Do you remember your first childhood crush? Mine was on a boy named Dexter, in my third grade class.
I don't remember much about him, except that he loved to draw, and drew a perfect Charlie Brown from Peanuts. Dexter sat across from me in class, so I watched him draw everyday instead of listening to our teacher. Actually, my third grade teacher's voice was reminiscent of the adult voices in the Charlie Brown television specials anyway-
a muffled bloc, bloc, bloc ... Our poor teacher rambled a bunch of jumbled grown-up words, that we "bright-eyed and bushy tailed" third graders, hadn't the slightest interest in, especially me, since Dexter was the center of my world. Our teacher's name was Mrs. Keysler, she wore cat-eyed sixties style glasses with a chain that jangled when she walked, thereby warning us of her presence at recess.
Anyway back to Dexter, who I wouldn't remember as well if it weren't for a humiliating experience in class one day. I was staring at him, my heart ricocheting in my chest, when I noticed a shiny whistle on his desk. Any other time I wouldn't have taken my eyes off Dexter, but this day was different, because he brought the whistle, and the whistle was stiff competition. Dexter's new whistle wasn't one of those toy whistles one would find in a Kracker Jack box... no sirree. Dexter's whistle was a genuine silver army grade whistle, and I was fascinated by it. Dexter noticed me staring at it resting on the corner of his desk by his drawing pad, so he quietly picked it up and placed it in my hand, while Mrs. Keyster continued with bloc, bloc, bloc, bah, bloc in the background... I felt an array of exciting new emotions overwhelm me, beginning with feeling like a different person. I was holding the whistle Dexter put in my hand, and sitting close enough to him to touch his copper colored hair. I was in a trance as I turned the whistle over and over in my hand, put it in my mouth, and blew it as hard as I could- the room went silent.
However, the hushed sound of children’s voices began to fill the empty silence, followed by that snickering sound children make before the finger pointing begins... It's such an annoying tactic among tattlers, whose goal at this time in their life, is early retirement from their duties as teachers pet. I could feel the stares, and of course, see their self-serving tattler fingers rise to the occasion, which happened to be in my direction! I heard one little girl cry, “She is sooo dumb!” as I sat there horrified, my face growing hot and flushed with humiliation.
Humiliation is just one of an array of emotions I associate with the day I blew Dexter's whistle; it's also one of those funny to me now, not so funny then, experiences especially since my teacher made me stand in the back of the classroom the rest of the day.
After that, Dexter (who may have turned out to be an illustrator) looked at me with a cautious look on his face for what seemed like the rest of my life, and the girl who called me “soooo dumb” turned out to be one of my closest friends, even if it was years later. We never know what our children are going through in a day, or experiencing with their first crush, do we?
More posts from this author on A Nice Place In The Sun
Monday, November 26, 2007
Posted by Ann Clemmons
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