In June of 1984, Bruce Springsteen released Born in the U.S.A. The famous album cover offered up a picture of Bruce's incredible backside in a pair of nice-fitting blue jeans with the red and white stripes of the American flag in the background. Born in the U.S.A. was the first cassette tape that I bought. And Bruce Springsteen, his style and his music provoked my first really big crush on a guy.
Of course I had many little girl crushes before. When I was 5, I thought Terry Banholzer was better that an ice cold bomb pop on a hot summer day. And by second grade, I wanted to marry the boy with the pretty eyes and the big curls of brown hair. And eventually, I "loved" every member of the 1985 St. Louis Cardinals at one time or another. What pair of best friends didn't fantasize about growing up to marry Keith Hernandez and Tommy Herr?
But the gymnasium supervisor who worked my volleyball practices triggered the biggest crush I have ever had. He wore his jeans just like Bruce Springsteen and sometimes he wore a red bandana on his head. He was so cute. A simple hello or a grin from him made me blush with nervousness. While I loved my volleyball, the conversations with my friend Diane on the way home from practice revolved soley around Tom. I looked forward to seeing him at practice or at church on Sunday. Crushing on Tom made me happy, at times giddy. It added excitement to my young life.
Crushes are a part of growing up. They ARE fun and exciting and sometimes disappointing. Even after Tom rode off into the sunset in his red VW, there were more crushes.
But like so many other things in life, there's nothing quite like the first.