Digging ever further into the piles of old family photos this summer, there he was: Robert Spiegel, my first childhood crush! Our mothers were good friends, we lived in the same village, and so we saw quite a lot of each other when we were kids.
Here we are on a visit to Munich zoo:
I also found this photo, taken at a kindergarten carnival party:
The boy in the picture, Siegfried Terpoorten (‘Sigi’), was my second crush, after it had dawned on me that Robert, although quite sweet, wasn’t… well… the sharpest tool in the box.
Sigi was sharp witted and charismatic, even at that age. He oozed confidence, without being (overly) cocky, and enjoyed universal popularity. I’m not sure I had paid him all that much heed at the time the above picture was taken. We must have been around 6 years old in that shot. Three years later, though, he did something that left a lasting impression.
It happened during carnival season. The Village used to lay on a children’s costume party every year, held in the local community centre. The fest was in full swing, when Sigi swished through the doors, in a bright green chiffon dress, a wig with strawberry blonde pleats and painted-on freckles splattered across his nose.
The crowd, composed of 50% princesses and 50% cowboys/Indians (this was before the age of the superheroes), let out a communal gasp. Everyone took the piss, of course, but he didn’t seem to care in the least. In fact, he wore the same outfit again a couple of days later for our primary school’s carnival do.
I don’t remember which kid showed off with his or her first Gameboy, but I do remember this; in fact, it’s my first conscious memory of being seriously impressed by someone. That Sigi had balls, and not even a big girl’s blouse could dent his street cred.
With hindsight, I’d say it was his first public demonstration that he wasn’t going to comply with other people’s expectations, and that he had the perseverance to see things through. Sigi was meant to become an electrician, like his father, and take over the small family business. He played along for a time, and so, despite being clearly very bright, he ended up stuck at a school that catered for the lower strata of academic ability, affording him the minimum educational standard required for entering an electrician’s apprenticeship, which he did complete.
His real passion, though, had always been acting, and he was the shining star of local community and school theatre performances. Fiddling with wiring wasn’t going to do it for him in the long run, that much was obvious. So he went back to school, and even managed to get a scholarship to a prestigious acting school. Today, he’s a successful German TV, film and theatre actor, and lives, as far as I know, in Switzerland with his wife and children.
So then, any juicy stories about your first crushes…? Spill, people, spill!