“Everyone is someone else’s childhood crush.”

 

Please join me in welcoming, multi-published author, Michael John Sullivan as he shares a memory from his childhood.

How a childhood crush propelled his love for a unique combination of poetry, writing and hockey.

My Childhood Crush by Michael John Sullivan

She was the most beautiful girl I had seen in the eighth grade. Valentina, with her long blonde hair, spoke eloquently in her Lithuanian accent. “The Big Bad Bruins were once again reduced to ruins.”

It was 1974 and I sat mesmerized in English class. I didn’t even yawn as she read her poem. It was beautiful. It rhymed. Heck, what did I know about poetry. I could discuss baseball averages and recite football statistics with clarity and skill. But Valentina was the first female who stirred something more inside me. Not only did she love hockey, but she could educate me – me! – on the best hockey players.

There was only one problem – she loved the NY Rangers. I did not. I was more enthralled with the area’s new franchise – the underdog, New York Islanders. What I found even more intriguing about her poem was her hatred for the Boston Bruins. Bobby Orr happened to be my favorite player because he wrote back to me when I sent a fan letter.

I charmed her with my hockey knowledge and engaged her with my fascination with Bobby Orr. We were in the same home room, so I saw her first in the morning and later in the afternoon. I sweet talked her often, occasionally nudging her with my hip. I would say in a shy whisper, “Got you, hip check.” She would flash the most beautiful smile.

Yet, I was shy, painfully shy around her.

When we graduated from grade school, we signed each other’s signature books. I finally opened up how I felt about our friendship. Then we parted ways for the summer and I thought I’d never see her again since we went to different high schools.

Until one autumn day in 1975 – when she got on the same bus as I was going home. There was a seat open next to me and she sat down beside me. My heart raced, wanting to speak to her. Yet, my shyness overwhelmed any chance. I couldn’t even say hello. Nor did she. I watched her get up and leave the bus, never knowing if I would see her again.

The beauty of Valentina’s voice and her love of hockey opened up many aspects of my life – the wonder of poetry and writing and hockey. What it also did was teach me a lesson – one I try to remember every day – never let a moment become a regret.

I wonder to this day how she is doing. I ask a similar questions in my latest novel, EVERYBODY’S DAUGHTER.

What would you say to a loved one after they died? My main character, Michael Stewart, is given a special gift—to speak to his deceased wife for one last time. It’s one of the more poignant moments in the book in which two people have an opportunity to not only forgive each other for their failings but also realize that forgiveness is one of our greatest gifts.

Don’t let today slip away. There may be someone like Valentina ready to reach your heart with a poem. Relish the moment.

How many Valentinas have you known?

Michael John Sullivan’s Book Shelf:

About Michael John Sullivan:

Michael John Sullivan is the author of the critically acclaimed, NECESSARY HEARTBREAK and the soon to be released, (May 1st) EVERYBODY’S DAUGHTER.

For the past 18 years, Michael has been a stay-at-home dad. In between changing diapers, warming baby bottles and juggling taxi and homework duties for his now teenage daughters, he pursued a sports writing career, covering high school sports for Scout.com, a company owned by Fox Sports, Inc. Besides sports, his favorite activities are creating memorable moments with his family and pinching a few cookies and chocolate treats from his daughter’s and wife’s stash.

Michael resides in New York City with his wife, two daughters and “Little Brother,” the family’s Malti Poo.

To learn more about Michael and his writing journey, please click here to visit his website.

Click here to read an excerpt of EVERYBODY’S DAUGHTER.

***

Michael, thank you for sharing your childhood memory with us, and I look forward to having you come back to the blog when your book is released and we can talk about your inspiration behind EVERYBODY’S DAUGHTER.

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17 thoughts on ““Everyone is someone else’s childhood crush.”

    • I understand, as I was extremely shy when I was young, still am (sort of) LOL I think first crushes bring out the awkward shyness in all of us. I met my first crush at a reunion and we had a good laugh about it, because unknown to me, he had a crush on me, but we never let each other know, so missed opportunity. We’ve both met wonderful people to share our lives, so it was fun to connect and catch up. I hope you can meet Valentina some day. 🙂

  1. That was a lovely recollection of Michael’s! Transported back a few years to those feelings. “Stay-at-home dad,” that is just super sexy. Nice post Selena.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Shannon and I appreciate you pressing the like button for my blog. If you like sexy-stay-at-home dads, then I would recommend, Michael’s EVERYBODY’S DAUGHTER about a single father and his incredible journey. I know you’ll really enjoy it.

      • Thank you, and I will add it to my lengthening list. Now, if I could just find the place where I could buy some spare time with no noise or distractions…LOL

  2. Ahh as always Michael, you touched another place in my heart with this one. Thank you Selena for allowing him to put it up here. I refound my childhood and teenage years sweetheart again after my husband passed away in 2008 at 50 yrs old totally unexpectedly. I lost my baby daughter almost immediately afterwards and my mother and had only begun to stop grieving deeply for the passing into eternity of my father and then lost my “2nd father, my Unlce Pete.” That is an overwhelming amount of people you hold dearest to lose all at once and finding him was like a miracle. Although in grade school, we both were too shy to say very much to each other, by the time we got to high school, we were fast friends. I had a convertible before any of the other boys or especially the girls had a car at all as I was granted an emergency license because of neccesity in my family at age 15. Also I had skipped two grades so I was younger than most of my classmates. My best friend and non-biological sister is still my best friend since the day we met when we were 10 years old. Even though I was such a “goodie two-shoes” as some of us were called in our little high school clique, he was amongst us as Captain of the football team. So to say that I was a popular girl was an understatement. I was outspoken about drugs and alcohol which was not popular subject at my high school where both raged even at such an early time. Many of my classmates were the hippie generation and certainly were the late Viet Nam generation. But I knew almost everyone in that large high school and was very active in many things especially the Bagpipe Corps [where I could be with my “Sweetie” at every football game and practice], but primarily my church and my friends. I kept a scrap book of our entire high school years and all the movies we attended, the stubs of the movie tickets, who went with whom and if it was indoors or outdoors, single dates or double dates, dances, parties and proms. Every coursage and dried roses and the cards that had been attached. Every high school annual and the remarks made by my fellow students in mine. Every football game write up from the newspaper is in there and every detail of our dating, first kiss, last kiss and even what he brought me back when he went off to sign up to play university football… and the tags from the box of Chanel No 5 perfume. In a box I have my kilt, bagpipes and the trimmings and even my pom poms from cheerleading days.

    When we rediscovered each other, my hearing what all he had done with his life after we parted ways [as we were both realistic enough to know there was little likelihood of our managing to stay together as a couple with both of us going off to totally different universities in different states], it was like going back in time. I can’t speak for him but for me, I was young and undamaged by the course of life and drinking in his every word. However, something came to me that is a profound thought written long ago by Thomas Wolf: “You can’t go home again.” It was more that we couldn’t go back in time again. He has a wonderful wife and family and I have a wonderful family of my own. I am an author, too, published by State House Press, which is part of the University Presses in Texas as a Texas Historian and 13 Genealogical books on my family history which is extensive and involves almost every major moment in history on some line or another. He has had a fabulous first career and is now into a fabulous second career at a state level. So he did a wonderful job of leading the life we both knew was possible, even if we both took those steps with different spouses. We both have had our fair share of heartaches and breaks and buried more children than I can recall combined. I have buried 4 of mine now and two husbands. However, the wonderful part, is that neither of us have regrets of the years we spent as fast friends who helped keep each other on the straight and narrow path and to help each other formulate dreams that we have both lived out. It isn’t every relationship in your life that you can say you had no regrets, not a harsh word spoken or something left unsaid. When we said good bye when we both were heading off to different universities, that tough giant of a football hero cried as hard as I did! Somehow we truly knew it was not our destiny to stay together and set out to follow our own dreams. His greatest dream, at the time, was university and, if possible. pro-football and mine was scholarship, degrees, marriage and children and to travel the world. My son was born in Holland and we did travel extensively. We would often just get into the car with my then barely six years old daughter reading the road maps and the other two babies in the back seats. We did have many adventures that can only happen when a six years old is reading the map while you drive at outrageous speeds on roads such as the German Autoban where there is no speed limit. We traveled to places other people I know of nver dreamed of going as they were not necessarily tourist locations.

    Because of Michael, I am doing two things at once now. I am writing a fictional historically accurate book on the amazing life of my great great grandmother, the Mistress of one of the very last of the great Plantations in Texas. In my other life, I am working on my 6th degree: a Doctorate in Messianic Judiasm Theology as a man who lives not far from me is doing a Doctorate in Theology proving our Crypto-Jewish roots. His work has inspired thousands around the world who thought they had hidden Orthodox Jewish roots, to dig in there and prove far more than a tiny part of our roots were Jewish. For me, it has been a search to learn the things I never truly learned as a Christian from the Talmud and other ancient Jewish writings and scholars even of today which to me, prove without a doubt, that Jesus [Yeshua] was indeed who He said He was and that He came to fulfill the Law, not to take away from it.

    If I finished this musing correctly, it would divulge too much but Michael was the one who led me to finding my long ago best friend and first love. Michael, I know the rest of the story is safely in your memory somewhere or maybe even forgotten by now of how I found you in the first place before your first book was published. I am still anxiously awaiting my copy of the new book to arrive as I ordered it the instant that you said it was finally going to have a release date. “Necessary Heartbreak” should be mandatory reading for recent widows and widowers and those who have lost loved ones with no chance for that last words of fare thee well and see you soon. Oh to have one final few moments with those I love who have gone ahead of me but especially my husbands as both had such untimely, totally unexpected deaths.

    Selena, after Michael’s remarks about your books, I can’t wait to discover yours!! I am hoping at least one is for sale on Kindle as I can download it and start it immediately tonight! Two of the loves of my life have been those steamy men all Southern and conservative Texas Mothers and Grandmothers warned us about avoiding. But I don’t regret one moment of following after my and their zest and passion for life to the utmost… pushing the envelope to see what was around the next of destiny’s doors.

    • Marianne, thank you for visiting my blog and for sharing your personal journey. I hope all your wonderful memories of your loved ones, comfort your when you miss them so much. It’s never easy and although we do get through the loss, we never quite get over them. I wish you luck in your writing, and enjoy the process.

      I agree with you, Marianne, Michael’s first book, Necessary Heartbreak is a great read for anyone who has lost a loved one.

      My book, WHAT A GIRL WANTS is available on Amazon for Kindle users. If you do pick it up, I hope you enjoy the humor and look forward to your feedback.

  3. thank you for sharing this Mike. I had people in my life like that myself that really helped me along the way!

  4. Michael, thank you for sharing your memory with us all. I know everyone enjoyed it as much as I did. I hope you connect with Valentina again, it would be fun for you both to reminisce. If you do, don’t forget to come back and tell us.

    We look forward to your next visit on this blog, so you can share the cover and excerpt of EVERYBODY’S DAUGHTER.

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