Petersen: Delia and Delbert |

Petersen: Delia and Delbert

Have you been to your high school reunion? Delia has. This is her story.

When Delia was tripping over the beginning of her teen years — she was maybe 12 or 13 — there was a young boy in her elementary school who had a crush on her. Let’s call him Delbert.

He was a year, maybe two years younger, but he had a romantic heart. He used to follow Delia around. He didn’t have the nerve to actually “speak to an older woman,” but he was always nearby and ready to do any service for Delia.

If she dropped something, he was there to pick it up. He even chased baseballs on the playing field for her.

“Their trails didn’t cross again for close to 50 years, not until a late-in-life school reunion took place.”

Then one Valentine’s Day, Delbert cranked up his nerve. He had determined to give Delia a special present.

He paced. He memorized a gift-giving speech. He recited it to himself over and over and over. Now Delia and Delbert both had the same study hall period at the end of the day. Delia was a top student, got her work done ahead of time and thus could leave early.

Delbert wasn’t quite as apt as Delia, but he took up a position at a desk closest to the exit. Sure enough, Delia finished her work and made for the door. Delbert leaped to open it for her. She stepped through. Delbert darted after her.

“Here,” he croaked, thrust a package into her hand, turned and sped back inside the classroom. Delia, a mite puzzled, opened a small white box. Inside she found a cotton-wrapped object. She peeled away the cotton and what she beheld left her, if not stunned, at least puzzled.

It was a silver brooch in the shape of small triangle. Tiny sky-blue sapphires sparkled all over its surface. Delia didn’t know what to do, so she merely took it home and put it in her jewelry box.

Time went by. Life happened to Delia and Delbert. Their trails didn’t cross again for close to 50 years, not until a fateful late-in-life school reunion took place.

Now, Delia had never worn the brooch, but every time she looked through her favorite baubles, there it was, blinking up at her. On impulse, she put the ornament in her pocket.

At the reunion, Delia recognized Delbert and one assumes the reverse also occurred. In any case, they struck up a conversation.

“Hey,” said Delia, “you remember when you gave me a present on Valentine’s Day right after study hall?

Delbert’s grin was a bit sheepish. “Yeah,” he said, “I do.”

“You had a crush on me, didn’t you,” said Delia, smiling.

“Un-huh, I did,” Delbert confessed.

“So,” said Delia, “where did you get that pretty brooch?”

“Uh, well, it was my Gramma’s. It was supposed to go to my Mom. My Mom always wondered what happened to it.”

“I’ll bet,” said Delia. “So, how’s your Mom doing these days?”

“Fine,” said Delbert. “In fact, she’s here tonight — right over there.”

“Well,” said Delia, and handed Delbert a small jewelry box. “Here’s your brooch. I’d wager your Mom would be glad to have it back.”

Is there a moral to the story? Well, not really, but as Aesop might say, what goes around comes around. Delbert got over Delia. Delia returned the brooch to Delbert. Delbert handed it to his Mom. What words he contrived to explain all, we’ll never know.

But hey, there’s nothing like a puppy-love story from past times to warm the heart … don’t you agree?


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