Rite of Passage Four –First Love–
From the book ‘Flash of Silver…the leap that changed my world’
Question #11 ‘Preoccupation’
(1945 – age 11)
First love has a way of taking over one’s mind…almost completely. Is this very human Rite of Passage any different today than it was in our past?
I found myself delighted last week that my blog on meeting Treena should coincide with Valentines Day. It was completely unplanned! Today’s blog is just one more like-minded memory from those early days.
I was totally preoccupied with this new sensation. I was in love before I had the slightest idea what that meant. The only evidence of such a possibility was seeing such movies as The Stratton Story, staring June Allyson and Jimmy Stewart, that we went to see at the cinema in East Grinstead (UK). This was way before television and our favorite radio program ‘Dick Barton Special Agent’ contained not the slightest clue about young love.
There was the poet Shelley whose poem ‘Love’s Philosophy’ allowed gentle words to begin to provide some early stirrings of our emotion. “The fountains mingle with the river, and the rivers with the ocean…”
BY PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY
The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle.
Why not I with thine?—
See the mountains kiss high heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What is all this sweet work worth
If thou kiss not me?
It was the reading of Shelley and in the holding of hands that I found my greatest and deepest longing; a desire to never ever let her go.
Treena was my first love, she was ten and I was just eleven. I was not her first “boyfriend”; that honor went to Tony Thames from the village of Forest Row. They had written to each other and we took his letters to the local bridge, tore them up and dropped them in the river…
…and I watched Tony float around the bend!
So…what about now?
I watch, with utter amazement, at how the vast flood of often explicit sexual content that targets young people is changing everything!
Birds and bees appear now to be almost laughingly redundant.
June Allyson’s devotion to her “husband” Jimmy Stewart has been replaced by the practical benefits of using condoms.
Oh, I know, I’m now old enough to be expected to huff and puff a bit but I find I’m more likely to groan over this apparent loss of innocence.
If there is one overreaching emotion I have about my early years and the first blush of love it is one of…gratitude.
My life then was without callouses, it was tender and cut adrift from the world about us. It was, in one word…heavenly! But then, in those days, the word heaven had not been hijacked and brought down to the base level of today’s derisive debates between competing political ideologies.
It was like the brush of a young girls hand against mine…ahhhh
P.S. This week I read Treena’s poem “So Be It”