I was spoon fed my teen idols by the Post cereal company. Lured by a brilliant ad guy into the Honeycomb Hideout, where I would cut 45’s off the backs of cereal boxes and play them on my CLOSE ‘n PLAY.
I went crazy for The Archies, Davie Jones of The Monkeys, David Cassidy of The Partridge Family and oh, that adorable Bobby Sherman.
Then came The Jackson Five and that little soulful soprano named Michael, spinning like a top in his fringed leather vest. I knew that he was the one for me. I asked my mom if I could marry him. Her response was, “No.”
“But why Mom? Why can’t I marry him?”
She gave me a look that said; it’s too complicated and I’m too tired to answer that question. “No. Just no. And stop asking why, why, why.”
So, my little brain went to work. Why couldn’t I marry Michael Jackson? The best reason I could come up with was that his eyes were brown and mine were blue. That had to be it. My mom and dad both had blue eyes. It must be some kind of law that a couple had to have the same eye color in order to get married.
So, I put all thoughts of becoming Mrs. Jackson out of my head. Because when you’re a young child, you believe that what your parents tell you is true. Even when it’s not.
Even when it’s sarcasm.
Like the one Sunday when I sat on the couch with my dad, wrapped in one of my grandmother’s crocheted afghans, watching the football game. As he chain-smoked, did away with a 12 pack, and belched insults at the TV, I marveled at the beautiful pompom girls. Dancing, bouncing and smiling in unison with their tight fitting sparkly uniforms and fluffy hands.
“How did they get the pompoms on their hands?” I wondered aloud as my mom came in with a chipped beef and cream cheese concoction. “Did they have to cut off their hands to put the pompoms on?”
“Yes.” She replied with a straight face, “Yes, dear. They have their hands surgically removed and replace them with pompoms.”
Wow. Now that’s dedication! Those girls are hardcore, sacrificing their hands for the beauty of the pompom. How do they eat? They must just dive face first into the plate of food. How do they wipe themselves when they have to go to the bathroom? Eeew! Well, at least flossing their teeth would be easy. I pictured a sad scene; a retirement home for pompom girls with shredded, saggy, dirty pompoms. Imagining the trials and tribulations of being a pompom girl made me realize that pompoming was not the life for me. I’d have to dream up another career.
I stopped asking my mom for things that I wished for. First, she’d squashed my hopes and dreams of owning a baby elephant, then of marrying Michael Jackson, and now the pompoms. Best not to ask. Better to just go on dreaming, believing in the fantasy.
Eventually the meager pickin’s on the cereal boxes could no longer sustain my appetite. I was a growing girl and I needed more sustenance. It was time to graduate to the teen magazines. Teen Beat, Tiger Beat and 16 were what I craved. They were loaded with juicy morsels and I became an expert, memorizing important facts like Michael Jackson’s favorite breakfast food, Bobby Sherman’s dog’s name, Davey Jones’s shoe size. I knew the vital statistics of all my crushes.
And this is where I discovered Donny. Donny, Donny, Donny. I could not get enough of Donny Osmond with his long bangs and white sequined jumpsuit. He was dreamy. When I looked into his green eyes (I didn’t tell my mother about the green eyes), I saw him looking back at me with longing. He was singing straight to my heart; “And they called it Puppy Lo-o-o-ove, just because we’re in our teens.” He understood me.
But how exactly was I going to meet him so that he could discover that I was his one true love? And then one day my question was answered, right there in the pages of 16 magazine;
WIN A DREAM DATE WITH DONNY!
Imagine Spending The Most Spectacular Day Of Your Life With Dreamy Donny Osmond – Topped Off With A Kiss You’ll Never, Ever Forget!!
How would you like to be the one girl in the whole world who has a really ‘n truly dream date with dashin’, darlin’ Donny Osmond?! How would you like to take an all-expense paid trip – with either your mom or dad or an appropriate chaperone – to wherever in the world Donny is when your dream date with him comes true?! How would you like to meet the adorable Donny O – and be the “chosen one” whom Donny takes out on a special, never-to-be-forgotten dream date?!
Natch, your answer to all these questions is – yes, yes, and YES!! And your next question is undoubtedly HOW?
I was not hip to the teen lingo. What the heck was “natch?” I didn’t know, but that didn’t stop me from throwing it into my vocabulary anyway. My friends were baffled, but I didn’t care. All the cool teens say “natch” and certainly Donny knows what “natch” means.
And, about this chaperone thing. No way. There was no way I was going to let my mom or dad ruin my dream date with Donny.
I was ready to be swept away on the wings of love and welcomed with open arms into a big family, something I’d always longed for. And I would have brothers! Singing brothers, no less. And I would get to travel far away to a place called Utah and join a big awesome church.
Yes, this contest was my ticket out of Saginaw, Michigan. Because as a very mature nine year old, I knew what I wanted and now I knew how I was going to get it. I was going to win that date with Donny and when he met me, he’d fall madly in love; we’d be married and live happily ever after.
According to the magazine, it was easy to win.
HOW TO WIN DONNY!
All you do is carefully fill out the coupon below, clip your picture to it and write a letter to Donny telling him why you would like to be the girl he picks to share his Dream Date. Darlin’ Donny himself will decide – on the basis of how sincere the letter sounds – which girl will be the lucky winner!
Don’t worry about how well you write – your honesty and sincerity are what counts, and that’s what Donny will be lookin’ for in your letter! And don’t think you’re not pretty enough to enter, either! Donny just wants to see your pictures so he’ll get to know a little better each and every one of you! But this is not a beauty contest! And, yes, YOU can win very easily!
My mom would have to let me go on this date, she’d just have to. If she didn’t, well, I’d have to kill her, that’s all. And I was gonna win because I knew EVERYTHING about Donny Osmond. I knew his favorite food, his favorite shows and his favorite color. It was purple. Sometimes he even wore PURPLE SOCKS! Coincidentally, this was my favorite color too. I would win him with the color purple.
I needed something special to distinguish me from the hundreds of other prettier, smarter and older girls who would enter the contest. I needed something purple. So I had my grandmother crochet me a purple poncho. A beautiful, very sincere looking, purple poncho, with white fringe. I planned out exactly how I would pose, practiced tilting my head down and my eyes up to make myself appear older and sultry. I would step forward and let my back foot drag behind me like a model.
As I was preparing for the big photo session, my little sister busted in. “You look dumb,” she said. “That poncho is stupid.”
“It is not!” I slugged her. She slugged me back.
I pulled her hair. She pulled mine.
Screaming and crying, we beat the crap out of each other until my mother broke us up.
The damage was done; my sister had completely ruined up my photo session. My eyes were red and watery and my face was flushed.
Grandma assured me that I was still the most beautiful in the world and snapped the photo.