• Terry Groves

B.R.A.T.S. First Love

Updated: Sep 16, 2019

Growing up the brat life you get used to leaving friends behind and making new ones at the other end of the move. Too, you get exposed to lots and lots of views on various facets of life. One of those facets, at least for this brat, was learning to deal with girls.

Now, I never saw that as a bad thing, except that I had to hide how I felt about them from my friends, the male ones anyway. While I was young, under thirteen at least, the prevalent theme among my friends was that girls were icky, to be avoided, likely had cooties, and were never to be included in our activities. These premises didn't always hold true, and I always had to be careful to walk the minefield of female inclusion, with caution.

boys and girls playing together
Kids Playing

I never felt that girls were something to avoid. I always rather enjoyed having them around, except during specific activities like skinny dipping (this would change after that magical event called puberty), camping with the cubs and scouts which were all-male activities at that time, and whenever my girl-shunning friends wanted to do some activity that I particularly liked. I never let on that I liked girls, didn't think they had cooties, thought they should be included in all, or most, of our fun and games. That attitude could get a brat ostracized.

I kept my thoughts to myself. The exclusion of girls from our activities stunted our social growth, sometimes to humerous ends. I recall one friend in Clinton making the statement during a girl-bashing conversation, "wouldn't it be embarrassing if you were sexing (he didn't say sexing, but this is a family blog) a girl and you popped a boner?" There was a general silence following this, but some others hesitantly agreed with him.

I knew they were all wrong. I was only about 9 or 10 and really quite ignorant of sex, but I knew more than that! At that time, I was of the mind that wives and husbands only did that when they wanted a new kid...and only then. My understanding of the courting rituals was similarly stunted. In my mind, the wife would say something like "Give me a child tonight." and the man would comply. I struggled with how that would happen without either seeing the other without clothes...I warned you my knowledge of sex was severely stunted.

Anyway, carrying an opinion about girls that differed from the guys I hung out with was frequently awkward. It didn't, however, stop me from falling in love or from pursuing, at least in secret, the company of girls. One of those girls was Judy.

Judy lived across the street from us. We had moved into the PMQs at Clinton and were on Regina Street. I was about 8 or 9, she was a year or two younger than me, had an older sister about my age, but it was Judy who caught my eye.

I don't recall exactly what it was about her that had me interested, perhaps the way she talked, her long, straight hair, maybe just the fact that she would talk to me. Remember, I was pretty insecure.

Most of my recollection of this love has dimmed over the years. I do recall going for a walk with her one evening. We just walked around the streets of the PMQs, talking. It was late fall or early spring. There was a chill in the air but it wasn't cold, no snow. If I wasn't holding her hand, I wanted to, but I am pretty certain I was. That connection with someone has always been important to me, always signaled something special, a bond. The sky was clear, the way it is on cold nights. The stars were easy to see even though there were street lights along the roads.

Sky map of constellations

Part of my Wolf Cubs badge work had involved being able to recognize some of the more prominent, familiar constellations and it was about these that I was speaking, pointing out the North Star, the Big and Little Dippers, and Orion's belt to her. She seemed genuinely interested in what I was saying, asking questions and making acknowledgment sounds. It was only later that I learned that girls will do these things even if they are not interested in what the guy is saying, if they are interested in the guy. It was all good to me.

We didn't kiss or anything like that, still too early in the relationship for me, and I was still kind of young for that. I tend to be rather old fashioned, at least I was then, about things like that, expecting a natural and slow progression into the depths of relations. Anyway, by the time it was time to say goodnight, I was feeling really good about her and

The next day at school, my best friend Paul A came up to me and confessed he had been sneaking along behind us the whole time, listening to what we said. He said I was stupid talking about belts in the sky and stuff like that since none of it was true. I wasn't certain why he was saying that because he was in my Cub pack and there was quite a rivalry between himself and his older brother over merit badges. Perhaps he hadn't yet begun to earn the one for the Astronomy badge. Anyway, I thought it was kind of creepy that he had followed us. He didn't, however, talk to anyone else, expose my preference for the company of girls, to anyone else, so it wasn't all bad.

The next summer, Judy's dad was transferred somewhere, and I never saw her again. I still consider her my first true love. Such is the life of a brat, people come into importance in your life, you think you could never live without them there, then you both move on. I wonder how life turned out for her.

Do you remember your first love?

boy and girl holding hands
Young love

See all Terry’s B.R.A.T. posts at www.beingabrat.com

Follow him on Facebook at: fb.me/BeingABrat

His personal website: www.terrygroves.com

Write him at beingabrat.com@gmail.com

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