Tuesday, July 24, 2018

My First Crush: Tab Hunter

Tab Hunter died. Proof that I’m in my Third Third … and that Tab Hunter was in his Eighth Eight. (My husband says I have to provide a link so people will know who on earth Tab Hunter is.)

Tab Hunter was my first crush. Sunday nights were Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, followed by Shirley Temple’s Storybook, followed by The Tab Hunter Show. I remember nothing of the show except that I fell in love with Tab Hunter. I must have remembered that it took place in California because …

I wrote a novel about growing up, marrying Tab Hunter, and living in California. It was called My Future World. It was very long – it filled an entire Big Chief tablet of ruled paper. I showed it to my favorite teacher, Miss MacNally. She was young and fashionable, and she followed on Miss Crisswell and Miss Strangmeyer, who were old and fuddy-duddyish and had eyeglasses on chains around their necks.

Only yesterday did I realize that if I showed it to Miss MacNally, I was in third grade and I was seven years old! I remember that because Miss MacNally divulged my secret: she showed my novel to the school psychologists. I came home from school and there were two men in suits talking with my mother in the living room (the room NO ONE ever occupied). They wanted to put me in fourth grade. They wanted to take me away from my beautiful, attentive, wonderful Miss MacNally. I refused. It worked; I was a pretty adamant seven-year-old.

Do you ever look back on things you did when you were younger and you simply cannot believe you could do them? In cleaning out the family attic, my siblings and I were constantly flabbergasted over science projects and term papers we’d come across. Who did this?!? I did?!? And not only because I can’t remember, but because I can’t remember being that capable.

Anyhow, Tab Hunter and I had 26 children, all named alphabetically. I got their names from the big, fat, red book on the bookshelf. It had something to do with parenting, but the back was an appendix of baby names and their meanings. That’s where I found out that Barbara meant “pirate, barbarian.” That must be where the adamant seven-year-old came from.

The only other thing I remember is that I lived in California with Tab. So did my brother and baby sister. My middle sister, Allison, lived in New Hampshire.

Notice that, did you? Allison, with whom I shared a bedroom and slept not three feet away from every night for 15 years (well, since I was seven, that would have been only five years by then) was exiled across the country. I know I specifically picked New Hampshire because it was FAR AWAY.
I love Allison. I miss that she now lives so far away in Berlin. But I guess in addition to tormenting her when we were little, I also exiled her. I was the older sister after all.

I remember coming across another story I’d written. A non-fiction one. Mom asks me to do the dishes. I say, “It’s not my turn. I did them last night. Why don’t you ask Allison to do it?” “Oh, you know,” my mother answers. “She washes them in cold water.”

So for that crime, she was banished to New Hampshire.

I have a few of the stories I’d written. I called them “Golden Books” and made them into booklets.

But the novels? They’re gone. I kept them in the chest of drawers; our mother had painted each drawer a different color. The right side was a cabinet, The Little White Closet. That’s where my stories sat even when the dresser was moved to the basement.

One day, my mother, who was a witty and wonderful and unpublished writer, shared that she had kept her stories hidden under a cushion on a sofa in her parents’ basement. She came home from school one day to discover that her parents had sold the sofa. She couldn’t get them back. Hearing that, I was devastated for her. Devastated.

Years later, I came back from college to discover that The Little White Closet had been emptied and was now filled with folders labeled, “Financial Papers.” My mother insisted, “I never throw anything away!” but my life with Tab Hunter vaporized. I never even told him about our future life together.

And now Tab Hunter is dead.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hmmmm. I think Tim bears a slight resemblance to Tab Hunter. Coincidence?

  3. Your sister washes the dishes with cold water! Not the point of the story, but worthy of a huge guffaw!


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