First love still had special ring

How forgiving could you be as a parent when it comes to your children?

Maybe you have a story to tell; maybe you don’t. But – maybe – something will happen someday that will enable you to weave one heck of a tale. This is mine, and it has prepared me for whenever I face that, hopefully, amusing conundrum.

When I was in second grade, I found myself part of a large Communion class at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and just like every other parochial school in Blair County in the early 1970s, we spent a good part of the spring getting ready for that special day.

Of course, me being me, I was more taken aback by all the new people in my class. Not only were there Mount Carmel kids, but there were new kids from the public school taking part in first Communion.

More importantly, there were new girls!

That was where I met the love of my life – or at least in 1972 – and her name was Lori. She did belong to our church, but she didn’t go to Mount Carmel School, which meant I had a shot because she didn’t know me.

You have to understand, even though I was in second grade, I developed an appreciation for the ladies at a young age. Ask my mom. When I was in kindergarten at Penn Lincoln, my mom got called in because I kept chatting with a girl during nap time. At least that’s what I called it. The teacher told my mom I was trying to hold her hand and put my arm around her as I talked to her. Semantics!

But this was second grade. I was more mature, and the girl of my affections was older.

If you are going to fall hard for a girl, you have to give her something special for a gift, right? So I wandered into my mom’s bedroom one day and noticed all this jewelry on her dresser.

There were all these rings, which made me think that my mother wouldn’t miss one of them. I took one, and at the next practice for first Holy Communion, I gave the ring to Lori, who accepted. And I didn’t think anything of it, either.

How cool was I? Cool until the next day, when there was a knock at my door. It was Lori’s mother, who returned the ring, which, by the way, just happened to be my mother’s engagement ring.

At least I found out the relationship was over before I went out and rented the Buccinese Club for the big wedding day.

My mom’s memory is a lot better than mine. She says she can remember being mad at first, but when she confronted me, she just couldn’t yell at me. She thought it was such a sweet gesture. And let’s be honest: People do love me – back then and even now.

To this day, however, I argue that how was I to know it was her engagement ring, and why wasn’t she wearing it along with her wedding ring like my wife, Ann Marie, does? My mother had so many rings. Boy, I wish Annie was around back then to help me plead my case. Well, she was … except she was only 2!

Nothing ever came of that gift to Lori, and I don’t know what became of her, though I occasionally run into her sister, Lisa.

I really have never been able to live down that slightly innocent mistake. Maybe I should have started with a more modest gift – like, say, a subscription to the Mirror.

Scott Franco is a member of the Altoona Mirror sports staff, a husband and a father of four. His column appears monthly. He can be reached at 946-7528 or sfranco@altoonamirror