I started school in first grade. Kindergarten was not
required in those days. I was still five. It was then that I had
my first big crush. Her name was Theresa. She had pale,
blonde hair and fair skin. She was so beautiful I couldn’t stop
looking at her.
I was considered to be the smartest boy in the class. She
was considered to be the smartest girl. I was, also, the smallest
boy in the class. She was the smallest girl. Consequently
when we had to march in single file to go somewhere else in
the school or to the church we were first in each of the lines
with the boys in the left line and the girls in the right line. The
smallest to the tallest in each line and so we always held hands.
I must admit I loved to hold her hand. She didn’t seem to mind
holding mine although she seemed a little embarrassed and she
smiled coyly. I was glad. I loved to walk beside her through
the breezeways of St. John The Evangelist School.
In the second grade we started to study for our first holy
communion. Our parents had to buy us boys a little, blue, clip
on tie to wear. The boys got a package with a black prayer
book. It had a cover that held a rosary. The girls got a white
prayer book and rosary.
On the day of the first holy communion I was the first in the
line of boys on the left side of the center aisle. Theresa was the
first in the line of girls on the right side. We marched slowly as
we were taught with our hands pressed flat together, fingers
pointed straight up in prayer on our way to the altar. When we
got to the altar the boys knelt down at the altar in a line to the
left. The girls knelt down in a line to the right. Since I and
Theresa were at the front of the line we were the only boy and
girl kneeling down at the altar next to each other.
I couldn’t stop turning to my right to look at her. Her hands
were on the altar pressed together in prayer. She had a circle
of white lace, bobby pinned on top of her beautiful, blonde
hair. She looked so beautiful in her white, communion dress.
She looked straight ahead with a rhapsodic look in her eyes. I
thought I saw just a trace of a smile on her dainty face. Two
priests came to us to give each of us the host. Altar boys held
gold patens under our chins while each priest took a host from
their gold chalices to place the hosts on our tongues. They said,
“The Body of Christ” and we both said, “Amen”.