Q Dear Miss Abigail:
I am in love with my P.E. teacher. What do I do? I mean I look into his eyes and he kind of looks into mine. To me he would stop traffic.
A Dear Lovey:
He can stop all the traffic he wants, but unfortunately he’s out of bounds for you, as this 1956 excerpt from Evelyn Millis Duvall’s Facts of Life and Love for Teen-agers explains. Never fear, Lovey dear, though you may be heartbroken and confused today, it will all work out in the end. I mean, you can always look into someone else’s eyes, right?
1956: Love Under a Cloud
One of the most difficult things that may happen while growing up is to find oneself in love with someone with whom one should not be. It is hard to understand and deal with in itself, and it is made more difficult by not being able to talk about it freely and easily. Other troubles tend to evaporate when we discuss them. Love out of bounds is love under a cloud. It often hurts inside us because it is not fully understood and it is hard to handle it comfortably. . . .
Crushes on Older Persons
Gertrude was ‘crazy’ about her history teacher. She lived for the hour that she spent in that one teacher’s class. She copied the way she did her hair. She spent all her allowance one Friday on red roses which she put on the teacher’s desk with a note that read,’With all my love, Gertrude.’ When it was time for school to close in June, Gertrude wept at having to be separated from her beloved teacher through the summer months. Her love for her history teacher was no less real because her folks scoffed at it as a schoolgirl crush.
Harry worshiped the coach. He hung on every word and carried out every little suggestion the coach made with zealous devotion. He slipped into the gym early in the morning to get out the equipment for the coach. One day when the coach threw his arm over Harry’s shoulder in a gesture of friendly companionship, Harry felt himself shiver all over. Was Harry ‘in love with’ the coach? Well, we do not call it that, do we? We feel that sometimes there is something not quite right in a boy’s being fond of an older man that way. And yet this is one stage of development that many boys like Harry go through.
It is as though young people getting into their early teens replace the close childhood love they have had for their parents with an even more intense feeling for some older person who for a while has the place of the parent, emotionally. This quite commonplace phase of growing up is something to become concerned about only when it persists for a long time and is not replaced by other types of affection. While it lasts it is a very precious kind of devotion, and not to be laughed at or ashamed of.
Source: Duvall, Evelyn Millis. Facts of Life and Love for Teen-Agers. New York: Association Press, 1956.
~ pp. 311-12, 313-14 ~