A sailor in his dress blues, bell bottom trousers, sailors cap, spit shine shoes with biceps of steel, he was everything my hero. I was five or six years old and when I asked my Uncle Eddie to wait for me so I could grow up and marry him, he said he would. Mom said I couldn’t marry him even if he could wait because we don’t do that where we come from. “Besides, it’s a sin and the kids would come out with all kinds of problems.”
David Haley was to be my next target of ambition. He lived next door and he was the same age as me. We played together every day because there weren’t any girls in the neighborhood other than my sisters and Mom said we all needed to make other friends. David was kind of cute but mostly he was a rough and tumble kid who showed me how to play in the woods, swing from a rope swing and cross Buckeye Brook without getting caught. We got engaged as seven-year-olds and even held a wooded wedding that summer with all of our brothers and sisters in attendance. We’d go home each night when the street lights came on and walk to school together every day. Then one year David stayed back. I didn’t mind walking with a kid a year behind me but then he stayed back again and it got a bit awkward. We drifted apart as lovers often do.
I can’t remember in which order they fell but I’m still enamored with the memory of a pure, naïve nine-year-old schoolgirl crush on Michael Sweeney. No, it was Jeffrey Morgan. I knew just as surely as I am sitting here before you that I would marry Jeffrey Morgan. He sat at a desk two rows in front of me in the fourth grade of St. Kevin School. Sister Rosalie would be shocked to know the real reason that I underperformed that year. I don’t honestly know what fourth graders are supposed to learn, but I learned that year about hair as golden as a halo. And my future husband. Or was it Michael Sweeney? Actually, it was both. I flip-flopped on a daily basis between the two. Michael had the roundest, bluest eyes I’d ever seen, such a handsome boy. Jeffrey was just drop dead gorgeous. Even a fourth grader could see he was destined to be a heartbreaker.
Then, an unexpected tragedy struck. The Sisters of the Order of Notre Dame got mad at the once again misbehaving twins and told Mom that they were both retarded! Apparently, that was the last straw and all of us kids were yanked from St. Kevin’s and sent to the ever less than, “Public School”.
Not to be defeated, I found Dean Haggarty pleasantly awaiting my ambitious attention. He carried my books home from school for me one afternoon in the sixth grade. I was smitten. Mom caught wind of it and put the kibosh on that little budding romance. No future Mrs. Haggarty was I.
Aahh, Gorton Junior High and Angelo Quaglietta. He was a hall monitor and wore an orange strappy thing while he brimmed his eternal smile waving us along to class. Left, right, up the stairs, down the stairs. Always with a positive, upbeat, contagious energy. Angelo was the most charismatic person I’d ever encountered. I loved him from afar. But that didn’t curtail my plans to someday ensnare his heart and become the Mrs. Angelo Quaglietta I was meant to be. Only high school could do that.
As you may have surmised by now, my ambitions as a child were mostly of the amorous variety. It wasn’t until I was a junior in high school that I realized that no armored knight was waiting around to marry me so I’d better buck up and prepare for a career.
As for what I want to do when and if I grow up? I’ve finally decided that daydreaming about husbands has found its proper place.
I’m discovering and embracing, as we speak, the creative, athletic and curious human I was born to be, the real, authentic, one and only me.
Reposted from 8.30.18