In 1960, when I was in eighth grade, Paul Anka made a hit with his tune “Puppy Love.” It was in the long tradition of young love discounted by adults. Since I was part of the huge baby boom coming into our teen years, misunderstood by our parents, it was a very popular song. Puppy love seems a pretty good put down to dismiss the feelings that first seem to pop up in early adolescence. Perhaps the name allows the parent to stave off for a while the realization that their child is growing up and will make her own romantic choices
My granddaughter found the diary I kept in fifth grade. I make constant references to “James” a boy in my class. I note if he is in class, if he is absent, if he notices me or not. Then I relate the painful moment when “Janice” tells “James” that I like him. This, of course, violates all the rules, and I get back at her by telling “Andy” that “Janice” likes him. My grandchildren think it hilarious that I had a crush on a boy and promptly looked him up in my class yearbook. They laughed even harder when they saw what “James” looked like. They didn’t find him cute.
But I think I was onto something in fifth grade. Amazingly enough, one night I was at a bar and noticed an attractive man across the room. We met up and unbelievably enough, it was “James!” No more came of it then than in fifth grade, but my tastes seemed not to have changed much.
Here’s to those first crushes, those puppy loves, that time when we begin to think that maybe romance isn’t “totally gross.” It’s the time in our lives we stop having to close our eyes when two people kiss in the movies!