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Held on a pedestal

Updated on October 23, 2011

Youth and coming of age

The object of our affection

Oh the magical time in our lives when a boy becomes a young man and a girl becomes a young lady and the two shall meet. Call it what you may but it is what we call coming of age and when we have our inner feelings surface and our desires known to each other we call it puppy love. I can remember from my early experiences when I first noticed girls. I was a school boy in first grade and it was an innocent crush I had on a cute girl from Brooklyn, NY in parochial school. I was a shy kid but I noticed cute girls early on and I had a weakness in that I would always fall for the girl but never say a word. I was painfully shy and the more attractive the girl the more I would shy away.

I am convinced it was my first grade teacher who hit me over the head with a yard stick that caused me to shy away and never talk again to girls for a long time afterwards. You see I was talking to my friend Karen who I secretly had a crush on and it happened to be during a lesson being given to the class. So as I'm speaking to the girl of my dreams, Sister Mary Rita hears me and starts heading in my direction and says within a few feet of me "Young man, there will be no talking in my class when I am giving a lesson!" As she was saying this she swung the yard stick and hit me straight on the head and I remember from that day on I never talked again in the classroom and I shied away from the girls for a real long time.

I noticed early on how special girls were and I trusted them and felt comfortable around them. I always enjoyed their company and it was an innocent thing. I remember telling my mom why I liked the girls and she thought it was cute and told me to always respect them and always treat them like I would my sisters. I remember the girls in their school uniforms which were plaid rompers and mary jane shoes. I remember I wore gray pants, white shirt and a red tie with the initials LFS for Little Flower School. The girls wore the red romper with the same initials on the front of their romper. The color red was designated for grades 1 through 3 and when we graduated and moved on to the 4th grade we wore the color blue. The boys wore a blue tie and the girls a blue romper. I remember telling my mom how exciting it was to finally move up to blue.

It seems when we are young we learn early on the differences between boys and girls and we tend to respect each other but prefer to separate when it comes to playing and hanging out. We are encouraged to do things together but the boys seem to prefer not associating with the girls for some time. As we grow it is a well established fact that the girls start to mature sooner than the boys in their appearance, their mindset and in dealing with their emotions. From my memory as a young kid I liked the girls but was interested in playing little league baseball and hanging out with my friends who were my teammates and my classmates. During my playing days there were no girls on my teams and I really didn't hangout with the girls outside of school. Occasionally we would include a friend's sister in our bike rides in the neighborhood or a kickball game.

It seems in our youth boys and girls are civil to each other and they kind of notice each other but don't really admit to it. When we are young the girls are cute but they are girls and we are more into rough and tumble things while the girls do ballet. Of course there were girls that liked to hang with the boys and play hockey or baseball and climb trees. We treated them like one of the boys and they were called tomboys. Something happened to our tomboy friends though when they became teenagers. They started wearing dresses and radiated their natural beauty and we started to appreciate them as girls and truly notice that they were indeed girls. I am reminded of the movie the Bad News Bears with Tatem O'Neil who was the star pitcher of the team and a tomboy and was treated like one of the teammates but when she wore a dress she was the cute girl and not the tomboy anymore and was treated with more respect as a young lady.

I don't know what it is about our youth but time seems to fly by and we go from young kids to teenagers in the blink of an eye it seems and we start to endure changes physically and emotionally and life becomes far more different for us and we as boys definitely start to notice the girls in their cute ways with the pretty dresses they wear and the makeup and different hairstyles. It is an awakening and a real coming of age and life as we knew it has forever changed in a wonderful way. The girls start to become young ladies and the boys start to learn to respect them and to try to garner their attention as life now becomes more complicated.

Clothing becomes essential in a teenage girl's life and they find a fondness in shopping at the mall and finding that cute dress to wear to the school dance or to a family outing. Girls are blossoming and coming into their own and they enjoy dressing and being pretty which is their birthright. It is harder for the parents coming to grips with their kids growing years and it triggers their own experiences with coming of age and how best to advise their children as they start to ask questions. As parents it is essential to be supportive of our kids at this time in their life and to be there for them to answer their question and to listen to them. It is definitely a roller coaster ride at that time in a teenager's life. No one said it would be easy.

I always remember my dad telling me that one day I would meet that special girl and it will be destined. He said you are meant to be together and just have not yet met as she is living her life and I am living mine and one day our paths will cross and when I think back to what he said I realize how right he was. Those special moments talking to my mom and dad were very helpful and gave me insight into growing up and having relationships. It is truly special when you meet the girl you have been waiting for and join as one. Life is wonderful!

Edward D. Iannielli III


Summer of '42

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Modern English - Melt with you

Coming of Age


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