Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A long over due "Thank you!"

Mr. Ken

Re: A long over due THANK YOU!

Dear Ken,

Twenty nine years ago, a young; not quite mature as she would like to have believed young girl lived in a small city seventy miles out side of her beloved Sacramento where she had been raised until she was twelve years of age. Transplanted from the large metropolitan city where all her family and friends were, to living in this small town of Colusa was quite a shock, and this young girl did not react well.

The girl was, quite frankly, miserable in Colusa. None of her friends lived in this tiny town so far removed from what she was used to. None of her friends were there to bolster her confidence, or share laughter and tears with. Not even her best friend was nearby, and long distance phone calls were only so great at helping the young girl feel connected.

Colusa seemed so small! During those final few precious last weeks of summer, the girl explored her new town with open eyes, and much fear. The young girl immediately liked the park, swimming pool and tennis courts. But, she was lonely. She knew no one, and every person of her own age she came across seemed reluctant to take a moment to extend a friendly greeting. The word “clique” had a strong meaning to the girl. The cliques existed, and she was on the outside looking in.

The first day of school arrived. The young girl hearing the whispers of, “Who is that?” ringing throughout the hallways of the middle school, felt like a fish in a very small bowl. And that bowl had been placed in the depth of the ocean for all the native Colusa teens to feed upon. Surprisingly enough, she did not get eaten that day, just nipped at, and put in her place several times that day, and for many weeks to come. She was reminded that she was the outsider, and that although she may live in Colusa – she was not “from” Colusa and was therefore not worthy of belonging to the teens.

There were notable exceptions to the rule. A few brave, kind Colusa teens who had obviously been raised by loving and kind parents, parents who knew there was a world beyond the boundary lines of Colusa, and who raised their children to accept people for what is in their heart and mind, accepted the new comer, and tried to make her feel as though she belonged. The young girl was too naïve to see or understand this at the time. But she never forgot their kindness, and even as she carried her dislike for Colusa into adulthood, she appreciated those few people. They had made the difference. They had made those months of living in Colusa not so painful, and not as lonely as it could have been.

One of the young girl’s favorite people was a prince among the teen-aged boys. He was her age, and had manners, a sense of humor, honor and insight. He had the wisdom and knowledge of an older soul. He befriended the girl and tried his best to ease her unhappiness. He offered his ear to her soul and encouraged her to talk. He participated in active conversation with her. He made her laugh! He made her smile. He made her feel a contentment that no one else had. He offered her his young heart and they became “steady” boy friend and girl friend. Being the young and immature teen that she was, it would be many years later, and only through the vision known as hindsight; before she would fully appreciate the innocent relationship of that 7th grade romance, and the depth of maturity he shared with her. He was wise beyond her years. She was the one from the big city – but he was that one with the knowledge of life and maturity.

During the time the young couple “dated” the young man learned the girl had a teen idol ~ Donny Osmond. The teen idol was the epitome of “Puppy Love” and was known for his wholesome values, clean family entertainment, good looks and wonderful voice. The girl had learned that her teen idol and his family would be performing in the California bay area city of San Carlos at a venue known as the Circle Star Theater, and she really wanted to go. Her parents; they were not so certain that a not quite 13 year old girl needed to be at a concert.

The young girl tried everything she could to change her mom’s mind so that she could go. But the young girl’s mom was not budging. The concert would be expensive and they would have to drive several hours to and from the concert. Maybe if the venue had been local and not several hours away, then maybe she would have been allowed to go. Maybe.

The young girl’s boyfriend – he had more than just his heart to offer when the young girl shared her unhappiness at not being allowed to attend the concert - he had magic! That magic was a direct connection from his parent’s place of business to the manager of the Osmond Family! And, in no time at all – not only was permission granted, but given with joy for the young girl and her 7th grade boy friend to attend the concert. The young girl’s parents would provide transportation and chaperone the young teen couple to and from the concert.

The Saturday morning of the concert arrived with stormy grey skies that unleashed torrential rains upon California. The heavy rain clouds dumping there load upon the land could not dampen the young girl’s spirits as her parent’s root beer colored Honda wagon traveled down the state to the concert. Nothing could take the happiness from the girl – she had her 7th grade boy friend beside her, and they were on their way to enjoy a real live concert. The girl’s step father was an award winning newspaper photographer, and he had given the young couple his press passes for the concert, so they couple would be allowed to take a camera with then during the concert, thus enabling them to capture the memories for posterity.

Arriving at the venue, the young teen-age boy and girl went to “Will Call” to pick up their tickets, which were being held for them under the name of “YAMAHA.” But the tickets were not there. After some confusion, the kids were sent around to the back stage door, and upon telling the security at the door their names and explaining the confusion, they were admitted to the back stage area ….. Oh my!! This was even better than just going to a concert, they got to walk through the back stage area, where the Osmond Family could be seen getting ready before taking the stage. Wow! The girl was flabbergasted and speechless (which did not happen very often.)

Escorted by a member of the Osmond’s staff, the teens were shown to their seats (near the front, and in the center!) and instructed to return to the back stage door after the concert so that they would have the opportunity to meet a few of the Osmonds and maybe even get autographs and pictures. Oh my!!! The teen-aged girl was in for the experience of a lifetime, and she was thrilled! Every moment of the concert was magical, and each moment was captured in indelible ink in her mind. This – this was “something” she would never forget.

After the concert, following the instructions they were given, the young couple returned back stage, bringing with them the young girl’s mother and step father, the step father’s professional camera, their autograph books, programs and immense excitement.

An Osmond staff member greeted the 7th grade teens saying, “I am not sure how much time we have, or who is available, but I am pretty certain that we can get Donny to come over and talk to you, would that be okay?” Oh my …… YES! The girl began to tremble with pure excitement … her steady reminded her to relax, calm down, and just be herself. She needed that reminder.

Merrill and Wayne Osmond stopped by, chatted for a moment and signed their autographs. Marie, Alan, Jay, and Jimmy were off in another direction greeting fans and unwinding after the wonderful performance they had shared with their fans. And, then, making every wish and dream come true for the young girl, Donny joined the foursome from Colusa. Oh my! He was just as charismatic and friendly in person as he was on the television, his voice as warm and layered as it is on records… only he was standing right there with the teens, his arm around the young girl’s shoulders. Her smile was full and true, exhibiting a depth of happiness she could not even begin to believe. Pictures were taken of Donny with the young teen-aged boy from Colusa and his young teen-aged awe struck girlfriend. Conversations were shared between the teen idol and the teen-aged boy and girl; memories were seared into the mind of the teen-age girl. She would never forget this moment.

Several months later, the school year ended. The young girl went off to her father’s in another state for the summer and dreaded her return back to Colusa. For although the girl had made several friends in the tiny town of Colusa; her heart and soul longed to return to her beloved Sacramento. At just thirteen years of age, she was not wise enough to appreciate the true value of those few friendships she had made. She could only feel that she belonged elsewhere – some place other than that tiny town, where every one knew every one, and if you weren’t from there, you belonged elsewhere.

While enjoying the sunshine and happiness of summer at her father’s the young girl received a phone call during which she was told it was time to come back to Colusa. The young girl’s mother had decided to move. The girl would have to help pack the duplex they had lived in during their time in Colusa, and then unpack and establish their household in Roseville, California. It was with much excitement and without looking back twice that the girl joyfully arrived home, packed her belongings, and gleefully said goodbye to Colusa.

In her haste to “move on” the girl was shallow and selfish. She did not take the time to express her appreciation to the young man who had given her a priceless gift - unconditional friendship and acceptance. Roseville became the home of her heart and soul within mere weeks of arriving and unpacking boxes. She has never regretted the move to Roseville, and to this day loves living there and calls herself a native of Roseville. But – she also has never forgotten the true friend who tried to make a difference – Kenny.

Kenny has frequently crossed her mind, leaving her to reflect upon his kindness with both joy and sorrow. A true friend should be appreciated. The young girl that Robin was did not realize this until several years down the road, and then she could not find her way back so that she could say, “Thank You. I appreciate you. I appreciate your family and the kindness and joy that were shared with me during a time in my life that misery was my best friend. I appreciate you for trying to show me the value of taking life one day at a time, and for trying to get me to take each moment of happiness and appreciate the value of that happiness. Thank you for sharing your friendship with me and for sharing your young heart with me. You have carried a piece of my heart with you, as I gained knowledge and eventually maturity in my life. Thank you for being my friend, and for making my dreams have value, and for making my dream of meeting my teen idol a reality. Thank you for accepting the new kid in town and for not treating me like the plague”

Recently, through a social network, the young girl found out that the young boy had relocated. Using a Google search engine to search his name, and finding a connection, the girl knew it was time. Time to finally, many years later, have the opportunity to thank the boy who made an impression on the girl.

Ken ~

This thank you is 29 years late, but I hope that you can see how much your kindness - being a true friend to a young girl - meant to me. I have thought of you often over the years. My husband and daughter, having heard me tell stories about my time living in Colusa, wanted to know if I had ever thanked you properly for being my friend during those months that I lived there.

I was shamed to admit that I never had.

Thank you for sending me your address so that I could do what should have been done years ago – say, “THANK YOU!”



Fink said...

What a very sweet and wonderful story!

Darlene L said...

Hey Robin--I read your story with much interest. We moved so often my dd went to a different school every year till 8th grade. I often wonder just how difficult that was for her. However I think it prepared her for life. She had the "guts" to leave a job, home, friends and move to where she wanted to live--Houston. She is so happy there and I could not want for anything else--even though I miss her so much.