Monday, February 13, 2012

My Fourth Grade Heart

In fourth grade, a boy liked me. He liked me enough to write me one of those cute, fourth-grade boy notes. "Do you like me? Check yes or no."

Instead of being pleased, I was horrified and completely frozen in my tracks. What would I say? Why did he like me? We had never talked. We were both shy, well-behaved kids who sat in their desks, raised their hands, stayed in line.

He had brown hair and freckles across the bridge of his nose. And, he was persistent.

Just before gymn class, while we were standing in line, he had another girl hand me an enormous paper valentine.It was at least 12 inches across - made from a paper doily. I held it awkwardly, not sure where to put it on my way to play kickball.

But that wasn't all.

The next day, without any further encouragment, he gave me (through the able delivery assistance of one of my friends) a carefully wrapped jewelry box. My girlfriends gathered around me after school to watch me open the mysterious present. It was a frantic gathering of women-to-be, hoping that they could capture a glimpse of love and live vicariously through my romance.

I tore off the pretty wrapping paper.

Inside the hinged, very grown up jewelry box, was a gold heart locket.

I gasped. The girls cheered.

"What will you say?" they asked me. "Are you going out with him?"

"Going out with him?" I thought to myself. I've never even spoken to him! I was worried and confused.

That night, I reluctantly showed my mom and dad the love-lorn gift of my schoolmate. My mom felt I shouldn't keep it. "It is too much," she insisted. "She's too young!"

My dad thought otherwise, probably realizing that a young girl's rejection could scar a little boy's heart forever.

I kept the locket, explaining to him that we could be friends.

Romance never did really blossom. Throughout fourth grade, I never talked to that little boy. We remained distant friends and glanced at each other across the schoolroom.

Today, he is married to one of my friends, one of the girls who stood in that circle while I opened the locket. He is a wonderful husband and father.

I think I should probably thank him for that fourth grade valentine. I still have that little locket - that completely unexpected declaration of friendship and love that bolstered my self esteem and made me hope for and believe in the real thing.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Why Couldn't I Be a Fashion Designer in High School? A Review of Jane By Design - ABC Family

I love her outfits and impossibly high heels.
I love her best friend, Billy.
I love her boss - played by Andie MacDowell.
I love the fashion.

What is not to love about ABC Family's new teen drama, Jane By Design. The show is based on a highly improbable, but amazingly wonderful, premise - a teenage girl has a chance to live a double life - escaping the drudgery of her snobbish high school peers to work for a fabulous designer in New York City.

Perfect, right? This is every girl's teenage fantasy.

The show features an extremely likeable main character who is being raised by her older brother. There are no parents around to compliate things. While her older brother was a high school success, Jane struggles to fit in. Her best friend is a mohawked misfit named Billy. To viewers, Jane and Billy seem like an obvious match, but so far remain best friends.

The show is a great choice for moms to watch with theirteenage daughters. Sabrina and I both enjoy the close calls that Jane gets into as she tries to avoid being caught for working a job while still in high school. We both root for her to realize that Billy could be more than just a friend. We both are a bit intimidated by her demanding boss, Grey, and snarky coworker, India. And, best of all, we both love the creative looks that are sprinkled throughout the show.

While there is much to love, there are many parts that are unbelievable:

1) Jane is just too cute to be considered so unpopular. There is no obvious reason that she would not fit in at her high school.
2) Her ability to get hired full-time and avoid age problems seems unrealistic and improbable. Surely someone checked her social security number?
3) She flies to Paris and back undetected by her guardian.
4) She manages to hold it all together and succeed - a highly demanding job and high school - all while wearing high heels.

All that said - this show is fun, definitely. It reminds me of my favorite John Hughe's movie Pretty and Pink .

I hope it continues. And, I hope Jane will finally realize that Billy might be the one.