Heart Throb

Hello Gentle Reader,

I recently discovered that this column is very similar to another that I wrote 2 1/2 years ago.

Rather than a re-run, this essay is more of a reboot.

So, without further ado, please enjoy a tale of my elementary school love life.

Take care and stay safe,


This is going to date the heck out of me, but when I was in kindergarten, at Lad & Lassie School in Mobile, Alabama, I was madly in love with Bobby Sherman.

I thought he was dreamy.  I had a Bobby Sherman lunch box.

When he sang “Julie Do You Love Me?”, my besotted brain changed Julie to debbie.  He was also the star of his own short-lived sitcom.  IMDB informs us that the name of the show was “Getting Together”, but until now I always assumed, it was, “The Bobby Sherman Show”.

That’s what I called it in my heart.  My fickle, fickle heart.

By the first grade, I was all about Donny Osmond.  And I loved sister Marie; I couldn’t wait for her to be my sister-in-law.

I’d received a portable cassette player and the Osmond Brothers “Crazy Horses” cassette for Christmas.  Every afternoon, I would grab it and rush down to Cathy Ainge’s house (unlike me, she didn’t have brothers, so it was much more peaceful at her place).

We’d pop in that cassette and proceed to squeal at the sound of our beloved’s voice.  Then, we’d swoon like a Jane Austin heroine seeing her first hairy chest.  How her mother put up with it is anybody’s guess.

I read Teen Beat and Tiger Beat magazines.  But 16 (the fan mag, not to be confused with the fashion mag for older girls, Seventeen), was our absolute fave.  In addition to interviews and layouts with Donny and a host of other cute boys, they printed serials about different celebrities that ran for months.

We were about six months into a Donny serial and deeply immersed.  There were probably at least six more months to go when my dad came home from work one day to announce that our Coast Guard family was being transferred to Puerto Rico.

I was already, at nine-years-old, a veteran of these moves.  And who wouldn’t want to have a three-year vacation in a tropical paradise? 

I refused.

Of course, I would miss my friends.  I would miss the Girl Scouts and my Brownie troop.  I was also shortstop on my t-ball team, which I loved.  The kids that lived in my neighborhood were my cohorts and my squad.  The neighborhood itself was still full of places I hadn’t yet explored.

But I was a Coastie kid, and moving every few years was part of the deal; I knew I’d make new friends, have new clubs and activities, and have many new places to explore. 

No, my relocation veto had nothing to do with any of those things.

It was because of my (current) one true love, Donny Osmond.

I was staying in North Carolina because I had no idea if 16 magazine was available at newsstands in Puerto Rico—and I was taking no chances.

It speaks to my parents’ ability to wisely deal with the upheavals that came with being a Coast Guard family, that they took my objections seriously.  They proposed a plan in which I would earn the money in advance, and my mother’s best friend, Mizz Judy would purchase the magazine each month through the run of the serial, and mail it to our new home in the Caribbean.

Mizz Judy faithfully kept mailing, and I kept reading until Donny’s multi-part adventures had concluded.  And, our dreamlike sojourn in the very Northwestern corner of that little coral outcropping called the Borinquen (bo-rink-can) became one of my very favorite homes.

And, Donny was far from the last crush I had.  And as I grew up and matured, so did my crushes and the motivations for them.

Thanks for your time.

Contact debbie at d@bullcity.mom.

Sing! Um, Debbie…why don’t you hum?

When The Kid was in middle school, if there were a few minutes to kill at the end of class, one of the teachers had a game.  He’d play short snippets of songs from the 70’s or 80’s and the students would attempt to “Name That Band”.

The Kid participated three times, then was prohibited from playing again.

The reason?  The Kid smoked those classmates like a Smithfield ham.  My child was infallible.  And with this walking database competing, the other students never stood a chance.

The lifetime ban was imposed on The Kid; but the fault lay with me, my mom, and my big brother, Homer.

She actually owned this album.

Since birth, I was around music.  As a teenager, my bobby-soxer mom rushed home from school each day to watch American Bandstand.  In those days, the show was on live from Philadelphia; Mom lived about an hour away.  A very young Dick Clark was the host (think Ryan Seacrest with more teeth, hair, and charm), and they had a regular cast of dancers.  My mom knew the name and back story of each one.

So, I was bathed in fifties rock and roll from birth.  I was the only toddler on the block who knew the difference between Chubby Checker (The Twist) and Fats Domino (Ain’t That a Shame, Blueberry Hill).  In kindergarten, my heroes were Captain Kangaroo, Chuck Berry, and Bobby Sherman (I thought he was cute).

See?  I told you he was cute.

Then my brother became a musical mentor.  At seven I was convinced Rod Stewart and Janis Joplin were siblings because they had similar gravelly voices.  I loved The Band’s album, “Music from the Big Pink”, because I was enchanted with the idea of living in a pink house.  My favorite songs were the Beatle’s “Maxwell Silver Hammer”, never knowing that the catchy tune was about a violent lunatic on a killing spree, and “Cecelia” from Simon and Garfinkle, blissfully unaware of the equally adult theme of desertion by a faithless lover.

My groovy tape player.  And my tapes were stored in a special cassette suitcase.

I started high school just before the premiere of MTV and videos of popular music.  If I wasn’t watching music on TV, I was listening to it on the radio or my bright yellow portable cassette player.  One of my very first dates with Petey was to a Rod Stewart concert (Here’s something both crazy and heartbreaking: the tickets were $8 each).The Kid was born to Cab Calloway’s “Minnie The Moocher” and raised with all kinds of music.  At 4, my child became the coolest kid in preschool when our family went to an Aerosmith concert.  Whenever we were in the car, the radio was on, and music from the 70s and 80s was playing.

And, we were playing “Name That Band”.  Which brings us back to the middle school prohibition.

So, there has been a soundtrack to the whole of my life.

An actual photo of me, at a concert.

But here’s the thing.  I can’t sing, and my musical ability is nil.  Despite a year of lessons, I can neither play the flute nor read music.  To play a tune, I manually counted out the note on the sheet music, then looked up the fingering.  In that manner, it takes about six weeks to play the opening to “Silver Bells”.  My band teacher kindly suggested that during concerts I replace my flute playing efforts with motion, but no sound.

In response to earnest familial entreaties, I have promised to never sing out loud.

But if Sinead O’Conner’s belting out “Nothing Compare 2U”, Billy Preston’s crooning to “Mrs. Jones”, or Foreigner’s singing anything, all bets are off, and they know to cover their ears, and/or leave the room.Thanks for your time.