I was a 3rd grader at Maximo Elementary School in St. Petersburg, Florida. This was the year a substitute teacher, Mrs. Bee, had a seisure. One of the scariest things I’ve ever seen but it did have a silver lining. The pretty teacher next door, I got to sit in her lap as a way to deal with my pain and suffering. Oh, and Mrs. Bee was fine. That’s important, too. It was also in 3rd grade I met the funniest person I’ve ever known. This kid made me laugh so much until one day he didn’t show up to school. A few days later his mom came and gathered his things from the classroom. I didn’t think that was funny at all. But the best memory of 3rd grade was when I fell in love with Mary Jane.
She was the object of my heart’s affection. So much so that I filled up the back cover of one of my little notebooks with the phrase, “I love Mary Jane. I love Mary Jane. I love Mary Jane,” over and over until there was no room left. Maybe it was the way she colored outside the lines. Maybe it was how fast she ran during recess. But obviously, I was OCD’ing for her big time, and the back of my notebook proved it. Was it love? Probably not. But to this day, the name Mary Jane is special because of that little 3rd grade crush. Her parents probably named her that for other reasons that we didn’t understand at such a young age, but I’ll continue assuming it’s a family name. And I’ll continue with the memory of Mary Jane as the first girl I loved. Even before Cyndi Lauper.