Teenagers in Lov e

The Bunny Talks

Your Test Results Are In

Nesting: Get Ready, Get Set

Happy Birthday: Its Showtime

Welcome to Our World

His Parents Grow Up

 

Story of Jesse's Birth

Written in honor his 12th Birthday: May 20, 1999

Chapter One

Teenagers in Love

Jesse came into our lives in the early weeks of June, 1977, at a two-seat booth at the Taco Bell on Michigan Avenue, in our hometown of Dearborn, Michigan.City of Dearborn, Michigan

Lyn and I had known each other for 18 months, and our relationship had the rationality and stability of any relationship between dating teenagers. Dave and Lyn Dating -- May 1976It had been a difficult day bringing closure to a difficult couple of weeks. Jesse came upon the scene to bring comfort to us during my pending period away.

Lyn had graduated from Edsel Ford High School 12 full months previously in June of 1976. We had attended her senior prom that year even though, as a 16 year old, I possessed only a ‘learners permit’ drivers license, and we were therefore forced to double-date with people that I barely knew and who treated me with general indifference. Pictures of us from that time, viewed today, are of two children full of life and full of possibilities hopelessly blind to the coming joys of their many years together to come.

Lyn was finishing her first full year at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She had the use of the ‘white car’, a used Pontiac LeMans with a black vinyl top, for her commute. She was taking freshmen English composition, MEL (matter, energy and life – the general sciences class) and philosophy. She had to write a composition paper every other week-end, and I lovingly supplied my fingers, my Sears electric typewriter, and buckets of correct-type to put them onto paper.

I was a senior attending Edsel Ford High School only 2 hours per day, from 1pm to 3pm. I left home at 8am and drove myself (in my powder blue Lyn and Dave and Dave's Hornet: June 1977AMC Hornet) to Henry Ford Community College where I was taking college level courses in calculus and several computer programming languages. I had attended Economics and Pre-Calculus at HFCC the previous summer, receiving my car a few weeks after Lyn’s prom, being driven to summer school by my dad for the first couple of weeks that previous summer. Since entering the 11th grade in September of 1975, I had been attending school, between Edsel Ford and Henry Ford, for 21 straight months leading up to our dinner that night at Taco Bell. And I was due to leave within the week for another summer school, this time at Central Michigan 150 miles away in Mt Pleasant.

My senior year had been a roller coaster, with incredible academic pressures yet incredible freedom provided by my parents: a license, a car, insurance and a credit card for Mobil gas; infinite ‘walking around money’ (but no formal ‘allowance’), the ability to come and go as I pleased, at any hour of the day or night without question, and unchaperoned access to the house and my room. I kept my grades at ‘Straight-A’ (except for gym), and hadn’t worked at a job of any kind since quitting my paper route in the 9th grade.

My high school graduation party was to be that Friday night and, like Lyn’s the previous year, party attendance was limited to graduates (no dates). So Lyn had gone to hers without me the previous year and I was scheduled to go alone to mine that night. Lyn had been despondent for a couple of days, sullen and bursting into inconsolable tears at random intervals. She was sure that I was going off to Central Michigan (like her ex-fiancee Randy had done three years previously) to never again occupy a place in her life. A sentimental fatalism (or fatalistic sentimentality) that is part and parcel to most teenage girls. What a wonderful age!

My senior prom had been the previous week but Lyn and I, this year equipped with both money and a car, fulfilled my mother’s one year-old prophecy and did not attend ‘my prom’. Lyn and Dave: Junior Prom March 1976My cap-and-gown was in my trunk, and the commencement exercises were to be the next day. So my ‘senior party’ was that night and the entrance ticket that my mother bought was in my pocket. But before I could go, I had a little present all wrapped up to give to Lyn.

Many of my prior presents to Lyn had been ‘perfect’, including a small necklace once and also an engraved bracelet that I had presented at early ‘anniversaries’. Since we first met on Lyn’s 18th birthday, it had always been easy to quickly calculate how long we had known each other. One Christmas I bought her a modern (now tacky) clock for her piano. But this present this night was going to be very special.

I came by her house to visit and leave my present with her, but it became obvious that it would be impossible for us to have a personal sentimental moment with her mother standing on the porch and literally pointing to the street and ordering me off to my party. So motivated, we jumped into my Hornet and drove off for Landmark, the greasy spoon coffee shop a half-mile away (and now long ago out of business). For some reason we drove around instead, and ended up at Taco Bell on Michigan Avenue. Lyn had been crying intermittently but uncontrollably. She had been doing it on her front porch and in the car and now sitting across from me at our table. Like a early summer drizzle, she would lighten up from time to time only to start in anew. So it was there, at Taco Bell, that I handed over my package and Lyn opened it and Jesse entered our lives.

Jesse was a plush stuffed bunny doll. He had fuzzy tan fur and a fuzzy white tummy. He stood fourteen inches tall and had twinkling brown eyes (like Lyn’s) and wore a yellow ribbon tied in a Jesse Bunny Family Photobow around his neck. He had long floppy ears that were just the right middle ground of standing up erect but still being floppy. And he was cute as a button. When Lyn opened the package she burst back into tears (this time with vigor) and by now, after sobbing and crying and sobbing and crying for nearly an hour, her skin was blotchy, her face was swollen and red, and people in general were beginning to stare. She would gather her strength for a moment, then exclaim out in love ‘Oh bunny geeb bubba snub snerk’ and then ‘Oh your party boo hoo, sknerk, gub gub gub sknerk shnick’ repeating on and on as I ate my encharito and looked into her swollen and runny eyes on that very special night.

I had purchased Jesse-bunny by myself, looking for something to leave with Lyn when I went away to summer school, to remind her of me. I had been in ‘Small World’, an eclectic tiny store on Michigan Avenue (now out of business) that is closest these days to the odds and ends you would find at ‘Spencer’s Gifts’ in many suburban malls. I fell in love with his soft brown fur and brown eyes and his little yellow ribbon bow-tie. He was perfect and he was on clearance. He was, like me, ‘an Easter bunny out of season’ when I purchased him that day in early May and then hid him in the closet in my Mom’s room.

This was legally the second Jesse-bunny, but the first is just a footnote. When Lyn and I had been dating just two or three months, my mom found a small blue stuffed bunny, just 4 or 5 inches long. "Here", she said, throwing the bunny across the living room to me, "give this to Lyn". Mom was always doing that kind of weird stuff. Randomly pouncing on an opportunity here or there, treating it off-handedly. I could never tell if she was thinking of Lyn, and wanted to help me cement my budding relationship (a inspired act of nurturing, training me in the proper way to treat a steady girlfriend) or if she had simply found some silly stuffed animal somewhere and it popped into her head to have me give it to Lyn (probably closer to the truth). So I gave Lyn the blue bunny, and she slept with it every night, until one little black button eyeball fell out and was lost. She named it "Jesse", and it was to be something for us to share and care for, but I had never bonded to him, and today that little blue bunny sits in a box of memories somewhere.

So I told Lyn that the new brown bunny was to be me (and be the little blue bunny’s dad). He sat on our table and stared at us mutely and Lyn cried and cried and cried. Somehow it didn’t comfort her to have something in my image to keep and hug and talk to while I was away.

You can guess that I never made it to my senior party that night. We sat and talked at the fountain by the library and on the park benches by city hall. I was so sad that I couldn’t console Lyn that night, and within 72 hours we two set off to take me to Mt Pleasant, to continue my string of months in school without a break. We repeated our sad parting again at Mt Pleasant, and like the next time Jesse David came into our lives, we were both emotionally drained and physically exhausted.





Originally Written March 1999
Original Web Upload January 2000
Last Update: April 5, 2000