When I was around twelve or thirteen someone gave me a slim red book with the title MY HIM BOOK. The book had around fifty pages and in it I could mention all the boys I had met, those whom I fancied, those who were poetic, those who were musical, etc., etc. I still have this priceless (!) treasure and I occasionally have a look at it. It is missing its hard cover, nowadays, but still contains all sorts of interesting memories via the names of those mysterious boys.
Being an American teen-aged girl in the 1950’s could have been quite exciting, though it was essentially innocent compared to today. As a twelve year old girl, of course, I didn’t yet ‘go out’ with boys but, what with tv and girls’ magazines and stories overheard from older girls, I had hopes that it wouldn’t be too long before I found my prince and lived happily ever after (what a lot of baloney!) Despite being the product of divorced parents I still believed that it was true.
Looking at the first page I see that I was living in La Quinta, California. My mother had recently taken us all on a cross-America train trip to Reno where ‘we’ had got ‘our’ divorce from my step-father, Bill. We arrived in Reno just at the beginning of the school year in 1956, and spent the first semester at Huffacre Elementary School while living on the Whitney Guest Ranch just outside the “Biggest Little City in the World”. After Christmas 1958 we packed up all our possessions, including all our presents, and drove to Palm Springs where my mother’s father, Fred, lived with his second wife, Mary and their youngest daughter, Sandy. It was a great place to live but mother and Mary didn’t really get on too well so, after the first month or so, we moved to a rented house in La Quinta. This period of several months is a story for another blog!
We went back to Zanesville, Ohio around May of 1957 where we stayed with our Grandmother then, eventually – and via Columbus, Ohio – we went home to Cincinnati. In Cincinnati I went to Hughes High School (quite close to the University) for a year before I moved on to Walnut Hills where I spent my freshman year.
Why am I telling you in such detail?
Well, a couple of months ago I was looking in the little book to see if I had remembered my Cincinnati phone number right (I hadn’t) and I started looking through, reminiscing about my last few months in America and the months and years following my arrival in England. On page 39 the heading is Brilliant Hims, the first sub-heading is Science Wizards and the second is Intellectuals. Under this heading the first name is Cassell Rue. Now, I recognised almost every one of the names in the book but this name did not and has not rung any bells at all! I sat for a fair amount of time wondering, first, if it was really a name and second, where or when I had met/seen this person. Why is he under the heading of Intellectuals along with my friends Nigel, Paul and Tim? I looked up the name on Google and did find someone of that name and approximately the right age living in Florida but, possibly, with some connection to Ohio.
Perhaps, if you know Cassell Rue and where he went to school, you could put me out of my – I won’t say misery! – lack of knowing, I suppose is what it is. It would just be nice to know why I would have written the name of someone who meant, essentially, so little to me that I don’t even remember knowing them!
(The photo which I used above is of my sister, Judy and me, possibly taken in 1954. I was the family photographer(!) so there aren’t many photos of us three girls together. I am the oldest, Judy was next and Jennie came last, precisely five years to the day after I was born – “the best birthday present I could have wanted”, I said. Judy said, ” Her name is Jennifer and I don’t like her,” but she grew up to love her. Jennie and I are the only two left now as Judy died just before her 46th birthday. There are so many things I’d like to talk to her about – including, who is Cassell Rue? – but it’s too late. I miss you, Judy.)