There are millions and millions of people in the greater Chicago area. As I've mentioned previously, I moved away for many years and returned last year. While I was gone I got a divorce and took back my maiden name.
Yesterday I wrote a check for some groceries, and the cashier recognized my last name. "Are you any relation to ____ ?" she asked. The name wasn't familiar. However she looked about twenty+ years younger than me, so she might be referring to the child of a cousin I'd know.
"I'm not sure, I have so many cousins." I answered. Both my father's parents came from huge families, ten and twelve children. Those children went on to have slightly smaller families of four to six children. Most of those children are already grandparents or will be soon. I am not even sure how many cousins I have.
The cashier persisted. "His parents are ___ and ___ ---do those names sound familiar?"
"Well, if her maiden name was ____, I do know who they are. Actually I was friends with her sister in school, we were excited that her big sister was marrying my cousin. That was forty years ago!"
The cashier became excited. I could see the lady in line behind me was getting angry, even though the cashier had been ringing up my order through all this. I began gathering my things trying to pay quickly and make a quick and polite exit.
"Then you might know my dad!" she said. "He was best friends with the guys in the _maiden name of childhood friend__ family!" I could barely remember my childhood friend's name, but out of politeness I asked "Who is your dad?"
"_____ ______ !" she said. "He married ___(another old schoolmate of mine_)."
Although I hadn't even thought of his name in years and years, the minute she said his name I saw his face. Leaning in to kiss me. He was the biggest crush I had when I was young. I tried and tried to flirt with him for years although I was terribly shy back then.
Then one day at a party we were dancing and he leaned in and gave me a kiss. I think I was about sixteen at the time. By today's standards it was a very innocent kiss. But the thrill I felt then was unforgettable.
We talked for hours that night. The next day he called and asked me to a concert--as part of a large group of friends going. Still, he had asked me! It would kind of be a date. I was so excited. My mother refused to let me go. Why?
He was one year younger than me. She thought it was shameful and that I would look 'desperate' going out with a younger guy.
It broke my heart to tell him. He avoided me after that. Ahh he was so cute!
"I had the biggest crush on him!" I blurted out. "He was a good kisser too!"
"Oh, gross," the cashier said. "I can't even think of my dad that way. I mean, he's a grandfather for heaven's sake."
I was a little embarrassed for being indiscreet, yet I thought it was kind of fun.
"Well, once upon a time your dad was a hottie," I told her. I know we're all old now, but you'll understand some day."
She started laughing,and said "maybe". "Can I tell him I saw you?"
"Oh sure," I told her. "I don't know if he will remember me, but I'll never forget him."
I took my groceries and moved on. Who would have thought, in this area teeming of people, that sometimes it's like a small town?