I remember my first crush. I think I was always the girl who noticed boys but, being invisible, was rarely-to-never noticed back. My first crush certainly never noticed me back. Sometimes people say this only to discover, years later, that the beloved harbored secret reciprocal desires. Not so much with me. My first crush was Ritchie Cunningham. Opie Taylor was probably more of an age for me, but only the tall, mature, grinning and freckled Ritchie could start my heart.
Fonzie frankly never did it for me. I was always a little scared of him. The leathers, the greased hair, the motorcycle mania – he was too dangerous for this six-year-old. Besides, I think I always feared that he’d turn on my darling Ritchie and take him out.
The idea of Howard Cunningham as a father-in-law gave me heartburn. I despised his temper, if you can imagine. He was so quick to think the worst of my Ritchie, and so consistently grouchy that I worried how I’d fit into the household scheme. Marian I could handle. Any woman who wore an apron around the house had to be a kindred spirit – besides, there was always a table full of food and an open back door.
I knew Ritchie’s friends would adore me – probably to the extent that I’d cause some real friction between them. Ralph Malph would naturally desire me for his own, and I would spurn his advances. Generous Ritchie would choose to pity poor unlovable Ralph, and we would all remain friends with that undercurrent of unrequited love. With Potsie there would be a little more trouble. He and I would probably have a fling. It’s just unavoidable in a circle as tight as ours. But I would always come back to my Ritchie. He’d choose me over his friends in time; because we all have to grow up, you know.