My First Crush and Killer Dwarves

Little Jen

I could say that my first crushes were George Michael (I was so upset when I found out he was gay), Ricky Schroder (I loved Silver Spoons. I can still remember my favorite episode. Ricky gets dumped by a girl and he squishes chocolate eclairs in his hands while their song plays on the radio. Yes, the one and only Broken Wings by Mr. Mister) and Tony Hawk (No additional information needed). But, my first REAL crush. Like, a boy in real life was Steven Hrushka. Yes, I am using his real name. Maybe he will find this post and it will make him laugh.

Steven was the cutest. He had longish curly hair that fell into his big brown eyes. I watched him doodle and draw through class and just stared as he chewed on his pencil. I was a super awkward looking kid. It sure didn’t help that I had glasses so big, they moved up when I smiled.

To add insult to injury, some of the kids in my class lovely referred to me as Jen Bunch of Dirty Underwear (yeah, my maiden name was terrible) and The Vaseline Queen (I’ll have you know people have been using Vaseline on their lips for centuries, jerks). Oh, and let’s not forget Great Central Plains. Not everyone develops at the same time, dammit.

I was awkward and Steven was beautiful. At least, that’s how this played out in my mind. I pined over this poor boy and frequently made a fool out of myself to get his attention. Here are some of the ways:

  • I found out his favorite band was Killer Dwarves, so I went out and bought the cassette. Steven lived around the bend from me and I would watch him come around the corner when he was walking the dog, put the cassette on and sing Killer Dwarves at the top of my lungs. 
  • I wrote I LOVE STEVEN in the fence on the path to school. Don’t tell him that I ended up writing the same thing for Jason Esler the following year.
  • I pretended to skateboard. I have terrible hand/eye coordination. I’m really surprised I didn’t end up with broken bones. Just a broken ego.
  • I would take the long way to school just to walk past his house.
  • I tried to befriend his sister so I could spend more time around his family. Yeah, that didn’t work out as planned.

Even with all of this crazy junior high stalking, the strangest thing happened. One day, he gave me one of his killer bunny drawings. He’d thought about me enough to draw insane killer bunnies ripping my head off. If I had known the word ‘swoon’ in 1988, it would have fully explained my feelings at that exact moment.

He got my phone number and we started talking to each other from the moment school was done until we were kicked off for bed. Everyone at school as shocked that he would pick me. Me! He picked me! I never held his hand or even talked to him at school, but at night, he was the guy who told me about his hopes and dreams before asking me to hang up first. This lasted for a whole week before we both got a little bored and moved on. I mean, in junior high, a week is eternity.

Steven, I have no idea where you are or what you are doing, but thanks for being my first real crush. Now, if I can only influence my daughters to have crushes on boys (or girls) who love metal, skateboarding and drawing. Thankfully I have a few years before that happens.

  • Bermont Batchelor

    I really enjoyed your reflections of this time of life. Fun read