Teresa Hamilton Green, I am so, so sorry.

Where do I begin?  Let’s begin at the moment I realized someone had spent the last 45 years seething at the sound of my name – and I didn’t even know it. Yes, that’s a GREAT place to start.

I’m at my 40th high school reunion when I lean to a friend, Lynne, and point to a girl on the dance floor and ask “Who is that?” (something you hear repeated over and over again at 40 yr reunions).

Oh,” Lynne says, “that’s Teresa Hamilton!”

Really?” (again, disbelief runs rampant at these things) She looked great, but didn’t look like the Teresa I remembered. That’s not a bad thing, of course, many people are unrecognizable but still look fabulous, and Teresa was one of those.

I don’t believe it,” I said.

I’ll go ask her,” says Lynne.

Two minutes later Lynne returns laughing hysterically. “Kevin, yes that’s Teresa, and when I told her you were wondering who she was, her response was “Kevin Newsome? He stood me up!””

WHAT???… “Oh yes, in Junior High School, you asked her to the Rebel Sweetheart Dance and never showed up.”

Again… WHAT??? I look up and Teresa, still on the dance floor with her husband, is pointing at me and making a face.

I have no memory of this. None. I asked a girl to a dance in the eighth grade and stood her up? Why would I not remember doing something so horrible? How could that happen? Am I THAT OLD? Has my memory COMPLETELY gone?

She approaches me from the dance floor and I begin to sweat. She’s smiling – that’s a good sign, right?

I immediately ask for some clarification because I don’t remember ever asking her to begin with (and this was a few good years prior to being introduced to ANY memory losing tobacco products – I should REMEMBER this).

She assures me that indeed, we’d had a conversation about going to the dance together, and that she, with her mother’s help, MADE HER OWN DRESS! “We didn’t have a lot of money to buy a dress, so we made it.”  Oh God! This is getting worse by the second!

Now, in the 60’s, that was not really that unusual – back then, mothers taught their daughters how to sew. My own sisters made plenty of their own clothes, but STILL! She recalled “it had white lace around the neck” – a detail, I’m now assuming, that one only remembers if the evening was either magical, or epically disastrous. In this case, the latter.

I’m beginning to picture Ms Haversham in Great Expectations, who was still wearing her bridal dress years after the groom stood her up! How big an ass am I NOW?

I went to the dance anyway” she says, “…and stood outside the whole time.” (Well, sure. You didn’t think the worst was over yet, did you?)

I probe some more… “Did you beat the CRAP out of me at school the following Monday?” figuring I’d remember that, for SURE! “No, I was too embarrassed, and I was very shy.” Oh God… I’ve destroyed this girl’s childhood!

It was one of those life-defining moments.” Kill me. Kill me now.

Would you like me to punch him in the face?” her husband asks. (Okay, that didn’t really happen, but it’s what I was hearing in my head).

While I’m groveling and apologizing all over myself, she’s laughing and enjoying it – maybe a bit too much? No, totally justified.

I still have no memory of it, and we went through four more years of school together and it never came up. But when someone’s first words upon hearing your name are “He stood me up!” then you KNOW that it was “a life-defining” moment, right?

Well, I apologized then, and I’m doing so again…

Teresa Hamilton Green,… I, Kevin Edward Newsome, am more than sorry for standing you up at the Monroe Junior High Rebel Sweetheart Dance in 1969. Please forgive my lack of gentlemanly behavior and please know that I intend to live the next 45 years carrying this mantle of guilt. That will make me 104. My non-recollection of the event is no excuse. I have no doubt it happened. I believe you and I’m thankful you were able to move on, get married, have children, and hopefully no longer wear the beautiful, lace-trimmed dress that brought you tears and heartache. Please accept this apology and I promise (if you’ll agree, and your husband won’t punch me), I will dance with you at the next reunion.

Humbly Yours,

Kevin E. Newsome


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