First Love Nostalgia

Senior Couple At Home

Source: MS ClipArt

The subject of first loves came up this week.  For some, these memories date back sixty years.  From that distance, we can laugh at ourselves for the intensity of our emotion over something that was completely innocent.  At the same time, we feel a sense of nostalgia for those innocent times, to be able to approach love with the same intensity, the same sense of discovery.

Perhaps it is a woman thing, but I think it is more likely an age thing.  Nostalgia for a time when the world, and all who lived in it, was new.

I remember my first “love” very clearly.  It was the summer of ’67, and I was a twelve year old in the hiatus between primary and high school.

Every school holidays I stayed with my Aunty in her bushland cottage.  My Aunty often helped a neighbour clean her sprawling weatherboard house, and I would tag along to help out with whatever was allocated to me.  I was used to seeing her three sons around the place.  The middle boy, P*, was about my age and ordinary in a nice kind of way.  Skinny body, sandy hair, freckles.  We occasionally knocked around together when on holidays, maybe not so much as I did with the three boys who lived right next door to my Aunty, and yet regularly enough that we were used to each other.

At least, it seemed we knew each other until that summer of 1967.  Gradually we seemed to want to be in each other’s company more and more, even though we didn’t say or do anything much different from other holidays.  In fact, an element of shyness had crept into our friendship.  P* fell into the habit of accompanying his mother on her visits to us, or I would look out for him when we went over to clean, and between us we found ways to drag out the adults’ get-togethers so that morning tea became lunch – and yet we let the grown-ups do all the talking, just stealing glances at each other when we thought the other wasn’t looking.

young loveWe went blackberry picking amongst the scraggly wild bushes hugging the railway line, briar scraping on our brown bare legs and uncovered arms.  Oblivious to the pain, hours passing in innocent and almost silent companionship, until we were forced by the size of the haul to turn for home.

We discovered an interest in board games, and implored our folks to join up again in the evenings, so that we could elongate the time in each other’s presence.  We had no idea what this was all about, we just seemed to want to be together, even though when we were, we suddenly became tongue-tied and had nothing much to say to each other.

lovers on seatJanuary and the long weeks of the summer holiday were drawing to a close.  At day’s end P* and I were sitting on the cement patio at the front of Aunty’s house, watching the twilight draw in around us.  We were balanced precariously on the unprotected edge about two metres above ground level, idly swinging our legs back and forth, occasionally swishing against the other by mistake. The touch of our bare flesh sent a tingle up my spine.  As we braced our arms behind us to keep our balance, I noticed our hands were so close that we could just stretch out our fingers for a touch – but we didn’t reach out.

Nor did we move our hands away.

The tension was intense.  We looked at our feet or straight ahead, saying nothing.  The awareness of the other’s body so near, the anticipation that maybe, just maybe, we might touch hands.  The knowledge that this was the last time we would be together for these holidays.  If we had anything to share with each other, it had to be now or never.  It was agonising, it was exciting, it was excruciating, it was exhilarating.  It was electrifying!

Gwen,”  P*’s quiet, tentative, hesitant voice broke the silence.

Yes?” I chirped – too quickly bouncing to turn to him with eager anticipation, meeting him eye to eye.

Panic and alarm stole across his face.  He dropped his eyes, confused, flustered, overcome with shyness.

Nothing,”  he spluttered, gathering up his lanky body to stand over me. “I’ve gotta’ go now,”  it came out in a gulp as he looked down at me. “See you next holiday.”

It was the last holidays that we hung out together.  The family moved to Queensland not so long after and I never saw or heard from P* again.broken love

I never shook off the feeling that something odd had happened that summer.

And I stopped belting guys across the face whenever they came too close.

I didn’t understand it at the time, but I had discovered luuurve 🙂

12 thoughts on “First Love Nostalgia

  1. Your beautiful tale has thrown me backwards almost half a century. I was about 11 and had the biggest crush on a new Pommy girl who joined our school. There was no way I was ever going to actually approach her, and had to content myself with just looking from as far away as required to not be noticed. The high point of our one-sided affair was one morning I stood in front of her suburban house leaning casually against a telegraph pole, thinking that people probably thought I was waiting to be picked up. Anyway, I noticed curtains being pulled away and quickly restored, and was sure she would come out saying something like “what a lovely cooincidence seeing you here” but nothing at all happened except I got tired as it started to dawn on me that I must have looked absolutely stupid. Which I was.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh what a wonderful story. Perhaps it was her mother twitching behind the curtain, and had ordered her daughter to take no notice of you. Meanwhile, the daughter was pining to come out and speak to you 🙂 My older brother was captivated with a young woman he spotted at the beach and he wrote into some late-night radio programme describing her and her effect on him. The radio announcer laughed at the description of her swimsuit and said she sounded like a striped zebra. My brother was crushed. I don’t think he was game to talk to another girl for six months.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. For me it was a cousin…… don’t panic, I’m adopted, so no real relation…… the closest we got to touching was playing games like chasey…… excellent memories……. thank you for sharing yours.


  3. Don’t go looking for him. I did an internet search on my first “love” (aged 11 at the time) and found that he had died at age 22. I wish I still had him as a person who ‘one day we might run into each other and have a laugh’. It was quite distressing to realise this glorious youth had never had a chance to live a long life.


  4. Dear Gwen
    what great times – it is good that you can remember your experiences so vividly. At 12 I was still climbing trees and running though the bush building cubbies etc. I was so unaware of boys – no boyfriend till I was 16! Very late bloomer!
    Have great week.


I love comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s