One summer, 1995, when my oldest daughter was on summer
vacation she met a young man who became quite a huge crush
She was going to enter her sophomore year in high school.
Her aunt, my sister in law had asked if she would like to come
north to visit her cousins up in Westlake (suburb of Cleveland,
Ohio). Their guest for a whole month(!!) was a handsome high
school male who looked like a French version of Tom Cruise.
Dark, curly hair, a muscular and angular teenager with, of course,
an awesome accent!
My daughter had made fun of the song, entitled Lady Marmalade
sung by LaBelle with the racy lyrics,”Voulez vous coucher avec moi,
ce soir?” (Do you want to sleep with me tonight?)
So, on our drive up I mentioned some simple French phrases that
I had learned in my one year of college French. I have mentioned
somewhere along the posts that I had about 8 years of Spanish,
so I was blessed with a college French professor who was from the
south and grew up with what is termed, “Creole French.”
(Perfect blend of French with a Spanish flair, I got an “A!”)
So important to know: “Merci” or “Merci beau coup.”
(Thank you and Thank you very much.)
In my French restaurant trips, I would like to say I used this phrase,
“Ou est le bain?” (Where’s the bathroom?)
Anyway, I gave her a few other choice phrases for her to not even use!
(I mean, so much more fun to HAVE HIM TEACH YOU FRENCH!)
I did emphasize with her to not ask him to teach her how to French
Needless to say, the two girl cousins and my daughter spent
every waking moment gushing all over Henri’s (pronounced
“OHN-REE”) suggestions for what he considered “All American
Pastimes.” He wanted to go bowling, go to a lake and water ski,
he wanted to try Frisbee golfing and miniature golfing. There
were a lot of movies that he wanted to see, once home from outings,
Henri wanted to see television. Lots of t.v. shows were on his
interests’ list, including soap operas.
Another thing Henri wished to do, was to go to the Cleveland Indians’
baseball games. He also wanted to go see where the Cleveland Browns
played and where their boot camp was. He also enjoyed Cedar Point
Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio. He had fun visiting my Mom
and Dad in Vermilion, Ohio where they all went into Lake Erie. Maybe
he would have liked the Upper Lakes, Michigan with Upper Peninsula
but the BEST thing about Henri was his enthusiasm and his curiosity.
This was before cell phones were really around, so there were no little
interruptions while he spoke of his home town, his home country and
his favorite things to do there, while three young, impressionable girls
Once my oldest daughter was picked up by me, I had a hard time finding
out too much because all she could concentrate on was: “Henri gave me
his home address, how much is postage? what should I ask him or tell
him? Can I flirt with him now that I don’t have my 2 cousins seeing me
The international pen pals had lively “conversations” through snail
mail and carried on through their first year of college. No one crossed
the Atlantic Ocean to see the other person. The best thing, as a mother’s
observation, was that they could tell each other their deepest, darkest
secrets, fears and problems of growing up teenagers. There was so much
gained from this “First Crush” of my daughter that my “First Crush”
The measure of this experience? Priceless!