“And They Called It Puppy Love”


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!



14 thoughts on ““And They Called It Puppy Love”

  1. That takes me back to my first ‘obsession’ with a girl I sat next to in class. I was around 13 at the time, and it was fortunate that she felt the same. But we were both too scared to take it much further than allowing our legs to rub together under the desk, and occasionally sitting far too close to each other when we thought nobody was looking. It carried on much like that until I got a ‘real’ girlfriend at the age of 15, but we stayed friendly until we went our separate ways from school, two years later.

    I next met her at a school reunion, when we were in our early 30s. She was still attractive, and very friendly. I told her I had been married for six years, and she told me she was living with another woman, and was ‘happy to be a lesbian’. I wasn’t expecting that. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.


  2. Elizabeth, reading your post I realize that never retired the word “crush.” When I was young there was always some boy I had a crush on, and I loved to gush about my crush to all my girlfriends. I still like to say that I have a crush on a person or a book or a favorite song or anything that delights and makes me swoon❣️


  3. Ah, first love, Elizabeth. I had a massive crush on a boy called Jonathan Rowley when I was in the second grade. In the fifth grade I had a crush on a chap named Gareth. I can’t remember his surname and it was unrequited.


  4. Oh, this takes me back (and makes me laugh, too). I recall the boy I was completely smitten with in the 1st grade. His name was Randy F. What sends me into a fit of giggles now is that my best friend back then liked the other Randy (he was Randy M.) in our grade. She tried repeatedly and unsuccessfully to have me like her Randy. It was really nice of her to share, but…really, no one could hold a candle to MY Randy.


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