I'm a hopeful romantic.
I have been, for as long as I can recall....
Yep, all the way back to the first time that John Fowler arrived at the bus stop on my very first day of first grade.
He was taller than I was with his blonde hair parted to the side and sporting a cowlick that was fighting against the liberal amount of hair gel that his mom had apparently applied that morning.
He stood next to me. Him in his navy pants and short-sleeved, buttoned-down shirt, me in my plaid, pleated skirt and white blouse Two first graders at St. Patrick's grammar school...waiting for the bus.
We didn't say a word to each other...I just knew that he was the boy of my dreams...sometimes, when you're six, you sense these things.
But then, Carol Krutz showed up. She lived across the street from John and I think that she may have had a crush on him....
....not that I blamed her.
Yep, John Fowler made my young heart beat a little faster. The thought of him made me walk more quickly to the bus stop each morning...even on the days that I didn't really want to go to school.
I knew this because he was in my class... and because both of our last names both began with the letter "F".
More importantly, I knew this because, in Sister Virginie's first grade class, we sat in alphabetical order
which meant that John and I sat side by side for all of first grade with our desks touching.
Poor Carol Krutz was two rows away.
I wrote his name on my notebook...you know, when we finally learned to print the letter "N" some time in mid-September.
I probably even colored pictures for him....the kind with red hearts and arrows...and our initials.
Sadly, things with John and I never really went any where.
It may have been because, even though we lived only a block away from each other, co-ed play dates while attending Catholic school first grade weren't widely accepted back in the '60's.
It may have been that I got the distinct impression that my parents weren't particularly fond of him....
....especially after he broke out in Chicken Pox while sitting next to me during reading time on the rug that Thursday afternoon in late September...
I'll bet that it was the Christmas play.....in fact, I'm fairly certain of it.....
It was the first grade Christmas play...the one where I got to wear the blue sheet on my head in my theatrical debut as the Virgin Mary...opposite my somewhat shorter but none-the-less, dark and handsome, Joseph....
After numerous after school rehearsals and two performances of the story of the nativity for the PTO, John Fowler never really stood a chance...
...especially after we learned to print the letter "V"... and Michael Vitale gave me a red, heart-shaped box of chocolates for Valentine's Day.
Ah, young love...setting the foundation for a lifetime of romance...and a fondness for chocolate.