Do you ever think about your old flames? I mean, really old. Like the crushes you had in elementary school or junior high? Well, I don’t. At least I didn’t until the other day.
I’m not quite sure what got the little engine in my brain on that track. Maybe it was the bagel I was picking at during breakfast. It was a rather doughy, disappointing version of a sesame bagel, not at all like the crisp tasty bagels of my youth. And remembering the bagels of my youth led me to thoughts of Marvin. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
Assuming you occasionally think about your earliest romances, do you ever contemplate what life might have been like if you had married the dreamboat you met in the sixth grade? Well, I never did. Not until I started thinking about Marvin. But Marvin was not the first. So let me start at the beginning. And in the beginning, there was Robert.
Robert Sunshine and I officially met in the fifth grade. It turned out that we lived on the same street in Brooklyn. It was a street that ran from one avenue to the next, and to my ten-year-old self seemed very long and daunting. After school I longed to see Robert, the best-looking boy at P.S. 48, but was too afraid to walk all the way down that scary street. So, instead, I would spend time in front of my house, hoping his mother would send him to my corner for a quart of milk. They apparently didn’t drink too much milk in their family, because I wasted a lot of time waiting for Robert.
Our relationship was sealed in the sixth grade, when we were both cast in the leads for the school play. I was the princess, and he was my prince. Thus, my fantasy was realized with the unwitting help of Mrs. McQuillan, our teacher, who was directing the production. Until Robert screwed up and was discharged from his princely role for bad behavior. I was devastated, but the show must go on. Randy took his place, but I never fell in love with Randy, although in retrospect, he was actually much cuter than Robert. But you couldn’t have convinced me at that time.
I lost touch with Robert after sixth grade. The street that separated us remained too long to travel, and we no longer went to the same school. I discovered much later in life that he was very successful. So, my future might have been bright had we stayed together. In retrospect, I think it’s best that we parted when we did. His dismissal as my prince no doubt saved me from a lifetime of being referred to as Mrs. Susie Sunshine.
And then there was Marvin. I met Marvin during my middle school years. Marvin’s family owned a bagel bakery in our neighborhood. It was a time when bagel bakeries made only bagels. Really good bagels that were a reasonable size, crisp on the outside, and soft on the inside. I have to say that a good old-fashioned Brooklyn bagel of my youth has spoiled me for all others.
But let’s get back to Marvin. Marvin had a crush on me. I was flattered and pretended to like him in return. But secretly, I had a crush on Marvin’s younger brother, Michael. Michael was friendly but didn’t seem particularly interested in pairing off in our little group of pre-teens. Nevertheless, I hung around Marvin to be near Michael. Not very honest of me, I will admit.
I don’t quite remember how it all ended. I just know that it did, and we all moved on. It’s just as well that I didn’t marry Marvin. I might have continued my infatuation with his brother, been unfaithful, and caused a love triangle with a disastrous conclusion. On the other hand, I might have been queen of a bagel dynasty. And perhaps never again have to put up with a fat, doughy facsimile of my favorite nosh!
I think every woman has had a “bad boy” in her life, and mine had the unlikely biblical name of Avram, or Av, as we called him back in the day. We met while I was in high school. He was a few years older than I and had quit school to join the army. We were introduced while he was on leave. I was seriously smitten. No one I knew had done that. He seemed so worldly and incredibly sexy. My parents were appalled by him, which made him even more desirable. He was stationed somewhere in Louisiana, and I would see him when he was on leave. So why didn’t I stay with Av? Well, he dumped me. Via a “Dear Jane” letter. He met someone in Baton Rouge, or wherever he was serving, and he was going to marry her. Marry her! And here I was, back in Brooklyn, sacrificing my senior prom because he wasn’t here to accompany me!
I have no idea what happened to Avram. Maybe he wound up as an accountant. Or perhaps a card-carrying member of The Hell’s Angels. In any event, I believe he did me a big favor. I might have run off with him if he had asked. And my path in life might not have led to where and with whom I am today. Which is exactly where I want to be!