So thanks to Michigan Elite Teens, I took care of my financial woes. Well…kind of. The next issue on the docket was my girl problems. I wasn’t exactly a lady’s man. There are inherent dating issues that come with being broke. As Biggie Smalls said, “Be broke…girls won’t date you! True story. When your broke, being stylish and attractive isn’t really an option. I spent most of my developing years without things like a wardrobe, hair products and cologne. When I was finally able to buy some of those things, I was clueless.
As for dating, I was always a mess. My very first crush was Angie Peccia in 2nd grade. Before I could tell her, she moved away. After her was Barb Cronk, who I crushed on from 3rd through the 7th grade. How did that go? Well, I’m pretty sure I drove her crazy. The evidence? One day, her and Jennifer Mayer decided to hold me down, take my shoes off and throw them in the middle of Middlebelt Road. True story!
Things didn’t change much at Franklin Jr. High. The one thing that did change was the pool of beautiful girls to choose from. I wasn’t going to, but I’ll just air out what every guy between 1989-1991 was thinking at Franklin regarding the girls. Call it the who was hot list. There was the Carrie Green and Jennifer Docusen click. Then you had the Liz Gates and Kelly Goers group. Kelly had the most beautiful red hair, and a great personality to go with it. Can’t forget the other red-headed stand out, Jennifer Waddell. Then there was the ever-stylish Lisa Rooney. Just about every guy that I knew had at least a small crush on these gals.
The one who really stole my heart was Monica Gains. Monica was in my Life Science taught by Ms. Wideman. It’s crazy that I remember that. It might have something to do with singing Stevie-B’s “Because I Love you” in class while Ms. Wideman was in the hall. Everyone thought because I was sitting next to Stacy Dorado that I was singing it to her. The truth is, while I did also crush on her a bit, I was more or less singing to Monica Gains who was across from me (no one even had a clue). I was really just singing. It wasn’t like my eyes were focused on either of them. I was too shy to do that. I do remember Stacy making a big deal about it, and a few people laughed at me later because Stacy made it clear she had no interest whatsoever. Teenage girls could be so cruel. That turned out to be embarrassing, but I remember Monica and Billie Wright actually making it a point to say how sweet it was. From then on, it was all about Monica.
When Valentine’s Day rolled around, I purchased a necklace with a heart-shaped pendant for her.She gladly accepted it,
but to my dismay, it was nothing more than a feeble attempt to woo her into being my girl. However, unlike so many other girls, Monica never pushed away from me. We remained very good friends throughout our time at Franklin.
If I remember correctly, she even put a nice message in the 9th grade yearbook about still wearing that necklace. Better than that, as a testament of how genuine Monica actually was, she even brought the necklace up at our 10 year Wayne Memorial High School reunion. That was one of my most memorable moments at the reunion.
I imagine teenage boys and girls are probably as bad if not worse today as they were in the 80’s and 90’s. I remember dating Michelle Sadley for a couple of weeks, only to break up for reasons that I still do not know even to this day. This was my first experience with true heartbreak. Out of the blue, I received this mean letter topped off with a breaking up message. We might have only dated for maybe two weeks or so, but I was pretty crushed, and didn’t have a clue. I also remember the sweet revenge I got from dancing with her sister most of the night at an 8th grade dance, just after we broke up. It impacted Michelle so much that she approached me later that night and apologized. We didn’t really talk much after that. I wonder how that played out when the two of them got home. Michelle must have been furious.
The point in sharing all of this is to paint a picture that shows how clueless I was with relationships. I would hear stories all the time about this person and that person hooking up. There was tons of peer pressure to have physical relations with the opposite sex, and I was just like every other obnoxious boy going through puberty. I just wasn’t all that attractive to others, so none of that ever happened. I don’t even think I had my first kiss on the lips until I was 15, on a van on the way home from working at Michigan Elite Teens.
So the picture on my canvas as a young teenager looked like this: I was crazy about basketball, but couldn’t get myself a chance to play on the team. I crushed on a couple of different girls, all of whom the same feelings were not fully reciprocated. My home life remained in shambles, with my father going in and out of hospitals, and my mother working the graveyard shifts for McDonald’s and Burger King. To top it all off, every once and a while, someone from the neighborhood would always try me, and I’d end up in a fight or two. With all of this drama, my education became less and less important. I wasn’t attending church anymore. I was at this point in my life where I didn’t know…I just didn’t know anything. I don’t even know what I didn’t know. I was lost. I felt alone. I tossed and turned in bed every night wondering how terrible tomorrow would be, for I knew it wouldn’t be a good day. It seemed as though it never was. Perhaps this might help my peers understand why I was rarely at school. Why does a kid miss 25-30 days per semester? Because of stuff like this.