[October, 1988] Charles in Charge…of My Heart
I am thinking of writing a little letter to Charles telling him that I like him only I won’t put my name on it. I just might do it.
Now I wrote the letter and a lot of kids know but they don’t know who wrote it.
One classic childhood method of gauging a potential suitor’s interest is the note saying “I like you. Do you like me? Check one box.” Below which would be two boxes, marked “Yes” and “No” respectively. If the responder wanted to be coy, a third box would be drawn in marked “Maybe” (nowadays, we call a person like that “a tease”).
Being only ten years old and still somewhat of a slave to traditional gender roles (and–oh yeah–a chicken) I didn’t want to take such a direct route with Charles. I decided it would be much more exciting to write him an anonymous note.
Seeing as I wrote this journal entry over the course of one day, I must have decided pretty quickly to take such dramatic and mysterious measures in expressing my interest in Charles. I can imagine the thrill I must have felt slipping the letter into his desk when nobody was looking, the delicious anxiety over the possibility of being found out. To be honest, I may have been inspired by Secret Admirer, the 1985 C. Thomas Howell movie in which anonymous love letters continually end up in the wrong hands with disastrous/”hilarious” results. I found the concept terribly romantic, and also a perfect way to share my feelings without actually putting my heart on the line.
As news of the note buzzed through our class, I kept quiet about my identity and pretended to be surprised with the rest. For now, it was enough that Charles knew someone liked him.
At the very least, I provided a bit of intrigue to what would have otherwise been an ordinary day in the fifth grade.