First Love by (3 Stories)

Prompted By Teenager in Love

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Sammy was my first love (and my first heartbreak). I had just turned 14 and was in the ninth grade at a small coed school where I was not popular with boys. Sammy, the cousin of a classmate, went to a different (all boys) school. Our mutual infatuation was quick and intense. We were inseparable, at least as much as two kids in different schools could be. We talked on the phone nightly and saw each other every weekend. Sammy did not have an ID bracelet (the uniform code for “going steady” in 1965), so I wore his watch. Walking around school with that too-big watch on my wrist I felt special, and loved.

We both had curfews, but Sammy’s parents were stricter than mine. After a date (a parent must have driven us, at least at the beginning before Sammy turned 15 and could drive), Sammy would drop me off, go home, sneak out and come back. (We lived only a few blocks apart.) We would make out on the living room couch for hours–in a chaste 14-year-old over-the-clothes (mostly) and above-the-waist kind of way.

We never got caught, but Sammy’s parents began to think we were too serious, and they started to put limits on how much he could see me. We suddenly could only have contact over the weekend. During the week I would write down everything I wanted to tell him. And, experienced sneakers that we were, we also managed to see each other at other than the allowed times, at such exotic and forbidden places as the public library.

Our romance lasted through tenth grade. Then in the summer Sammy broke my heart. I was caught completely by surprise. I had what I’d describe through my adult eyes as an acute grief reaction. I felt punched in the stomach; I would wake up happy in the morning and then remember that my world no longer included Sammy, and I’d feel broken.

Luckily, even then I had close and supportive female friends. One of them was a friend from summer camp who lived in a different city. She invited me to visit her to recover. While there, she set me up with one of her brother’s friends. Though I had a bit of a crush on her brother (which resulted in a make-out session a couple of years later), I didn’t particularly like his friend. But I did begin to recover.

Then wonder of wonders—Sammy had second thoughts and wanted to get back together. I was thrilled, so we did. But—the spell was broken. Though we stayed together a few more months, it just wasn’t the same. So we parted ways again—mutually this time.

I haven’t seen Sammy since high school. I suppose today, with Facebook and such, I could manage to track him down and see what he’s up to now, but I’d rather not. Some memories should just be left alone.

Profile photo of Kit Kit

Characterizations: been there, moving, well written


  1. John Shutkin says:

    Really enjoyed the story, Kit. Obviously, though a first love, you and Sammy had a real relationship going, as you nicely detail (i.e., not just the hormone stuff). And, consequently, real heartbreak. That said, when you speak of “the spell was broken,” that so well reflects the magical part of these first relationships.

  2. Suzy says:

    I love this story, Kit. You write so evocatively, I was right there with you. It’s hard for me to imagine you with anyone but Paul, so it’s nice to learn about Sammy. Sorry he broke your heart. Did he give you a reason for breaking up, or just say “it’s over”? And did he do it on the phone (the equivalent of the younger generation’s breakup by text) or in person?

    • Kit says:

      Thanks, Suzy. Funny that I don’t remember it exactly, but I’m sure it was in person. And I think he just said he didn’t love me anymore (even from this distance, heart-crushing words).

  3. Betsy Pfau says:

    I love you way describe making out, Kit (chastely, over-the-clothes, mostly). And wearing his watch, since he didn’t have an ID bracelet. This was a real, long-lasting relationship and it is understandable that you felt punched in the stomach when it was over. I also love the fact that you never sought him out later in life. Your final sentence is lovely and evocative. It is true. One cannot go back to adolescence. Best to leave it alone.

  4. John Zussman says:

    Like Suzy, your story leaves me—as Sammy left you—wondering exactly why he broke up with you, for whom he had broken rules and defied his parents. Perhaps it’s better not to know exactly. At any rate, thank you for recapturing the elation and heartbreak of first love.

  5. Risa Nye says:

    Ah yes, those pesky parents trying to make things hard for teenagers in love! This brought back a lot of memories for me: there was a boy in 7th grade who walked me home and held my hand in the dark during slide shows in History class. (Never even got a kiss from him before summer ended and we both moved away.) This was a sweet look back at a special time in your life.

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