In the final few weeks of 7th grade at Ben Franklin Junior High School in Daly City, CA, I remember really getting along with a classmate named Jade. I seemed to make her laugh a bit and she was cute. I liked her.
I talked to her during recess in the waning days of the school year, gently chiding her for apparently failing to write anything in my yearbook. She told me to look again, so when I got home that afternoon I did.
Not only had she written a nice comment about hoping I’d have a great summer, blah-blah-blah, but… she had listed her phone number! Hey-o! I was extremely excited.
I think I waited a few weeks before steeling up the courage to give her a call. Courage? Hell, she had given me her number, right? Look, this was the first time this had ever happened to me, so I was pretty damned nervous. I called her up early on a Sunday night, probably when 60 Minutes was on (or maybe The Waltons — it was still sunny outside, I remember).
We talked for a while and it was all good, but I failed to deliver — you know, ask her out for some ice cream or go to the Serramonte 6 multiplex and see a movie. I just got shy about it all.
That would be our last conversation for the summer.
As memory serves (and we are talking a long time ago), I did look forward to seeing her when the first day of 8th grade commenced. But when I did see her, she looked a bit different — she had cut her hair short — and her attitude was different, too: she was totally, absolutely over me. I don’t think she even acknowledged me when I approached her to say hi.
Was I crushed? That might be a bit of an exaggeration. But I did really like her, and it was only then that I realized that she had perceived my failure to follow up on our one and only phone call as a rebuke of sorts, and that I wasn’t really interested in her, though I was.
Needless to say, my first real summer love didn’t come along for many years after that. After finishing up at Ben Franklin I entered Riordan High School, a private, Catholic all-boys institution in San Francisco that was truly terrifying, as there were only two kids I knew from my school going to this institution, which required a bus ride and a short commute on BART. And I didn’t get much action over the next four years, given that a) I hardly ever saw any females until my junior year, and b) when I did I was rather incompetent.
In any event, thinking about this anecdote recently, I did a cursory Yahoo search recently and discovered that Jade is in fact alive and living up in Northern California, and still has her maiden name.