Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin’

Crush. n. A brief but intense infatuation for someone, especially someone unattainable or inappropriate.

Been there. Done that a few hundred times. When I was younger, I thought it was love. I know the difference now that I’ve experienced the real thing. Crushes can be harmless or destructive, depending on what you do with them. Every time I got my heart broken over a crush I felt…well…crushed. I wondered if that’s how the word came into being. Unreciprocated feelings are crushing. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to look at it through a fun lens instead of a heartbreaking one. And sometimes crushes like you back!

crush-21Having a crush on someone is exciting! Your adrenaline pumps harder, your heart beats faster, and you either become mute or can’t shut up when your crush talks to you. Yeah, thanks for that, stupid body. Sometimes our brains make us dumb or at least look like we are. As a kid, it’s really embarrassing. As an adult, it’s even more embarrassing. Have you ever met someone you strongly admired? I have. I get star-struck/fan girl about very few people, but when it happens, it’s humiliating.

I shared about my very first crush when we did the drawing challenge in 2013. From that post:

30 Day Challenge 003“I never went through the “boys are gross” stage, and I’ve had about a hundred crushes, but my first was Michael Hurda. He was the boy next door. Okay, more like a block away. I could see his house from our porch. He had dark brown hair and a big cheesy grin. We walked to our elementary school together all through first and second grade, and logged hundreds of miles circling the neighborhood on our bikes. He never treated me like a girl when we were kicking a ball around or playing tag, so of course I loved him. On a field trip to our teacher’s farm in first grade, he told my mom he loved me and was going to marry me someday. Then we moved away the next year and I didn’t see him again until a chance meeting in high school. He had moved to another city but was visiting our hometown and we ran into each other. We reconnected for a bit as friends, but lost touch again. Not to sound all stalkerish, but I know where he is. I found him on Facebook, but didn’t friend request him. I also found the biggest crush of my childhood, and we ARE friends on Facebook, but that’s not today’s challenge.”

Except now it IS today’s challenge. If you asked me to immediately name my childhood crush, my answer would be Chris Thiede. (Sorry Michael.) He’s the boy I fell in love with in 4th grade. Blonde hair, hazel eyes, goofy grin, and a gentle spirit. He was nice to me and I was glad he was my friend. He liked me too. He was the first boy I passed love notes to, and I remember he dressed as a pirate when he came to my house for a Halloween party. I remember which bus Chris rode to and from school and how he looked in his boy scout uniform. I remember the horror I felt when I accidentally hurt him in front of everybody on the playground, and the softness of his hands when he let me help him back to his feet. One of my favorite memories was the look of triumph he gave me when I won the spelling bee. When I first found him on Facebook, I was sure he wouldn’t remember me, but he did.

I’ve wondered many times why Chris sticks out so much when I think back on my childhood. I think it’s because I met him right after I woke up. There are almost two years of my childhood that are a complete blank. Trauma related. My memory picked back up when we moved to Random Lake and I remember a crazy amount of details from the two years we lived there. All of my friend’s names, what my soccer uniform looked like even though there are no pictures to prove it, what my best friend’s bedroom smelled like, everything. A few years ago I went back to visit the little town. I haven’t been there since I was a kid, but I knew where everything was, even destinations miles away from town. I drove straight to them. As I reread this before posting it, it’s obvious I had a crush on Random Lake too. Ha!

We moved back to LaCrosse right before 6th grade and I thought I was going to die of a broken heart. On my first day at Longfellow Middle School, they herded all of us 6th graders into the library. I was sitting at a table talking to my new insta-friends Koua Lo and Terri Rudolph, when a beautiful boy with brown hair and blue eyes walked through the door. I think my heart skipped a beat and I forgot to breathe, so I was doubly shocked when his twin walked in right behind him. Wow. Chris who? And that’s the day I started crushing hard on Brian Weaver. No matter who I dated through middle school and high school, Brian was always in the back of my mind. I wasn’t annoying about it most of the time, but my high school best friends can all attest to its constancy. Though I’m sure he knew, I never told him I liked him for two reasons. 1. He was WAY out of my league. 2. Even though he was always nice to me, his twin was a total ass and didn’t like me at all. Trust me when I tell you it’s possible to love one twin and hate the other – both with a fiery passion. I don’t know what happened to them after high school, but I can tell you Brian DID have competition.

From 1986 on, I was also in love with my birthday twin, Wil Wheaton. I first saw him in my favorite childhood movie, Stand By Me. He played Gordie Lachance, a writer and the story’s narrator. I was smitten! What? He’s cute and a geek like me!

WilWil and I were born on the same day, in the same year, in the same state, in hospitals just a couple of hours away from each other. I’ve written about him before because I love him in a non-stalkerish-he’s-a-celebrity-and-doesn’t-know-who-I-am sort of way. Celebrity crushes: Everyone has them. Wil Wheaton is mine. MINE. Kidding. Did you know he’s a blogger? Oh yes! He’s a blogger, writer, actor, husband, father, and more. I stop by his site from time to time.

There have been other crushes since then, but these four are the ones worth highlighting. And for the record, I didn’t have time to crush on Benny. Our relationship went from non-existent to unofficially engaged inside of a month. Twenty-three years later, I can confidently say we are the definition of whirlwind romance! ♥

My friend’s crush stories are shorter and even sweeter:

Don at donhillson.wordpress.com

Beckie at free2b2much.blogspot.com

Tracy at countyroadchronicles.wordpress.com

Read Full Post »

w teacher quote black

I wouldn’t be who I am today without the teachers who’ve poured into me over the years. I’m grateful for all of the men and women who did their best to educate and inspire me from Kindergarten through college, but there are two women who share the title, “Niki’s Favorite Teacher.”

Elementary school was particularly rough for me – LOTS of family drama, and at the end of 3rd grade, my mom moved me and my brothers across the state to a little town called Random Lake. I joined a soccer team, quickly made friends, fell in love (wait for the crush post in a few days), and won the 4th grade spelling bee. Other than major dental surgery and a crabby old lady teacher, it was a pretty good year for me. Then I moved on to 5th grade and my life changed forever.


Miss Kintop was tall, single, an unabashed lover of all things Terry Bradshaw and…wait for it…BOOKS. Yeah, now you know where I’m going with this, don’t you? I’m sure I learned a lot that year, but all I remember is her reading to us after lunch every day. There were kids who would doze off a bit or fidget out of boredom. Not me. I was enthralled with her voice, the way she held books, and absolutely loved that she’d have to stop reading now and then to breathe deeply and wipe away a tear, or clear her throat before continuing. I’m convinced if all teachers read aloud like that, there would be no literacy problems in our country.

I learned how to read when I was three years old, but I learned to love reading while I sat in Miss Kintop’s class at age ten. It probably helped that the other object of my affection that year was sitting in the 5th grade class next door, not distracting me. 😉 Miss Kintop started sending me home with books and challenged me to read at a higher level, and I did. She praised and hugged me, telling me what a good student I was, which made me want to try even harder. Yes, I was THAT kid. My reading level jumped that year and I’ve been at the top of the charts ever since. People are my first love, but books are a close second, followed by music…

music-love-pretty-quotes-quote-Favim.com-572562Mrs. Allen was my high school music teacher. I’m of the opinion she should be sainted. She was THE mother figure of my high school years. I spent as much time with her as possible, helping her out with ANY task she’d give me. Eventually she’d gently tell me to go home. I remember her as a freshmen, taking my face in her hands, looking into my eyes and calling me a little songbird with a beautiful voice. She told me to sing my song. For a girl like me who soaked up any love I could get like a dry sponge, those were words of life! I had the privilege of being in several of her musical groups and taking private voice lessons through her and my other wonderful music director, Mr. Aronson. They helped me develop my musical gift, and gave me an opportunity to belong.

Mrs. Allen formed a couple of quartets and that’s how I connected with the girl who would become my high school best friend. She found several opportunities for us to perform in our community, but knew my mom could never afford the outfits I needed for our performances, so Mrs. Allen not only paid for mine, she also sewed/altered them for me. I know I’m not the only one she took care of like that. She was so good to me. One of the last times I saw her, I was home visiting from college and got to tell her about my engagement. She took my face in her hands again and smiled at me with shining eyes, then pulled me into a hug and whispered to me, “Congratulations! I am so happy for you, you beautiful girl!”


Words and music threw open doors of freedom for me and now I’m a teacher, hoping I’m making an everlasting impression on my students. I’m speaking life to them and inspiring them towards greater confidence and their own freedom. I teach Drama at a private school on Fridays, and every week my students high-five me on the way out the door. And yes, I notice the ones who remind me of my younger self. I go out of my way to smile at them with shining eyes and pour love on those sweet little sponges.

Go read about the teachers who inspired my challenger friends:

Don at donhillson.wordpress.com

Beckie at free2b2much.blogspot.com

Tracy at countyroadchronicles.wordpress.com

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: