Santa Maria Sun / Humor
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 48
My funny ValentinesI blush over my former crushes
BY ARIEL WATERMAN
Baby, it’s cold outside right now, and it’s a perfect time to snuggle up in a warm, soft, micro-fleece throw with a hot hubby. OK, so he’s running a slight temperature and recovering from the flu, but he’s still hot! And to think of all the other men I could have had in my fantasy life!
Call them puppy-love, infatuation, or falling in love, we’ve all had our share of crushes. Some have had crushes on a favorite teacher, co-worker, or celebrity. Many are delightful to harmlessly ruminate over, but crossing that fantasy line is called stalking.
I remember all of my crushes, starting with one I had on my favorite uncle. I was only 4 years old and followed the poor man around like a puppy whenever he visited. A handsome young man, he graciously tolerated my constant presence with loving smiles and laughter. He taught me how to put letters together into words as we read from his favorite newspaper.
“Here’s one,” he’d say. “Sound that out.” Slowly I’d work out the words and then victoriously shout “Muddy track!” His praise was like orange Fanta soda pop, and I drank it all in. Yes, folks, I learned to read from a horse racing form, my first exposure to newspaper journalism, and here I am. I owe this all to my wonderful Uncle Carroll!
I became utterly taken by a new phenomenon at age 9: British accents! It was Feb. 7, 1964, when the Beatles arrived on our American shores. John, Paul, George, and Ringo monopolized my every waking moment with their music, good looks, and hair that begged to be tousled. I still remember the thrill each time the lads shook their manes when singing “She Loves You.” I’d plead with Mom to turn up the car radio every time one of their tunes was played.
Poor Uncle Carroll knew he’d been supplanted and loved teasing me, singing off-key “yea, yea, yeas.” Then he’d hand me a pack of Beatles cards with a reminder that I could keep the cards—but he got the bubble gum. I always honored that request, and I still have every one of those cards!
John and George are, sadly, gone; Paul and Ringo are older and, I am certain, like me, wiser. I still thrill to the oldies, but now songs like “Yesterday” and “When I’m 64” hold deeper meaning. And I have never lost my love of a British accent.
I soon grew out of my Beatle-mania and found a new “love” in a new uncle: The Man from U.N.C.L.E., that is. Robert Vaughn as Napoleon Solo was certainly alluring to a fifth-grader, but his sidekick, Illya Kuryakin, played by David McCallum, was the ultimate crush! Blond, blue-eyed, with a sexy Russian accent, he was a pre-teen’s dreamboat. Never mind that McCallum is from Scotland!
Then something changed: me. A new wrinkle called puberty fueled my girlish infatuations. Today’s youngsters adore those vampire boys in the Twilight series, but I was a far more sophisticated teen. My vampire was the suavely mature Barnabas Collins in the TV soap opera Dark Shadows, played by the late Jonathan Frid, who lent the character handsome dignity and aristocratic seductiveness. Bite me, Barnabas!
Years later, I met Mr. Frid, who was then performing in the Broadway touring production of Arsenic and Old Lace. He was an absolute gentleman. He posed for a photo with me, autographed my little book, and then kissed my hand. That lovely man had class!
As I grew older, I found that my crush-o-meter stopped functioning. Reality and maturity gave me the insight to realize such unattainable fantasies belonged with my youth, stored away in fond memories. Then one day, while attending a potluck, I heard a British accent spoken softly to my left. I looked, and there sat the man who I refer to in this column as the Brit. My crush-o-meter revved back to life!
One thing led to another, and we were married the following year. Our family dynamic was completed when we took in his grandson: a 3-year-old with soggy pants, a chocolate-stained face, and a head of Beatles hair that begged to be washed and then tousled! My crush-o-meter hit tilt and shattered, or was that my heart?
Much has changed about this little guy, my Britween who is now 11 and no longer so little. He’s taller and broader. I can no longer carry him around on my shoulders. He’s not so cute as he is becoming handsome, and his pants are only soggy after playing soccer on a wet pitch. But he still has hair that begs to be tousled, my favorite prerogative as his honorary grandma.
Little has changed about the Brit. He is balding, graying, still has large, floppy earlobes, a teddy-bear tummy, and the skinniest legs I’ve ever seen this side of the flamingo lagoon at Sea World! But he still makes my heart flutter whenever he enters a room, searching for me with his beautiful brown eyes. And ooh, that deep, rich, British accent! Sorry, Sir Paul, but Ian Wallace Waterman has all my loving now!
Happy Valentine’s Day, Sweetheart, and to you, too, Sammy! You’re my favorite funny Valentines!
Ariel Waterman’s editor, Ryan Miller, has a huge crush on her. He calls it a deadline, but send him hearts and flowers anyway at firstname.lastname@example.org.