I was boy crazy since I took a breath of life.
I always seemed to have a crush on a boy. As long as I can remember I was always this way. When my classmates were playing hopscotch and Barbie’s at recess, I was busy chasing boys on the playground. My mother didn’t know what to do with me so she just ignored my boy obsession in hopes that I would grow out of it but I never did.
My first childhood friend was a boy. His name was Peter and he lived in a big modern house down the road from us in San Francisco.
In the summer before I started kindergarten we moved to Mill Valley, CA which was just outside of San Francisco. We hadn’t been there more than five minutes when I ventured out alone knocking on doors looking for friends. “Hi, my name is Rachel,” I said. “I just moved here from Mt. Rainier and am looking for other kids my age to play with.”
First of all who does that! And who says that! I did. Being courageous started at a young age for me, I was always that way and still am.
I met Peter after knocking on at least 70 doors. I thought this was early success. His younger sister answered the door. Her name was Nancy. She had blonde curly hair, wore a bathing suit, and was eating an ice cream cone. It was about 9am (I liked this family, already!).
“Peter,” she shouted. “There’s a mountain girl here who wants to be friends with you.” Peter came running to the front door to see who this “mountain girl” was. He immediately invited me in to play and we became fast friends.
When I was about 10 an overzealous Sunday teacher talked to the class one day about saving ourselves for marriage. Of course, none of us had any idea what she was talking about. But she did say one thing that I’ve never forgotten. “Alive today is your future husband or wife,”
I had always been a dreamer anyway. I thought about the future husband idea and liked it right away! He’s probably from New York, I thought. That seemed so exotic to me. A boy from the city! And he’s probably old, like 16 (I was barley 10 at the time). I bet he lives in Greenwich Village and attends fancy parties with adults who read poems and drink fancy cocktails. (I told you I was a dreamer…).
That sort of behavior continued into my adult life. I was a young mother and had my son at the age of 18. Raised him on my own. I never had a serious relationship, until I met Glenn. I always found love but it was never right. Love relationships would often fizzle out as quickly as they came to be.
This all changed in the summer of 1999.
I had just come back from a trip to Europe with my best friend, Bonnie where she encouraged me to make a list of eligible men. She said I’d been single long enough and it was time for me to get married. I was 38 years old and thought I was going to be an old maid. I didn’t know anyone but she wouldn’t let it go. “If you have a list she said, then when you get back home and one of the men on the list asks you out, well, you’ll already be well on your way because he was on your list!”
I wasn’t sure who to put on the list and then, I thought of this guy that had been staring at me for three years at The Coffee Warehouse back home. I would see him almost daily. He would often try to spark a conversation with me or he would just stare at me and smile. I couldn’t believe that he never gave up! He was always there just waiting for me.
He had salt and pepper hair, drove a truck with a surfboard in the back. So without knowing a name, I put down, “Silver Surfer,” and added him to the list.
The following Monday morning, back at home, I stopped at the Coffee Warehouse on my way to work and there he was again, the mystery surfer man. But this time he spoke to me and asked me out. He just blurted it out. “Hi my name is Glenn, how was your trip to Europe? Let’s go do something!”
He even left a post-it note with the cashier that day that said the same thing. He later told me that he had waited long enough to meet me and was determined that the next time he saw me he was going to ask me out! I was so stunned that I immediately said yes and was even late for work that day because we couldn’t stop chatting.
Glenn wore his heart on his sleeve. Within ten minutes I knew that he was from New York. Six years older than me, divorced, spent weekends as a child at his beloved grandparents in Manhattan where they toured art museums and hosted fancy dinner parties for the Avant Garde crowd in Greenwich Village.
That was how we began, and we saw or spoke to each other every day after that for the rest of his life.
I thought about this story as I began my day on this Sunday morning in early May. We’re all dealing with this horrible virus and staying at home. Our lives have all changed in the past few months, the likes of which none of us has ever experienced at this level.
I’ll never forget how I was boy crazy my whole life and then met the man of my dreams who fulfilled me in every way.
Happy memories do help get us through the tough times. I know this to be true.