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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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first crush

Hey, my sister Ruth has been shortlisted for the Amelia Francis Howard Gibbons award! (award for children's illustrators, chosen by the Canadian Librarians' Assocation), for Two So Small (written by Hazel Hutchins). I have such a cool sister.

My only memorable childhood crush was in Grade 8, a boy named Norm Brown. Norm was the class clown, but a charming one. He was a big Beatles fan, the teachers all loved him, he was cute as a button and knew it. All the little girls in the class harboured secret crushes on him, including me.

Norm gave me my first kiss. Don't get excited...on that Valentine's Day, he kissed -every- girl on the cheek. But I still remember that kiss, or perhaps I imagine that I remember it. Soft yet determined, slightly damp.

My next brush with romance didn't come until near the end of high school. I wasn't really interested in the opposite sex in those years. They all seemed to be obsessed with dances and football and necking in the shadowy corners of the courtyard at lunchtime. Or perhaps that's what I convinced myself, since none of them were particularly interested in me. :-)

Anyway, it was the last day, and I was cleaning out my locker before going home to celebrate the beginning of the summer vacation. A boy named Mark asked if I wanted to go for a walk. Mark was a quiet sort. I don't remember much about him except that he occasionally fell asleep during the morning announcements. He and I sometimes exchanged a few words during class, but never anything approaching a personal level. He had come up beside me, and seemed nervous but somewhat eager when he pseudo-casually asked me if I'd be interested in going for a walk. I was flabbergasted and tongue-tied with panic. I remember mumbling some excuse about needing to get home to do something, and left Mark standing in the hallway.

I deeply regret my act of monumental tactlessness now, of course. And can't help wondering what would have happened if I had said yes.

I sometimes wonder what became of Mark and of Norm Brown. It's strange what small events leave such a lasting childhood memory, isn't it? I'm sure neither of them remembers me at all, but I can't help but be curious. Did Norm grow up to be a comedian, for example? Truck driver? Technonerdboy? Gigolo? Teacher? Is he still cute as a button?

Part of me is afraid to find out, and would almost prefer to leave Norm on his pedestal.

Norm? Are you out there?

Today's Blatherpic:

My eighth grade public school photo (Earnscliffe Public School, just in case anyone like Norm or Mark is doing a search on that name :-)). Norm Brown is highlighted in blue, I'm highlighted in red. Small world phenomenon: See the guy in the row above Norm, with the glasses? Allison's husband John hangs out with this guy's younger brother.

Today's Link:

Lileks (especially his Gallery of Regrettable Food).

Today's Poll Question:

You're driving a car at 2 a.m. in a deserted neighbourhood and come to a red light at an intersection. You look both ways; no other cars are in sight. Would you ignore the red light and drive through?

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