Tuesday, October 2, 2018

To All the Girls I've Loved Before ~ From Age Zero to 18 ~ With Whom I Got Nowhere

First of all, to any husbands of these women, I am no threat to you.

You did not know them when I first knew them. As you will see, even if you did know them when I first knew them, I was not then nor am I now a threat to you.

In the women department, you will see I am no threat to anyone.

Love is a strange word. It can be puppy love all the way down to unreciprocated love. Detest is the opposite of love. Like is somewhere in between. I am pretty sure none of the females mentioned here detest me. They may even like me.

But "To All the Girls I've Liked Before" is not a provocative title, and it would require a lot more writing. So let's stick with what we've got.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Mary Beth Pytell ~ Grosse Pointe Farms MI

From birth to age 5 Mary Beth Pytell was my neighbor and buddy on Mount Vernon Avenue in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan.

I don't remember a lot about what we did together. I do remember a few times we went to her grandparents' bar in Hamtramck to hang out. No alcohol was offered or served to us. We hung out.

At some point older neighbors arranged for us to be married, and they pulled us around in a wagon like a 5 year old husband and wife. I am pretty sure we did not even sneak a wedding kiss.

That said, I declare this to be evidence that Mary Beth was my first romantic interest. Her father went on to be a prominent judge, so I should be careful about what I say. Later in life I found reason to steer clear of lawyers and judges if at all possible.

In the mid 1980's Mary Beth and I were coincidentally neighbors in the Division Street neighborhood of Chicago. We got together for one dinner. She did not like that I smoked cigarettes while she ran iron woman competitions. We never got together again.

As you can see, Mary Beth turned out alright.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Lucy Lynn Williams ~ Dallas TX

Image result for beautiful 6 year old girl

This is not her. It is as close as I can remember.

In 1962 we moved to Dallas, Texas. Lucy Lynn Williams was my neighbor and buddy. I lived on Princess Lane and she lived on either Lancelot Drive or Duchess Trail. It was a royal neighborhood, but she lived across the back alley from me.

I played Barbie dolls with Lucy Lynn. I hope and believe I most often worked with Ken and she worked with Barbie, but I am not sure.

My older brothers then ridiculed me for playing with Barbie dolls. Thus, one day I marched over to Lucy Lynn's house as usual. When we sat down she pulled out the Barbie dolls as usual.

I mustered up the belief that I no longer liked Barbie dolls and the courage to tell her, "Six year old boys do not play with Barbie dolls." Then I got up and went home.

My parents reported that Lucy Lynn was heartbroken, as reported to them by her parents. I stood strong only to appease my pinhead Barbie phobic brothers.

Lucy Lynn's father was a high level FBI agent. After JFK was shot their house was filled with high level FBI folks. By that time I palled around with Lucy Lynn again, only not to play Barbie dolls.

For all I know I may have seen J. Edgar Hoover at Lucy Lynn's house.

If you believe certain rumors, J. Edgar dressed up like Barbie on occasion, though that mental image is not appealing. If he dressed like that while on duty at Lucy Lynn's house in my presence I do not recall it. But he may have done so.

My parents and brothers said Lucy Lynn was a strikingly beautiful girl. I can not remember her face, only that she had very long hair. I have no photo of her, so we must rely on my parents' recollection and my pinhead Barbie hating brothers as evidence that she was beautiful.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Hillary Richmond ~ Dover MA

Image result for 8 year old tomboy

This is not her. It is as close as I can remember.

In 1964 we moved to Dover Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. Hillary Richmond was my buddy at school, though we did not live near each other. Hillary was a very popular tomboy who could beat most boys in sports, especially me.

Hillary was good looking in a rugged tomboy way, but not beautiful. Despite the fact that she could squash me like a grape, she liked me, which made me like her back. A lot.

For my 8th birthday I wanted to have Hillary attend my party. I invited her verbally and she accepted verbally. My mother did not think it was appropriate to have only one girl at a party among a bunch of boys.

This to me made no sense. This was progressive Massachusetts before Massachusetts even knew it was progressive.

I did not even know what progressive meant, but it was high time to hunker down and be something like what might be known as progressive in the future.

Further, Mom grew up with 2 protective brothers and had a little tomboy in her darn self. But Hillary did not need protecting from me. I needed protecting from her. She could squash me like a grape if she wanted, which she apparently did not want to do.

My famously judicious Dad would likely have sided with me. But he traveled a lot that year and thus had no say in the matter come decision time. 

Despite my reasoning and pleading Mom vetoed Hillary at my party.

That pretty much put the kibosh on my friendship going forward with Hillary Richmond. She did not understand, and I could not explain it.

I have no photo of Hillary. Suffice it to say she was good looking in a rugged tomboy way and could squash me like a grape.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

All females from this point forward resided in Atlanta GA.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Liz Hendley

In 1966 we moved to Sandy Springs, a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.

I began 4th grade and was immediately attracted to Liz Hendley, as were many. I found no opportunity to express that attraction until Valentine's Day.

The morning of February 14, 1967 I boldly went to school with the smallest Whitman's Sampler ever made. The size of a wallet, purchased with my own money. I proudly left it on Liz's desk, likely with some note, and dashed away hoping no one had seen me.

Moments later Pat Almand handed the largest Whitman's Sampler ever made 
to Dixie Lagrone. The size of a Buick and probably purchased by his parents. Pat handed it directly to Dixie.

Having seen that, I thought of nuclear fallout public service announcements instructing students to 'duck and cover' under one's desk. I gave thought to that, only I wanted to peel up the linoleum floor tiles and hide under those.

Sweet as she was, later in the day Liz thanked me for the candy. Maybe she got another half dozen much larger boxes from others. I paid zero attention. My romance with Liz had zero future.

As you can see, Liz turned out alright.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

(Dixie Lagrone, Becky Farmer)

I put these two names in parentheses because they were never my romantic interest. They were friends. Particularly Dixie. Becky was my neighbor for a few years until her family moved somewhere nearby.

Dixie was my buddy from 4th through 12th grade. She dated one of my best friends in high school, and I tried to lobby on his behalf throughout their minor teenage trials and tribulations.

She may have counseled me about my romantic 
trials and tribulations. As you will see, those were so few and far between she did not have much to advise about. 

No, the photo above was not taken last week. It is the only shot I have of both together. Trust me. They have changed little.

Dixie and Becky turned out alright.

But let's get back to my romantic grade school regression.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Lori Fancher

I began 5th grade and was immediately attracted to Lori Fancher, as were many. Unlike with Liz Hendley, I did not wait until Valentine's Day to express that attraction.

I quickly gave Lori my ID bracelet via some 3rd party intermediary. She gave it back to me in person by the end of the day with gracious appreciation and kind regrets.

This marks the shortest nonromantic liaison of my life from birth through high school.

As you can see, Lori turned out alright.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In 6th grade puberty began to kick in. I was entirely oblivious to this until my teacher, the legendary Burma Lockridge
loudly made the following hallway announcement for the entire class to hear:

"Peter Stoddard, you are growing tall and losing your baby fat."

Taking that to heart, I decided to give up romantic pursuits until after all that baby fat shed away. This consumed about three years.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Anne Lawless

I began 9th grade with a marginal degree of confidence there was not a whole lot more baby fat to shed. If there was I might be 23 before I shed the last of it. That would spell an entire high school tenure without pursuing romantic interests. I had to resume action.

I was immediately attracted to Anne Lawless, as were many. I asked her to some dance, and she actually accepted. We went to the dance and danced.

Having zero experience with acceptance by a female, I had no clue how to capitalize on success. I did not ask Anne out again until maybe 11th grade.

I think we might have had a good time on that 11th grade date. We probably danced. Still clueless about what to do with even a whiff of good fortune, I never asked Anne out again.

As you can see, Anne turned out alright.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I should point out during this interlude that from 8th to 12th grade I mowed lawns, worked construction, washed dishes & bussed tables at a greasy restaurant and picked up residential household garbage. These jobs did not leave a person smelling good, particularly me.

As my teenage career progressed each job I had left me smelling worse than the last. One, three or five showers would not necessarily remove the stench.

This probably had zero to do with my romantic success or lack thereof. I just think it merits pointing out as a possible alibi.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Cindy Young

In 10th grade I decided to venture out beyond the limits of my high school district so that perhaps my reputation for romantic ineptitude might have lagged behind.

This meant Peachtree Presbyterian Church Youth Fellowship. It was not an ideal place to venture out, since a whole lot of my female high school friends also attended Peachtree Presbyterian Church Youth Fellowship. Anyway, it was worth a shot.

At a week long summer camp I was immediately attracted to Cindy Young, as were many. We kinda got to like each other.

My high school female friends were good sports and mentioned nothing to Cindy about my romantic ineptitude. That meant we might have mildly been an item for about 3 or 4 days.

Then, after camp, despite having a driver's license, I could not figure out a way to see Cindy if I asked her out and by remote chance she accepted. After all, she lived in a different high school district, and GPS had not yet been invented. So I didn't ask her out. Ever.

As you can see, Cindy turned out alright.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I shall stop naming names now. In later high school and throughout college my ineptitude involved women who may or may not know where I live. They may or may not want to know or even care where I live. Either way, this is a good place to stop.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

We can draw some conclusions here. I have an eye for pretty extraordinary females, even if they do not have an eye for less than extraordinary me.

If they formed a club I would like to join it, but I would not know what to do there if they ever decided to let me in. Perhaps I could make myself useful and wash dishes.

If they see this they may say I flatter myself by associating myself with them, no matter how far in the distant past I claim to have associated myself with them. I could not agree more.

I do not claim conquest with these ladies. I confess failure. Colossal failure. But if you are going to fail, you might as well fail with the best.

There is still time for me to succeed, only not that much time. Relatively speaking, I haven't done all that well with the time behind me, which in all likelihood is significantly longer than the time ahead of me.

But I can not fret about such things. I am a forward thinking person, so I better follow those instincts and commence to thinking forward.

I may need a few more showers to rid myself of that 12th grade trash collector funk. Perhaps there is a new digital odor removal app I do not know about and would be unable to operate if I learned about it.

Maybe my future lies with FarmersOnly (dot) com. There I might find some woman many states away who smells as bad as I do. Maybe she owns so much livestock that I might not smell so bad by comparison. Or maybe she owns enough acreage that we need not spend time close to each other except for infrequent attempts at romance.

But evidence reveals I do not settle for unattractive women, even if they choose not to settle for me. Even if FarmersOnly (dot) com conceals that lady with the poor judgement of my dreams, I ain't moving to some agrarian society many states away.

She is gonna have to fly me there and back.

I clearly have not learned much. This may take a while.

And I don't have all that many whiles left.

Image result for failed romance

To be continued. Or not.


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