Like A Trip Back To Middle School

Friday, April 11, 2008

flashback friday: travis's "kodak moment" pick-up line reminded me of my 5th grade crush

"Writing the Autobiography" essay, Spring 2003

To say that I was boy crazy when I was in elementary school is an understatement. I was six years old when I developed my first crush. It wasn’t on a real boy, of course. My love was a celebrity. I’d see him on television and my young heart would skip a beat. I was in love. And who was this man, you ask? Not a New Kid On the Block. Not Uncle Jesse from Full House – of course he was dreamy, but not my true love. No, the man that I was in love with was Mark Summers, from Nickelodeon’s Double Dare. I obviously didn’t have very high standards in first grade, but back then I thought he was beautiful. I have pictures from my seventh birthday party, standing in the bowling alley smiling at the camera with my hair in braided pigtails and proudly sporting a bright pink Double Dare t-shirt.

My taste in boys improved with age, however. In second grade, when I caught my first glimpse of the twenty-something who lived around the block from me, I told my friends at school in wonder how he was “even cuter than Mark Summers!” And then came John B. He was in Mrs. Laporte’s class, and my best friend Kim and I would sit at the lunch table closest to him in the cafeteria, giggling about how cute he was. Imagine my ecstasy when a girl in my class played the game MASH for me and it revealed that John and I were going to get married! And a third grader who claimed to be psychic told me that he’d had a vision of me marrying a boy with brown eyes. And John had brown eyes! I was in love. I spent the entire summer after second grade writing him letters weekly. He didn’t reply to even one of them, and my eight-year-old heart was broken. But it all ended up being okay because two years later, he ended up my square dance partner and my boyfriend, for an entire week. I was the envy of the entire fourth grade. But like all great romances of the twentieth century, it did not last. By the next week, John was square dancing with Stephanie, I was square dancing with Kevin, and the love that we’d had for one another was a distant memory.

But nobody could compare to Paul. Paul was the epitome of ten-year-old dreaminess. He had it all. The blond hair, the blue eyes – he was the Zack Morris of the fifth grade, and everyone loved him. The girls all wanted him and the boys all wanted to be him. I know that’s cliché, but there’s no other way to say it because he was just one of those boys. Even my mom’s youngest sister, my twenty-four year old Aunt Ruth, would giggle with me when I’d tell her how cute he was, saying, “If that boy was fifteen years older...” Okay, yeah, my family’s sick, but now do you see how cute Paul must have been? He lived down the street from me, and even my mom thought that I should marry him. She always teased me about having a crush on him, which I denied the entire year to her, but boy did I have it bad. At school, my friends and I came up with a secret name for him so that we could talk about how cute he was without anyone knowing. His name? Cody. Why Cody? Well, because every time we saw him, it was a “Kodak Moment”. Oh how I loved that boy, and it was obviously meant to be because a computerized love compatibility game at the local amusement park, Adventureland, revealed that we were made for each other after I inputted our names and our birthdays. And I had an edge over the other girls who loved him too. Back in first grade, he had fought with another boy over me on the playground during recess. I knew we belonged together. Inspired by the movie My Girl (well, convinced that Paul would die a tragic death by bee stings before we got to fulfill our destiny to be together), I wrote a confession of my love to him while I was at my best friend Kelli’s house. But alas, I never had the guts to give him my letter, and after a summer spent pining away over him, I entered middle school and was introduced to two other elementary schools worth of boys. Eventually, Paul ended up at a private school anyway, and his presence in my life was reduced to memory and the few Kodak moments that had actually been captured in pictures.

Things changed when I got older, of course. No longer did I obsess over game show hosts and classmates. No, college came, and I found a new love: hockey players. My love for hockey players had grown slowly but surely over the course of the previous six years, starting on a small scale (little crushes on my brother’s teammates) and gradually growing to the extremes of borderline stalking Hartford Wolf Pack AHL players. By the time I hit college, however, I had calmed down a bit and set my sites on the slightly more attainable college hockey players, and of course, the way to do this was by managing NYU’s team.

Okay, fine. I guess nothing really had changed. There were still the nicknames. The boy who walked around a bit too freely in the locker room whenever I entered was “Not So Ugly Naked Guy” (sometimes N-Sung for short). And there was “Yellow Hat Boy” and “Abercrombie Boy” – there were just so many of them, and they were all so cute!

By my sophomore year in college, I had expanded my horizons a bit. Oh sure, I was still enthralled by my boys (that year, we acquired a player who I am still convinced is one of the most physically perfect human beings to ever walk the face of this planet – I swear, that boy is single-handedly responsible for global warming, but that is another story), but I had also discovered the (literal) beauty of opposing teams. I’ll never forget that first night in Poughkeepsie that December, gazing at wonder with my fellow manager, Mary, at the Marist players that kept walking by. It became clear within minutes why the team was called the Red Foxes – DAMN were they foxy! Mary and I made no secret of our attraction to the entire Marist team, particularly their star defenseman. NYU ended up playing Marist in the first round of league playoffs that year, and I can only imagine what the Rex Foxes must have thought when they walked by our team to go to their locker room and were met with thirty pairs of watchful eyes, looking them up and down. “Oh, come on, you think those guys are hotter than us?” one Violet asked us in disbelief. Of course I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, but you know what they say, if you ask a stupid question… And that was only Marist. The next week, when we were in Indianapolis for Nationals, we had the captain of our team ready to set us up with the hotties from the Central Connecticut State University team, who happened to be dining in the very same T.G.I. Fridays that we were in. A year later, we asked the cute backup goaltender for SUNY – Albany to take a picture with us. With NYU, Marist, Central Connecticut, and Albany all in the same league (and let’s not forget those Siena hotties), it was easy to forget that I was supposed to be watching the game and not the guys.

I’d like to tell you that with less than three weeks left in my college career, as I stand on the brink of the real world, that I’ve matured. I’d like to tell you that I look back on all of the MASH games, and the nicknames, and the crushes and I’m embarrassed to think of how stupid and silly it all really is. But the truth is, I’m not. I look back on my boy crazy past and a smile is instantly brought to my face. It’s just part of who I am.

As for the future? Well, nothing is certain. But I can pretty much guarantee that I will be marrying Dan and living with him, our four kids, and our pet goat in an apartment in Pennsylvania, right next door to our best friends Mary and [______ *name omitted so Mary doesn't kill me!*], their two kids, and their pet turtle. And whenever I start to question my fate, I remember back to that day in second grade when the clairvoyant third grader prophesized my marrying a boy with brown eyes. I smile, reminding myself that MASH would never lie, and I go back to coming up with names for my kids.



  • At April 11, 2008 at 6:06 PM , Blogger Becky said... I just read this post (and LOVED it) and now I need to immediately play MASH!! I'm really nervous though because I will not be able to bear it if name I want doesn't get picked!


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