Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Who Is This They?

Harry B. Sanderford

In 1963 I was in the first grade. Pterodactyls had ceased crossing overhead but clocks still had hands on them. My teacher, Mrs. Miniard was teaching my class how to tell time when the news came that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. It was the first time I'd heard the word. They rolled a television into our classroom to let us watch the coverage. They say that anyone who was around back then remembers exactly where they were and what they were doing. They say this about most significant historical events, murders, and moon landings. They'll say it about the most recent horrors at the World Trade Center too, and they'll be right.
They also say it about your first love. And while I don't recall exactly where I was when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., John Lennon, or Jack's brother Bobby, were gunned down. I do know that in 1963 my brother Roy was in the second grade and in love with a second grader named Becky Heron. It could have been monkey see monkey do, or merely coincidence but I was secretly smitten with another Becky, a first grader named Becky Brown. Work as I would against it, I could not staunch the flow of cartoon hearts which streamed embarrassingly from my juvenile cranium in her presence.
They're right of course, about remembering important events that occur during your lifetime. As for first love, I reserve that particular first (as well as a few important others) for a girl that would not come along for another twelve years. A girl I vividly remember. I don't know about Roy, but I can't really picture those pioneer recipients of our affections. I do recall that Becky Brown had whatever it takes to make a six year old boy who professed to hate girls, think of little else. I also recall of her a marked absence of teeth. Zero front, uppers or lowers. What a woman!

Hard to believe it's already been 10 years since I wrote this.  But I was right about them being right. Right?

18 comments:

Sugar said...

They is right! This is one of my favorites too, Har. We all remember where we were for those emotional events, and of course a first love is a precious memory.

Gita Smith said...

Very true, Harry, and well written.
I was in a classroom in Canada taking a science test when our mustachio'd teacher told us that the U.S. President had been shot. I wondered who would want to kill the handsome young man with the pretty wife. All of our politicians were pasty-faced, middle-aged, paunchy Protestants of Scotch-Irish descent. I remember my first serious crush, too. I wonder if anyone remembers me.

L'Aussie said...

Yeah that's all true Harry, but I confess I had a bit of trouble rememb ering who Miss Kitty and Matthew was. After I replied to your comment I remembered watching Gunsmoke many moons ago. That's who you meant right?

Denise

Kevin Michaels said...

Excellent! I think we all have those frozen moments that stay with us forever (BTW- is there another story in here? Maybe a follow up on whatever happened to Becky Brown????)

Great story!

Anonymous said...
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Madam Z said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mike Handley said...

You nailed it, Harry. Mine came along in the third grade. Her name was Sharon. I was too petrified to speak to her.

Harry said...

I would never remove one of Madam Zs comments, just so's ya know. Those were just testing 1,2,3 types yadda yaddas. :)

Harry said...

Oh, and Gita, I'm sure you are etched upon the minds of many of the fellers who crossed paths with you!

Cathy Webster (Olliffe) said...

You're older than me!
By gawd, you're older than me! Yeah, yeah, yeah, your post is very nice and I'm slightly jealous of Becky but I just can't get over the fact that someone is OLDER THAN ME!!!
heheheh

Anonymous said...

Har, I love it when you travel down memory lane. I know exactly where I was for most events.

Jeanette Cheezum

Madam Z said...

The trouble with "memory lane" is that there are too many forks in the road, eventually leading to dead ends.

Stephen said...

I went down memory land and found a fork and a Pot Noodle. I'm happy :)

I remember exactly where I was for 9/11 which is amazing, as I generally can't remember my own postcode, phone number or age. Scientists laboured for years so that I could finally retain the pin number for my bank card.

Great story, Harry. Well written and I loved the 'no teeth'. St.

Deanna Schrayer said...

Harry, you wouldn't believe the myriad of memories that these few well-written words brought about for me. Thank you for that.

Stephen said...

Life is full of memories like these, both good and bad. Like you, I can remember my first kiss, my first love, and watching my wife come down the aisle. And like you, I can also remember where I was when 9/11 happened, when the fractured shuttle streaked the sky, and when a truck bomb blew the face off a federal building in OKC. As far as they are concerned, I've never tried to figure out who they are. I'd probably be disappointed if I knew.

Jodi MacArthur said...

I love reading your nonfiction as well as your fiction, Har Bro. I especially love that in your memory more important than political events was a little toothless girl who first won your affection. Long live the human heart!

ABSOLUTELY*KATE said...

"Work as I would against it, I could not staunch the flow of cartoon hearts which streamed embarrassingly from my juvenile cranium in her presence."

Har, I recall way back at 6-City when you shared this piece at a First Love forum we dreamed up. I fell in love with how you scrawled your thought waves then . . . and still do now -- and it's so cool the purple haze of cartoony heart flutters you send up -- uh, other folks can see 'em too, right?

Someone's older than the spry Mrs Webster? By golly, ya gotta love that.

~ Absolutely*Kate, ever'lovin' how you knit your yarns

Steve Green said...

Harry, I can't remember where I was when all them things happened either, I was 10 years old when JFK was assassinated, and at school.

I do however, remember my first crush, I was .....(Sorry, the rest is classified) :)