August 18, 1973—a day I’ll never forget. It was the Day of all days in my life of eleven years. In fact, in the 33 years since, only a couple of days have rivaled August 18, 1973 for the sheer excitement and emotional pandemonium it evoked in me. Honestly, I haven’t ever experienced the exact same rush because although having children was exciting, even childbirth was not as frantic and feverish as my experience on that memorable Day.
For weeks, I hid the tickets in a safe place but would occasionally allow myself the pleasure of taking them out and reading the words over and over and over. I was really going.
I can’t remember much about the trip there or what I wore or who went with me or what my parents said. But I remember the lights, the noise, the biggest speakers I’d ever seen . . .
I remember being smashed in a crowd, screaming and screaming . . .
It wasn’t “Puppy Love;” it was “Donny Love.”
Donny Osmond. Could there have been a more unlikely name for a world-wide heart throb? Aren’t they usually named “Ace,” or “Snake,” or “Tony?” No matter. Those teeth, that hair, the brown eyes, that plaintive voice that reached out to you through the tiny crackling speakers of your 45 rpm vinyl record player—he was magic.
And since most eleven year-olds are scared to death of real boys, how convenient and oh-so-poignant that he was unattainable.
A girl could always hope, though. She could always dream, couldn’t she? I mean, suppose she did grow up to be 18, move away from her hometown, go to Utah and just happen to meet Donny Osmond in a Mormon church. It could happen, couldn’t it?
I thought it best to go ahead and make plans, because sometimes things have a way of working out, even when no one else believes they will.
It only took a year or two until Donny had some competition in my heart. He was a boy who lived down the street named Bryan—oh, and then there was another boy at school, also named Bryan. One brunette, one blond, one red-head. I guess I was growing up.
When I heard news reports about Donny getting married in the late 70’s, I hardly noticed. I felt a twinge of nostalgia and embarrassment for having been a pre-teen maniac, and then I’m sure I thought about something else, or more likely, someone else.
As an adult, one time I was joking with a girlfriend and said something about my marriage to Donny Osmond never coming to fruition after all. She gave me a dead-pan look and said, “Well there’s no way it could’ve worked out because I was going to move to Utah and marry him.” She’s a year or two older, so she probably would have won his heart first, I guess. Happy to report that we’re still friends. Even Donny didn’t tear us apart.
The most I’ve been affected by the Donny phenomenon was when I heard, a year or so ago, that he was going to be a grandfather.
What? Donny Osmond--a grandpa?
Wow. Donny Osmond is getting old.
Whew! Good thing I didn’t marry him because I’m pretty sure I’m still young!
Die-hard Donny fans do exist out there. In the Wal-mart lot the other day, I saw a bumper sticker that said, “Donny.com.”
I’m not embarrassed at all by the Donny love anymore. It was so “Sweet and Innocent,” like the title of his big hit. Nothing bad came of it. I mean, if I had to pick a person to go ga-ga over, I guess I chose a pretty good one. After all, he was so straight-laced he didn’t even drink soda. That’s a far cry from the lifestyles of famous singers now, who see exchanging gunfire as the same sort of mischievous behavior as throwing water balloons out hotel windows. Today, though, Donny would be kind of racy and original in the sense that he got married before he had his children, and so they were not able to serve as attendants in their parents’ ceremony. That wild and crazy Mormon!
So that’s why August 18 makes me smile every year. It was the day Donny Osmond said, “I love you, too!’ to me—and a thousand other screaming little girls.
In honor of August 18, 1973, I think I’ll check out Donny.com. I hope he doesn’t have too many wrinkles. Or those goofy purple socks, in spite of which I loved him “in sickness and in health, until [Bryans] did us part.”
My favorite album: