1993 • The Family Affairs
I've been thinking about you. I'm still having a hard time realizing you are 15 years old now. I remember the day your mom and dad told us they were pregnant with you. I remember how much you loved rolling around with Sammy in the backyard and how the adults could still have date night at our house if your parents brought the baby monitor over to our house. I remember how we'd fill up the hot tub with cold water so you could go swimming in the summer. It's so hard knowing that you were going to turn 13 two days before your dad's suicide. I still can't believe it but Scott and I weren't there to see him change.
I'm sure none of your friends have been through something like this yet in their lives. I've seen pictures of you and your boyfriend who is really cute and it reminds me of the summer I was 13. It was time for me to finally get a boyfriend and have that first kiss, but Andrew and I just found out that our parents were having affairs. When we got home we found out they were going to get a divorce. It was devastating.
Well here's a little bit about my life back then...
Family became a world I would no longer believe in on an island in Northern Michigan, in the summer of 93 when I was just 13. My life was no longer just dedicated to Track and Cross Country practice, I had a new job to manage. The family.
Our dad lived up at the cabin on Drummond Island, Michigan fit the entire summer. My brother and I spent two weeks up there while our mom stayed home to work. He met a guy who was spending the summer at the resort and his wife was back home too. They just so happened to have a boy my age and a girl my brother’s age. Joe and I were 13 and old enough to babysit Jessie and Andrew who were 11. It was like playing house in real life. It's like our parents just dropped us off in the middle of nowhere and said: You kids are on own. Here’s some money and you’ve got bikes to get anywhere you want. The nearest town with groceries or movies to rent was 4 miles away. We had to plan our trips accordingly because once it was dark we would never make it home. There were no cell phones and no rules. Stay alive and keep your brother and sister alive. Once we got home with our Icee freeze pops and Bagel Bites, we with settle in to a cabin as dusk neared. It was either a climb through the rock quarry up a 100 foot cliff up to our cabin or a mile walk through the dark black bear inhabited woods. Two options that didn’t work so well with flashlights. Our dad’s wouldn’t be home until 2 am after the local bar, Chad’s Place, closed.
I was just learning about what these feelings were for boys as Joe and I had to prepare our beds on the living room floor at their cabin or our cabin. The other kids in town would stop by and stay till midnight. It didn't matter to us, we had no curfew. Our only priority was not getting eaten by bears, so we slept wherever we were when it got dark outside. I started to develop a crush on Joe who slept next to me ever night for two weeks. I also really liked our neighbor, James. He loved the song, I Would Walk 500 Miles by the Proclaimers on the Benny & Joon soundtrack, so I'd rank up the speakers and open the windows and he'd come over through the woodbox entrance.
I just remember that moment that was supposed to be so special. The first time a boy wanted to kiss me and I have no idea who he even was. Maybe a 16 year old from the local high school who came over after the baseball game. We were standing in the hallway of my parent's cabin. It was dark with a glow coming from the window in the bathroom. My hair smelled like Pert's Plus and Pink Floyd was playing on the stereo below the moose head. It was a moment I wasn't ready for. I didn't know this boy for more than an hour or three. There weren't even feelings to go with that moment. But I turned and walked away. Nothing else happened. If it had been Joe or even James, maybe it would have been different. I just wasn't ready for that first kiss without a crush.
AND THEN IT WAS OVER.
Love, romance, fairy tales, the happily ever after...DEAD ON ARRIVAL.
That very same week I climbed in the van. Joe and I were directing a video shoot for our television episodes with my brother Andrew and his sister Jessie as our actors. The seats were down and there were blankets and two wine glasses, one with lipstick and my mom was not on the island. Our mom came up that weekend and they got into a fight. There was a lot of screaming and crying when our dad got into the car drunk to drive us to the bar. I heard her yelling at him about a waitress. I really don't remember much after that. I was dropped off at another cabin for the Girl's Cross Country Camp and my dad's Boy's Dream Team took over the cabin. When they returned with their video of Karaoke, there she was waiting tables and the boys were just singing Benny and the Jets. The woman my dad had an affair with. I've always wondered what happened that week the High School Boys stayed there because I knew how much fun Andrew and I had that summer.
But that was just the beginning of my new life. The one that would never believe in marriage. Sooner or later you're going to find out there is no Santa Clause or Easter Bunny. Just a load of crap parents feed their kids for what reason exactly? To scar them with a tradition that one day they will find out you lied to them about the harsh reality? Love and marriage was bullshit and I wasn't about to Married with Children.
So you'd think my dad's affair, or alleged affairs, would be enough to destroy a teenager. Nope. My mom was having an affair too. She told my dad to pack his bags and get out. As I celebrated my 14th birthday on September 8th, it would be the last time my family would ever sit there together to sing to me. A new man was coming to the table to be my stepfather.
But guess what...I had a boyfriend. A 16 year old blonde haired, blue eyed soccer player named Shawn Cole asked me out at the swimming pool at the end of the summer. I remember that crush and horseplay in the pool. Madonna's Rain was playing every day on the radio that summer. Maybe love wasn't dead after all.
How did you and your boyfriend meet?