When I was 17…

This whole Anne with an E craze of mine has me thinking about my own teen years a lot and about the boy I was in love with at that age. I fell in love with Jer during junior year when I was 16 and that went on until graduation a year and a half later. It was unrequited as far as I know, although even now when I re-read my diaries I do wonder whether maybe there was a little interest from his side as well after all. I guess I’ll never know. In any case, it never amounted to much. We were thrown together a lot in classes and such (it was a small school) but I never got up the nerve to ask him on a date and although I do remember many looks and small interactions, like for instance him borrowing my pen (like Anne lent Gilbert hers in last week’s episode)…

Gilbert borrows Anne's pen.gif

… he never asked me out either. We certainly never had moments like these…

Gilbert and Anne fireside 02

With some memories flooding back, I decided to go though some of my diaries that I wrote at the time and I found a list of little dreams for the near and further future that I had written when I was at the beginning of senior year. It is filled with teen angst. I was 17 and trying to put Jer out of my head. It was so much fun reading that list and going though the items on it, I just had to also share here!

I went to an international boarding school (got there on a scholarship) in The Netherlands for junior and senior year, while my parents still lived in Germany. I went home every vacation but, effectively speaking, I have not lived with my parents since the age of 16. I loved it there, I loved Jer and I apparently penned this list of little dreams in september 1987:

I want to talk to my parents just for the sake of hearing their voices (they’re in East Germany now) – Yes, this was 2 years before the Berlin Wall fell in Germany and while my parents were there I couldn’t speak with them on the phone (which normally happened 2 or 3 times a week)

I want to go back to Israel  – I lived in Israel for the first 10 years of my life and had just been back there again 9 months prior for the first time after I had left. Over the years I have luckily gone back several times, even blogged about one such visit when I was older and married with kids here.

I want Jer to fall in love with me without me necessarily falling in love with him, or would I? – At that time I was trying so hard to not be in love with Jer and at that time was convincing myself that I was succeeding in that mission. I wasn’t. I continued to pine for him for the next 8 months.

I want to be appreciated – I guess I was appreciated in many ways, it’s just hard to feel that people do appreciate you when you are an insecure teenager and your crush doesn’t return your love.

I want Rob to fall in love with me, it would make me feel good. – Rob was a new boy in school, popular, good-looking type and I had caught him looking at me a few times (I so don’t remember this, just read that in my diary!). I had no interest in him whatsoever romantically and I don’t think I ever exchanged more than a few sentences with him but I wanted someone to pine after me the way I was pining after Jer. Guess that ties into the whole being appreciated thing again.

I want to watch Jer in peace and quiet without him noticing. – Oh man, I used to watch the guy all the time!

I want to succesfully stay away from love for a while, it only makes me depressed. I guess at the moment I’m doing pretty well on that subject. – I wasn’t doing well at all.

I want to meet Gregory Peck –  That’s one dream that alas never came true.

I want to be a very good journalist for the school newspaper – I had just started on the newspaper at the beginning of senior year. I ended up being OK.

I want to be able to sing nicely – Nope, never happened.

I want to spend 1000 guilders on anything I want to in one day.  – This was way before the Euro and nope, never happened. Unless booking a vacation counts.

I want to be able to play piano and tap dance – Never learned how to tap dance. Did take piano lessons a few years later but never had the discipline to stick with it. I still have a piano at home, though (which we are now thinking of selling).

I want to finish school without doing much work – I could have done more, but I still worked pretty hard compared to earlier years. I had a scholarship to live up to after all. Graduated pretty well, in the end, which was worth the work I had put into it.

I want a faithful watchdog named Spec (from Spectrum) – Huh? I have no clue anymore what that was about! And what about my lifelong wish to have cats? Why wasn’t that on this list?

I want someone to dedicate the song ‘ Nothing’s going to change my love for you’ to me. (e.g. Jer even though I don’t love him, I just want him to love me) – See? I was still pining even while pretending I was not! And oh my goodness, seriously, that song? I can’t remember ever liking it but I guess I must have to a certain extent if it is included on this list. Yikes.

I want to have a Volkswagon Beetle that I want to name Fred 5 – Actually, I do remember that wish, although I can’t remember why I chose that name. I still have a wish for such a car to this day! Not practical and it’s expensive but even my kids know that if we one day become millionaires, such a car would end up in my posession.

I want to spend at least a year in Rome – This was due to loving the movie Roman Holiday and having visited there twice in my teens. It’s not a particular wish nowadays, although I certainly wouldn’t mind if such an opportunity presented itself.

I want to see a beautiful movie – I have seen many!

I want to read a great book – Yep, have read a few!

I want to go to a David Bowie concert and dance with him on stage while he’s singing ‘China Girl’ – I did the concert a couple of years later! But alas never the dance on stage.

I don’t ever want to be breathtakingly beautiful – beauty doesn’t last – Wasn’t a realistic wish anyway, to be so beautiful.

I don’t ever want to lose my dreams or stop having dreams – Yes, I still do have dreams! They change a bit over the years but I always have dreams and like having them.

I want to be both realistic and romantic,  although not so romantic that I’m blinded from reality – I can still get behind that statement and on the whole think I have an OK balance regarding that.

I always want to have a problem once in a while so I learn properly how to appreciate happiness – Interesting, I’d completely forgotten I ever thought something like that but I can get behind that, even now. The darker parts in life can sometimes help you appreciate the lighter parts more.

I want to sit snugly in a big chair infront of a fireplace talking to the one I love while outside a storm is raging – We have a fireplace and I have sat and chatted there with my love on cold days. So yes, checked that item off my list!

I’ve had crushes in my life and went out with a few but I have only ever been head over heels in love twice in my life – the first time with Jer in high school, which is why I guess I can relate so well to the Anne and Gilbert love in Anne with an E and all the terrible confusion surrounding that at that age.

My second big love was Mr Esther. When I met him in class, just like I had met Jer in class, I vowed to not make the same mistake twice and this time I made sure I actually talked to and became friends with the object of my affection. It’s always good to learn from your mistakes. Jer and I were never meant to be but Mr Esther and I were and in hindsight I’m glad that I had had the high school experience to learn from.  I can still feel the angst and confusion and insecurity on almost every page of my teenage diaries.


Gosh, I am glad that I’m not a teen anymore! My poor kids…

25 thoughts on “When I was 17…

    1. LOL on the video! I knew I knew that phrase from somewhere.
      Exceptionally clear thinker – ya think? I’m not so sure. If you’d read my whole diary it’s full of crap, I was mostly nowhere near as philosophical as I was with this particular list. 🙂


  1. Kate

    What a wonderful post Esther. I was always too lazy to keep a diary. I would start and then taper off onto shorthand record keeping—had lunch with Susi, washed my hair 😂😉—but how fun it must be to read that back. I’m now gonna have “ Nothing’s gonna change my love for you” stuck on my head.
    I think you have some very interesting goals on that list and you checked the important boxes. And being able to look back and know you had the courage to talk to “the one” when it mattered is very gratifying, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is gratifying! 🙂
      I wrote a lot between the ages of 14-18. It dwindled after that and after Mr Esther and I got together I hardly ever wrote at all anymore – he sorta became my diary. 🙂
      That song, I swear I switch radio channels as soon as I hear it, I really can’t imagine I ever remotely liked it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Esther
    Wow what a moving post. I think many of those points especially feeling appreciated and insecure I still have and wrestle with. My big crush is high school was a guy I had several classes w and I joined drama department to be close to him. He knew me but he fell for another girl who moved away then moved back and he waited for her! We moved half way through my junior year in high school which was a blessing now back then I thought my world had fallen apart.
    My mum lived in Rome for 2 years following a man. Luckily it didn’t work out and she met my dad in Stuttgart a short time after.
    Many of us can relate to looking back and forward from your thoughts so thank you for sharing these memories and reflections.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Needing to feel appreciated and being insecure will always be a part of me, that hasn’t gone away, although I do feel far less insecure about many things than I did in my teens, Thank goodness there has been some growth there for me. 😉
      Oh my goodness on those teenage loves, right? But I always think that if I hadn’t had that experience I maybe would never have ended up with Mr Esther. I am still SO GLAD he and I did get together and it didn’t take a year and a half of pining for that to happen… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m really resonating w this post and thx follow up you did today. I haven’t found my true love yet hopefully I will 😉
        I don’t wonder where Morgan is any more
        Did he end up w that girl but moving gave me my out to forget him.
        Glen Madeiros made a lot of girls hearts flutter when that song came out. I remember his video for it!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I hope so for you as well, that you’ll find your true love one day!
          I do wonder sometimes where Jer is at, just curious what became of him. Cyber-stalking has given me a tidbit here and there but very little. And really, I’d be curious to have some closure on questions on what he even thought of me at the time. That’s only for academic purposes, however. Even in hindsight I don’t think he ever would have fit as well with me as Mr Esther does.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved your list, Esther. Lots of great things on it. And I very much admire your “courage” at revisiting those diaries. I have a whole shelf full of my old diaries, too, but I just can’t bring myself to read through them again. Because: *cringe*. (And also: I don’t want to be reminded of the high hopes I probably had of myself… which I by and large did not fulfil.) However, it looks like a nice way to reflect back on things – and to tick off some things. Maybe even do the things NOW if they haven’t been ticked off yet. Plus, it probably is a good way of realising what our teenage daughters are going through NOW. Lovely, lovely post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t delved into them all myself either, it does indeed feel a little daunting. The diaries I have revisited on occasion are the ones from when I was 16-18 years old because I always feel like those were the years of awakening for me, when I grew up and became a little less naive. Doesn’t mean they’re not cringe-worthy and mostly filled with love crap, but despite highs and lows, those were good years for me. I have not braved other parts of my diaries, except for the part when I was 21 and fell in love with Mr Esther. That was a lovely part as well. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. squirrel.0072

    🙂 nostalgia!
    My aunt (an old lady, a great teacher in a technical training college or vocational high school..) was carrying us (me and my brother) with her white Volkswagon Beetle But I do not recommend this car because the protruding bumpers were always scratched.


    1. squirrel.0072

      Here in France, VW are often teachers’ cars.
      But we bought my IT student son an old basic manual black Polo. That means: 4 tax horses, essence (no diesel), manual closing doors, manual starting or stopping wipers, manual headlights (not automatic). My son studies everything, a perfectionist 21 years old futur engineer. So he does not want to exceed the speed of 70 kms/ hour, as indicated on the manuel of use. Why? because it is written that it is the ideal speed to maintain the old “girl” in healf. He never drives on the highway (even between Le Mans and Clermont Ferrand 5 hours for 400 kms long (against 3,5 or 4,5 hours by highways) Das ideales WeltAuto für einen Studenten, der Langsamkeit schätzt!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Pingback: Angsty teen writings – The Book of Esther

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