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Childhood Rebellion Results in Lifelong Consequences
A true story about a young girl who stayed out beyond her curfew.
In 1978, an eleven-year-old girl named Missy noticed a note in her mother’s handwriting on the refrigerator door. The note read, "Tonight's curfew is midnight."
The note announcing the Saturday night curfew was meant for Missy’s older siblings, two brothers and a sister. Missy decided the note was for her as well. She knew, at the very least, that she could get off on a technicality if she got into trouble for staying out too late. After all, the note didn’t list names.
Missy was a pretty blonde whose beauty was understated because she wore minimal makeup, dressed in knee-torn jeans, and walked everywhere barefoot. She was also athletically powerful and fast. There was no girl or boy her age who could beat her in arm wrestling or sprinting. Some might have considered her a tomboy if they only saw that side of her.
Missy was also mature for her age. Her older siblings were two, three, and five years older than her, so she grew up fast compared to many of her peers. She was tough too. She’d been called to the principal’s office more than once for pushing boys’ faces in the dirt who made the grave mistake of calling her names to get her attention. The principal always disciplined her, but he did it with a smirk on his face. One boy became so afraid of her after making the mistake of calling her a foul name that his mother had to pick him up from school for a month.
Missy went out this Saturday night with her friend, Debbie, who also had older siblings and was a mature eleven-year-old. Together they decided to tag along with Debbie's older sister, who was going to hang out with her friends in a neighborhood the young girls had never visited before. They’d never been there because all the teenagers who lived in that neighborhood were years older. Since these preteen girls had no place being there—and the girls knew it—when the teenage boys asked how old they were, Missy and Debbie said they were sixteen.
One of the boys in this neighborhood was a fourteen-year-old whom everyone called Gandha. He was given the name when his friends heard Bob Dylan singing about Gandhi. As teenage boys do, they gave their friend the nickname but mispronounced it, calling him Gandha.
Gandha had shoulder-length, dark brown hair and wore a black leather motorcycle jacket. He rode a Suzuki dirt bike for sport and played the drums in a rock band. Gandha was a bit of a conundrum because he hung out with this tough, older crowd after school but was a popular, respected student in school, as well as president of his high school class.
When Missy arrived in Gandha’s neighborhood that Saturday night, he was instantly smitten. He thought she was the most beautiful girl he'd ever seen. He teased her about not wearing any shoes. He casually flicked tiny sticks into her tube top. And the two talked and flirted most of the night until Gandha had to go home for his 11:00 curfew. He believed when she said she was sixteen because her curfew was after his own. Before leaving, he made sure to get Missy's phone number, which she wrote on the palm of his hand. He called her the very next night.
Gandha and Missy began talking several nights a week for two to three hours at a stretch. They got to know one another so well—sharing their dreams and fears and teenage troubles with one another—that they became the best of friends. When Gandha eventually learned that Missy was eleven and not sixteen years old (a few weeks after they met), it really didn’t matter. He’d already fallen for her with a thump.
The phone calls continued for about a year, during which the kids grew to know all that was important and meaningful in each other’s lives. Even after they turned twelve and fifteen, since it was a long walk to see one another, they continued to grow their relationship by phone, almost daily by this point. On weekends, Gandha would ride his bike to wherever Missy was babysitting, and they would double-date with his older friends whenever possible. The first movie they saw together was The Jerk with Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters, which was appropriate because they both loved to laugh.
Once Gandha got his driver’s license at sixteen, the two could finally go out on dates alone. They went to the movies, took long drives, and ate out at McDonald’s and Wendy’s. On Missy’s thirteenth birthday, Gandha asked if he could kiss her. She said yes. It was the most gentle and romantic kiss in the history of kissing. Ten days later, he asked her to "go steady" and she said yes despite his corny choice of words. He knew asking her to “go steady” was very Happy Days, but he wanted his intentions to be clear. Missy began wearing his high school ring around her neck on a piece of rawhide, which Gandha thought was wicked cool.
It wasn't an easy relationship socially since Missy was in eighth grade and Gandha was in eleventh grade. Gandha’s peers talked behind his back about why the junior in high school was going out with an eighth grader. And Missy received threatening phone calls from the high school girls who were jealous of her relationship with him. But they survived the social struggles and, soon enough, got to spend the next year going to the same school together. Gandha arranged to have her locker next to his, and he introduced Missy to all his school friends.
After that joyful year in high school together, their love was tested once again when Gandha went off to college. Still, the 90-minute drive from Massachusetts to New Hampshire was no deterrent for their love since he would drive home on Wednesday nights and weekends to spend as much time with his sweetheart as possible.
Gandha and Missy were inseparable. They spent every possible moment together and missed one another dearly when they were apart. They fell more deeply in love with each passing year and, at last, got married in 1986—seven years after they first began going steady. Missy was still only 19 years old, but everyone knew the relationship was meant to be. Today it's been forty-five years since Missy first went to Gandha’s neighborhood, where destiny made its magic.
This past Wednesday, on August 30th, Gandha and Missy celebrated their thirty-seventh wedding anniversary. Today they go by the names Bob and Melissa Olson, but little else has changed. They’re still just as crazy in love as the day they first fell for one another, and they’re both grateful that eleven-year-old Melissa pretended the curfew was meant for her, left the safety of her neighborhood, and lied about her age. Who says a little rebellion, risk, and lying can't result in something positive?
PS, Don’t let your children read this. 😁
Bob Olson is the host of Afterlife TV, author of two books, Answers About The Afterlife and The Magic Mala, and creator of the reputable directory of psychics and mediums, BestPsychicDirectory.com. His newest venture is Bob Olson Connect, where you can read Bob’s articles before they become books.
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