First Love

Feb 13, 2016

First Love


Flash of Silver…the leap that changed my world
Question #3
Rite of Passage Three –No Longer Alone-

(11-12 years old)

First Love

Q. What do you remember most about the one you first felt the stirrings of attraction?

It has to be the most measurable of all human emotions –the day we first fell in love!

At 8-9 years old I wanted flaxen-haired Sylvia to see me in my new Scout hat –but this was altogether different.

Treena had tight curly black hair. I’m not sure how I described her to my parents at the time because words such as lovely or petite orbeautiful don’t trip easily from an eleven-year-old tongue. Yes, she was all of those superlatives rolled up in one attention getting young woman.

I fell hard. I couldn’t get her out of my mind.

Our hands eventually touched and quite simply I knew that I loved and was being loved.

All of this is sometimes called ‘calf love’ and may, in some cases, be remembered as a pre-hormone discovery that simply and sweetly begins to fade…taken over with stronger, more urgent, teenage passions.

Those early years formed every foundation and every deep relationship I’ve ever had. In one wonderful moment (as I describe in my book) I had become aware of going beyond myself in order to give my full (only child) affection to someone of my own age.

I never once forgot that amazing experience. It did fade for eight years, it did encounter competitive adolescence, but in time that too was vanquished and… Well now, that would we a spoiler wouldn’t it?

So…what about now?

My life is now awash with memories. The first hand experience of day-to-day life with a loved one is now over for me.

Treena began her ‘sleep’ just five days short of our 60th wedding anniversary on September 17, 2015

We were able to love each other right up to her last breath and even then, as I closed her lovely eyes and kissed her brow – I knew, not in a religious way, but deeply in my heart, that what we had shared, for a span of seventy-one years, had not ended and would never do so.

There were moments in our time together when passions raged, when love was wrenching and almost unbearable –beyond the ability to breathe.

No matter the intensity it came full circle back to the holding of eleven-year-old hands…such purity, such discovery, such absolute sweetness that now uplifts my lonely moments.

I do have a pretty long list of regrets when I could have done better but that too has been slowly covered with the “good soil” of wiser choices until they are scarcely even recognized.

I loved, was loved, and continued in that love for all but seventy-one years. I am, in short, a grateful man who shared a good life with an amazing woman…Treena, the love of my life.



  1. Mike . Says: 5:08 pm

    I suppose the worst thing and the best thing about love is that it is unpredictable and that there are no hard and fast rules; it’s pure, maddening, wonderful chaos! When I was 15 I walked 5 miles in the summer heat with a rose in my hand to deliver to the girl I knew would eventually see my good qualities and overlook my obesity and shyness. Alas, she was not home. So I waited around all day window shopping downtown until I thought she might be home. When I knocked on her door her grandmother answered and told me that Melinda was not home. Ah, but I saw Melinda lying on the couch watching television. In those days I did not believe that grandmothers could lie, so I thanked her, asked her to give the rose to Melinda, and then walked home.

    I chased her for 3 wonderfully miserable years, but she would not give me the time of day, not even once. Despite the rejection, I don’t regret for a moment letting her know that I was interested, and doing my best to show her that she was special to me. Her lack of feelings for me did not affect my feelings for her. She was my first real love. She was also one of the first people who friended me on Facebook some 30 years later.

  2. Mitchell B Mahony Says: 1:01 pm

    No, not at eleven. 24. I was introduced to Tami at a party. A friend of mine was smitten by Tami’s friend, Sarah, who Tami was visiting during her Easter break. Sarah and Jim went off to dance and Tami and I went out onto the porch to talk. Next thing we know, it’s 2am and Jim and Sarah are nowhere to be found. We call Sarah’s place (before mobiles) and we get her machine. Same thing with Jim’s. Tami isn’t quite sure where Sarah lives. The couch was already occupied by two inadvertent overnight guests. Out of ideas, I looked at her a bit sheepishly and tell her “Please don’t take this the wrong way, but you can sleep in my room.” The LOOK on her face! “No, really, I have this foam chair that unfolds into sort of a bed. I’ll sleep on that.” And so she reluctantly agreed. At 7am, the phone rings, It’s Jim. They decided to go off and get something to eat. the only place open at that time was across town. After they ate, his car wouldn’t start. Eventually they ended up at Sarah’s which wasn’t too far from the diner. I found out where Sarah lived and took Tami over there. When we got there, I plucked up the courage to ask Tami out one more time before she went back to CWU. She said “YES! Of course!” So a few nights later we went out to dinner. That was a bit odd for a week night, but we had a good time. She was leaving Saturday to go back to school. But when we got back to Sarah’s I walked her to the door. And she asked me, “How far is Tijuana?” “About 2 1/2 hours. Why?” “I’ve always wanted to go, and I probably won’t have the chance again.” So I thought about it. It was Tuesday. I didn’t have to work on Thursday and I didn’t have any tests either. So I cut class and we went to Tijuana. We found a silver choker she liked. And I found a brushed wool blanket that was green and purple checked…our two favorite colors. We headed down the coast a bit towards Rosarito Beach. And we found a nice place to pull over and take in the view. Suddenly she decides she wants to go for a quick swim. Well, she had brought a swim suit (I had not). So I go and try to find a path down to the water and she somehow managed to change in my subcompact car. So she went in for a quick dip…VERY quick since the water was cold and all I could do was hike up my jeans to my knees and wade in. She does the quick change again in the car and it’s time to head back to Long Beach. At Sarah’s She said, “Well, it’s been a fun week, but I guess this is it.” “It doesn’t have to be. I know it’s crazy, but I want your phone and address.” “You DO? I wasn’t sure you would. Yes, it IS crazy, isn’t it?” We stayed in contact by phone mostly. And when the semester ended and thoughts were turning to the annual end of year ‘retreat’ to San Felipe in Mexico, I made a decision. A very BOLD decision. I would blow off San Felipe and drive to Washington. I called Tami up and told her my plan. She was elated. She admitted the distance was getting to her. So off I went. It took two days to get there. I spent five days there before I had to head back. I was going to Germany in a few days as part of a class out of LA City College. I would be there for two months. I wrote her 3 times per week. Right before I left Germany, her last letter came. She had a surprise for me. She would visit LA for a week before returning to school! My parents would finally get to meet the mystery woman. and then, in Long Beach she would stay with Sarah and I would work my schedules to be with her whenever I could. It was a terrific week and I almost proposed to her. But it was still a little too crazy. We were both in school. Neither of us had a lot of money. And of course we were 1100 miles apart. But love conquers all, RIGHT? Wrong. The distance ended up being too much. Tami fell for a man right there at CWU. I stayed in contact with her after the break up, I even saw her at Easter Break when she came down to visit Sarah again. We had lunch and I tried to get her back. And made a complete fool of myself. But she understood and we still remained friends for a bit. I eventually lost contact with her, which was just as well. My next major girlfriend told me it was infatuation, not love. She explained the difference. I DID see that I WAS infatuated with the first two girls that I THOUGHT I loved. But I KNOW that without question, Tami was my first LOVE.

  3. Dianne Says: 12:40 pm

    you were sure Blessed to have found such a gift, God is good 🙂

  4. Margie Says: 9:22 am

    My first crushes were TV stars and of course, they all rode horses. Looking back, I think I was drawn to their horses first. In 6th grade I had a crush on a boy who sat next to me but he, of course, was oblivious. My first real boyfriend I was crazy about but he dropped me for a prettier girl.. I stopped eating and got very sick. I finally married a man but he turned out mean. Now, I am married to a good man. It would be ideal, I think, to marry your childhood sweetheart, like you did, Graham, but most of us are not that lucky.

  5. Terri Hase Says: 6:44 am

    My husband and I met in Junior High. He joined our little lunch brigade for a game of cards, and the rest is history. He was smitten right away, and I took a couple years to wake up to my own feelings, but by then we were just ‘pen pals’ as his family had moved away. Oh, how far away 40 miles seemed back then, and how we waited till evening and weekends to call on another to avoid the ‘big’ phone bills. Times have changed.

    We lived, we drifted, always to be brought back together. We took other spouses, and saw those relationship fail, and fail. (Golly, wonder why?!) We were always the best of friends.

    It took us a lot of life, many years of living our own journeys, but we married 33 years later. We are deeply in love, and we’re still the best of friends. It’s only been 6 years as husband and wife, but there is no way not to count all the years since that first meeting. We’ve enjoyed them all, we’ve lived them all, and are in gratitude for every day.

  6. Jean N Sozio Says: 6:09 am

    There is nothing new under the sun as Solomon says. I’m amazed at the parallel of life from generation to generation. My husband and I are currently in our 44th year of love at first sight. We have common family through marriage and thus sort of grew up together even though we are 8 years apart – he the older. I was a frequent visitor to my niece’s home as a child when her older cousin would come and entertain us kids. He had huge dark brown Elvis eyes and a wit that made us giggle. I love to laugh and I love humor. At 8 years old I went home to my own bed one evening and in my child night prayers told God “I want to marry _____ someday”. Praise the Lord – 9 years later God made it so. We have too had our waterfalls and pitfalls but the grace of God steering our rudder has guided us into calm waters where now peace and joy abounds. My prayer now is the HE preserve us until HE comes. HE is faithful. I love your photo – keep the faith and the joy – +X+

  7. Cindy Says: 8:12 pm

    Graham thanks so much for sharing yours and Treena’s story, thank God for memories. The love of my life and I met in History class when we were both 14 years old. Our marriage like most has grown through experiences both good and bad, happy and sad, I wouldn’t change a thing. We will be celebrating our 39th wedding anniversary this June. My parents are celebrating their 60th anniversary in 2 weeks and my in-laws will celebrating their 64th in May. Such a legacy of love to glean inspiration from. Cindy

  8. Lynn Says: 8:12 pm

    To read the sweetness of such a life and love as you and Treena shared for almost the total of your lifetimes, is testimony to how God’s love works best. He gives His all. We will stumble through the challenges love can bring to be buoyed up by the joys it brings. Treena remains in your heart now as ever and always.

    To be awash with treasured memories will uphold you, Graham. They far outweigh the thoughts that weigh you down. Each of us embraces you, as does God who understands. With care – L.

  9. Leona Nelson Says: 7:38 pm

    The adoration seen in the above photo is true blue. We witnessed it almost weekly over the past 8 years. And didn’t this love make the two of you even more handsome! Ours is a quieter love but also true blue. I met my future hubby the very first day I landed at college. He was asked to show me around the speech department….we’ve been going “round and round” ever since!Fifty two years and counting.

  10. Glen Miller Says: 11:55 am

    I remember when I was six watching you on TV and hearing about Treena. In later years my mom reminded me of her name. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog as I thoroughly enjoyed watching you. My deepest heartfelt sympathy Chef. Glen

  11. Annie Says: 8:59 am

    I can tell dear Graham that lovely soul who was Treena adored you. I myself had a few bumps along life’s path however I have grown and delighted in the deep relationships I have shared and continue to share to this very day. God Bless you my friend! huggzz Annie

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