, I like Mike Lynch". We had class together in 5th or 6th grade and the desks were set up in a U shape. I was so thrilled when we sat directly across from each other so I could stare at him all day like a psychotic FREAK. One day I wrote on the bottom of my pro-wing high-tops with Magic Marker:




When I kicked my feet up onto the desk for him to see during reading time he laughed out loud!

Although there were many times I was proud to have made him laugh, he never liked me. I didn't accept that truth until I asked him to dance at a school dance and later someone told me he was looking for another girl during that song and wanted to dance with her. I was crushed and finally gave up. Only to see him in 8th grade and realize he was way too short for me anyway. He stopped growing and I didn't.