Sarah and I lasted about a week and a half.
I asked mom, “How old do you have to be to get married?” thinking the answer was at least ten years old. But mom said I’d have to wait until I was 18 which was extra long away because my birthday was in October. “Oh,” I said and thought about how hard it would be to break her heart.
She was amazing. She could ride a two-wheeler, played T-ball for the Blue Jays, and gave me a travel magnetic checkers set when I gave her part of my stamp collection.
She was just about everything I wanted in a girlfriend. We had a great time while we were together, but life in 1982 was just too busy: It was fall baseball season and I was on the Brewers. Plus I had a lot of He-Man figures I was neglecting.
The last straw came when we lined up one day after lunch. We had lost at kickball and our teacher was late in coming to get us. Scott, who was captain of the winning team, led the class in the song, the one no 7-year-old boy wants to hear: “Jimmy and Sarah sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G… ”
I felt my face turning bright red. I let go of Sarah’s hand. And that was it. I took the coward’s way out. I never told her I didn’t love her or that we were no longer boyfriend and girlfriend. I just ignored her.
About three days later, her friend came to me, “Sarah’s worried you don’t love her anymore.”
I told her friend that I did love her, but just didn’t have any time to spend with her. We went to class and sat down.
Dr Hasenstab announced, “Today, we’re going to learn our dances for the Christmas play. Everybody up, we’re going to the auditorium.”
I loved the Christmas play. Each year, we learned one song about Christmas and one song about Hanukkah. I already knew Jingle Bells, the Dreidel Song, and Jingle Bell Rock. I thought there was a good chance that I would already know one of the songs.
We got to the auditorium. Dr. Hasenstab announced, “This year, we’re going to do the Stegosaurus song, the Brontosaurus song, and the Triceratops song. Each of you will dance in one song and sing the other two.”
Three new songs! I didn’t know which dinosaur belonged to Jesus and which belonged to the Jewish kids, but that was what school was for.
Dr. Hasenstab played the songs on the record player and modeled the dance for each song. She then read off the names of who would dance in each song and she put us right together, “Stegosaurus dance, Jimmy, Sarah, Robbie W, Scott R, Rachael…”
I exhaled and lined up next to Sarah. She smiled and looked at me. I talked to Robbie. And then the music started. “I am a stegosaurus, I’m a funny looking dinosaur…”
I sang along, loudly and danced a little bit off. We finished our rehearsal. I didn’t look at Sarah.
We won our baseball game that afternoon and I dedicated my performance to Sarah. I hit a home run and two doubles, but I still felt a little bad.