Susan was reading this post at Mama's Losin' It and was inspired to participate in Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. The topic that grabbed her was to look up a favorite childhood actor and tell us where they are now.

Susan was surprised at the speed at which she chose her fave.
It only took a second to bypass Danny Bonaduce even though they he was funny and they shared the same hair.
Then Bobby Sherman, even though she still sings some of his songs.
Then Johnny Quest and Bandit, who were ineligible anyway because they're cartoons.

Susan travelled back to her eleven year old self; back to her 7:30 bedtime, back to getting spanked, Shake & Bake pork chops, riding her bike and stealing quarters from Grace's mom's purse.

Susan chose Pete Duel but she can't tell anybody where he is now because he never made it out of 1971.

Pete Duel was impossibly handsome, charming and on TV every week in Alias Smith and Jones. He had one eye that sort of didn't look in the same direction as the other eye, but Susan liked that slight imperfection. She loved him.

Susan and Grace played a very unsophisticated game using the letters in the AS&J actors' names while they walked to the deli for a bag of BBQ potato chips and a big dill pickle.

During Christmas vacation children all over the land were home from school.
For Susan there were no math tests to fail and no punishments for missing book reports or talking in class. There was only Dark Shadows, Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea, The Mod Squad as well as The Munsters,
I Dream of Jeannie and The Rifleman. Susan loved the Rifleman too.

While Susan watched that week's AS&J the flames of her crush were fanned. The cuteness of Pete Duel was almost unbearable but she knew how to live with her longing. She rearranged the pictures on her corkboard, she made little dolls out of clay attaching their heads to the bodies with toothpicks, she sprayed her Avon perfume and played Everything Is Beautiful by Ray Stevens on her record player.

Susan remembers walking into a lonely depression when she heard that Pete Duel killed himself on New Year's Eve. She didn't call Grace to find out if she heard about it. She didn't tell her parents. She kept to herself. She felt horrible and confused. She felt completely alone.

When Susan went back to school she finally talked to Grace. Grace felt horrible too. Susan remembers the feeling of her sadness being lifted, the same way her sadness is lifted now anytime she shares a burden. Anytime she thinks I'm going to keep this to myself but doesn't, because she needs to talk about it. She doesn't talk to find answers, she talks to feel less alone.

She learned that from Pete Duel.


Dawn in Austin said...

I liked your story very much.

Even as a child, I didn't watch a lot of TV, but when I visited his site, I thought he looked familiar. Such a shame.

You are so right, it lightens the load when you share it with someone.

linlah said...

I'd like to say I remember him from Gidget reruns but I'm more certain they were original.

Grace said...

Oh my, Pete Duel. Loved him, loved our alphabet game, but geez...really? Stealing quarters from my mom's purse. What if she reads this? Next you'll be squealing about the cigarettes.

Cupcake Murphy said...

Michael Jackson was my husband.

Meg at the Members Lounge said...

I could easily spend day in Memory Lane with Susan. Does Susan remember Bobby Sherman's TV show with all the brothers and the brides? Meg just googled it and it was called "Here come the Brides! I fifth grader could dream.