Dark Shadows was must-see summer TV when I was in middle school. It was a daytime soap opera of gothic proportions and was groundbreaking in a way, set in the spooky Collinwood Mansion, home to any number of ghosts, vampires, witches and werewolves. Many a time, too scared to watch but spellbound nonetheless, we girls would position ourselves to the side of the television cabinetry and sneak a peak (but with our eyes covered).
Most girls (and, I suspect, many women) crushed on the star of the show, Jonathan Frid, who played sexy vampire Barnabas Collins. However, I was smitten by Quentin Collins, played by David Selby. I laugh now to recall the massive sideburns he wore but, still, he was undeniably attractive. I used to fantasize that perhaps the producers and actors might be driving past our house along Highway 69 (it was, after all, as my parents told us once, a major highway that cut across several states in the Midwest) and that their car would breakdown. After knocking on our door for some roadside assistance, the producer would steal a glance my way and proclaim ‘Hey, sweetheart. You’d be perfect for Dark Shadows. Whataya say?’ Yeah, silly. I know. But such was the stuff of my teenage hormone-driven imagination.
My dad surprised me once – funny how some things are just etched in your memory – as I sat on the kitchen counter drying dishes and putting them away in the cupboard. Dad wasn’t much for chit chat. I recall very few conversations with him growing up which is probably why I remember, so vividly, him asking me if I was in love. Was he able to read my mind? Did he know that I thought constantly about David Selby or that I scribbled his name on paper? Had my father seen the hearts I’d drawn with my initials intertwined with those of the one that I daydreamed about? I was embarrassed and somehow ashamed, guilty that I’d been found out. Of course, I denied the allegation but always wondered how he’d known.
It occurs to me, just now, that this would have been a delightful topic to have asked Dad about before we lost him to cancer a few years ago. How I wonder if he would have remembered the day he once asked me, his eldest daughter, if I was in love!