Okay, going to go in to the way back machine for this one. It's about old boyfriends, being totally wrong about something and not going to jail. And it's long and probably only interesting to me. :-)
I was raised in the church, I know I say this a lot but it really did shape the way I was raised in a lot of different ways. There are some subtle differences in growing up that happen if you are raised in an environment like that. A big one is around dating. Dating as a teenager is supposed to be about fun and hanging out and having a good time. Well in the church (in my church anyway) dating is really more about looking for your spouse. The way our youth minister described it dating is like a job interview. And so dating as a teenager in the church, especially dating other people in the same sisterhood of churches, is a little different than what is probably your experience. Talking about marriage at 15 or 16 was perfectly normal behavior. Not that we would get married that young...don't be silly. I was 18.
So anyway...this blog is about two different boyfriends I had before I started dating Brent. And a point where their stories cross in that "it's a small world" sort of way. The first boyfriend (though not chronologically) I'm going to talk about is Charlie. Charlie and I were completely mismatched and should have never EVER dated. And so as teenagers do we did off and on for close to three years. I first met Charlie up at the camp our church and sister churches went to during the summer. My sister wanted to take her fiance up to show him around the camp that had meant so much to her growing up and a friend of mine was head cook that summer so I tagged along for the ride. We were only going to spend the day up there and then head back.
As I was walking in to the dining hall to find my friend there was a boy laying down on one of the porch swings. As I walked by he craned so far to watch me walk that he fell out of the swing. Now how is that for a way to get a girl's attention? I laughed and kept on going. I ended up staying the night with my friend Amy and riding back in to town with her the next day instead of going back with my sister and her fiance. And that was the start of me and Charlie. We spent time together that day and exchanged addresses (this was back in the day where if you wanted to talk to someone who lived in another city or state you sent them writing on paper...through snail mail, I know, right? How did we ever survive?) and found out that we were actually going to be at the same camp later that summer working so we would see each other again soon. And I ended up seeing him even before that. He and his two friends decided to drive up to Albuquerque from Portales to see me. Not a lot to do in Portales and a trip to Albuquerque was better than sitting around watching the grass turn brown during the summer.
So for the next few years we did the long distance thing. Not in the traditional way, I dated other people, he dated other people, we just didn't tell each other about the other people. I think we did things to each other just to see how miserable we could make the other one. Once on a trip to Albuquerque as he dropped me off he said, "I love you." my response was the automatic, "I love you too." to which he said, "No you don't. You just think you should." What?? Okay... One time up at camp (stop snickering!) I was up working and hadn't mentioned to him I would be there, because I knew he would show up and I was interested in another boy that was up there...anyway.... he found out I was there and sent me letters. Lots of letters. See up at camp if you got mail the joke was to write something on the outside that would be then read out loud to everyone at mail call. So for the last three days of camp I got letters every day with a lot of "Oh baby, I miss you so much" written on the outside. A few weeks later he did show up to the camp I was working, it also happened to be right before my birthday and so he brought me a present. Charlie lotion. I know...that sounds really gross, but it was a perfume in the 80s Charlie and Charlie Girl. He brought me the big bottle of lotion so I would "Think of him everyday." I was allergic....
That Fall he came up to Albuquerque for the big marching band competition and my friend Chrystal and I went to see him. He was busy being the big man in front of his friends, putting down my school and their band. Now I had a lot of friends in marching band and besides that it was MY school so I did the only logical thing in response...I got together with one of his friends that was there. I was a peach in high school, I think I've mentioned that before? You would think that would be the end of our relationship but for whatever reason we kept getting back together off and on for another stretch. Though we were awful to each other each time. I can remember very clearly one night sitting at the kitchen table on the phone with him. Not talking. I can't remember why I didn't hang up, but there was something I was waiting for, so I sat in silence on the phone (long distance! I cannot believe my parents didn't kill me for that) for ages and I thought..."I am going to end up married to this guy sitting in silence for the rest of my life." Thank goodness I was wrong about that one!
The summer before my senior year and his freshman year in college we ended up at camp together again. It was a weekend camp and I was working with my friend again. Charlie showed up to visit and had a beard. I took one look and said..."Shave" that was how I greeted him. But that night we sat up late talking, sitting on the swing sharing stories and for the first time in our entire time together I thought, I might actually love him. Really love him. And the funny thing is we weren't a couple right then. Just friends. And barely that. The next morning he came in to the kitchen with a face that looked like it had been through a meat grinder. He had shaved. One of the guys he bunked with said, "I don't know why he did it, but to shave a beard with no cream is brutal." I knew why he had done it. And I felt a little bad because the night before while we were talking the beard had grown on me and I thought it looked nice...ooops!
So fast forward again to part way in to my senior year. Charlie was coming in to town with his college singing group. He wanted to see me and after our time together at the end of the summer I thought, okay, this might actually work. The knock on the door comes I open it and yell..."Ricky!" Not realizing what he was doing he brought a friend with him from college to visit. See, his friend sort of knew my family and Charlie thought it would be fun to bring him. Not realizing that sort of knew my family translated to his older brother and my sister had been engaged at one point in time. My parents LOVED his mom and brother and sister and everyone had been heartbroken when Matt and Susan split up. Oh and had Rick forgotten to mention that he and I had dated when we were younger?
My parents came out and greeted Charlie politely and then fawned all over Ricky, excuse me...Rick. How's your mom? How's the rest of the family? What are you doing? On and on. The light was beginning to dawn on Charlie that he had been duped. It got worse when we went to visit a friend of mine. Charlie decided to bring out the "big man" persona. He popped his cowboy boots up on Cinnamon's table and told me (yes, told me) to get him something to drink. Rick on the other hand was polite and nice and took the time to fill Cinnamon in on our past history. Which just made Charlie madder as he realized how tied our families had been.
See, as I mentioned Susan (my sister) and Matt (Rick's brother) had been engaged. And during the time they were together I met Rick. We were friendly as the beat upon younger siblings of big personality older siblings are. We understood each other pretty well. My sister told me that Rick (though it was Ricky at that time) thought I was cute but I really didn't think he did. I just thought she was trying to embarrass me by having me flirt with him only to get rejected. Yes, I had serious trust issues where she was concerned, you can't say you blame me. But it ended up that it was true and we did get together. In that very innocent way you do when you are 12 and 14. And we spent a lot of time writing letters to each other and became pretty good friends through it all. Though we only had one very short stretch where we were any sort of real couple and like I said, I was 12 or 13 so it was pretty sweet and innocent even then. And this was the first time I had seen him in a few years.
So we all went out that night and then made plans to get together the next day. Now here is where I am not sure if it was a set up by Charlie the whole time (long awaited revenge for me getting together with his friend) or something he came up with on the spot when he realized how much attention Rick was getting. But anyway, we all went to the mall together and while we were there Charlie met up with two girls he knew. They were college age girls and took great joy in treating me like I was a child as I was still in high school. As Charlie flirted relentlessly with them in front of me I, of course, got madder and madder. But instead of making a big scene I went for a walk. Standing up on the second floor at Coronado Mall looking down at Charlie and the two girls (they knew I was watching and put on quite the show for me) I reached my boiling point. Rick had come up to talk to me. And I tried to talk him in to lifting the cement planter next to us and dropping it on Charlie's head. He laughed, assuming I was joking, then spent the next half hour telling me hilarious college stories to calm me down. It worked. By the time he was done talking I was less homicidal and just amused. And I knew Charlie and I were never getting back together again. Finally.
Rick and I spent a little more time then talking about Matt and Susan and how sad that had made everyone. Though it was the right decision for those two it was especially sad for me because I already knew that her current husband was not a good guy. And to know how close she had come to being with a good guy who had a family my family actually liked it was a little depressing. So then Rick made the offhand comment that he and I should get married to tie the families together after all. So we made one of those pacts you normally only see on sitcoms that if we weren't married to other people by the time we were old...like 30... we would marry each other. He of course was lucky and dodged that bullet as I was married to Brent just over a year later. But it was still a funny turn of events. One boyfriend comes to visit and you end up with a pseudo-engagement to another in the same weekend.
And, Rick, if you are reading this...I totally wasn't joking about dropping the planter on Charlie's head....