My own little red haired girl (except her hair was brown).
The first girl that ever appealed to me because she was a girl was Eileen Donnelley who went to Burkett and Red Brick schools with us. It strikes me now that her face was similar to those of beautiful female Greek statues with a slightly longer nose, but in 1946, she and her long brown hair, often braided, were just, well, pretty. I was struck, smitten, and taken. There was no act nor word on my part to let her know that she was anything but a fellow student because it would have embarrassed me to tears had she known—we weren’t allowed to be open with our feelings and emotions, in those days, you know. As we played fox and geese with snow on the ground and pom-pom pull-away when the ground was clear she was my favorite target. Seeing her forty-five years after my graduation from high school, made my heart beat faster.
One room country schools were pretty important social institutions to our families. There were picnics once in a while, programs prior to holidays, and some sort of ceremony at the end of the school year all of which allowed us some unstructured time for doing what kids do. But mostly I remember our times during recess. Her parents and mine were acquainted but they didn't socialize so my interaction with her was limited to school and related events. We lived far enough away from each other over country roads that distance developed during summers. My memory includes telling my parents about her as being special. Their comments were limited to, “She's a nice girl.” They could have told me the two of us couldn't marry because she was Catholic but they didn't.
Now, I can send this to her and hope she feels a tiny bit more special than she did before because she was. Something might have blossomed between us but we moved to the Eldena School District and somehow she and I just didn’t connect as anything more than neighbors as we went through high school. Looking back on my history, I should have let her know how I felt about her at some appropriate time. We'd have made a good couple. I don’t think it would have been possible for me to do better.
I did send her this little story along with some memories of her father. She thanked me, said she cried while reading it, and didn't tell me my last line was wrong.