In 1983 I was 14 years old and I’d fallen in love for the first time. The object of my affection was an American boy by the name of Campbell T Fisher Jr (known as Toby). He and his family were sailing around the world in a small yacht. Their “modus operandi” was to stay in a place only for as long as it took them to earn enough money for fuel and provisions (for the next leg of their journey).
From the moment we met at a school dance, we knew that our time together was precious. Back then there were no cell phones (hence no texting) and no Internet. His parents didn’t have a car and mine worked all day, so we used to walk (a lot) to wherever we wanted to go. Money was tight for both of us, so going to watch a movie was a rare treat. The first movie he took me to see was “An Officer and A Gentleman” which was being shown at the Yacht Club where his family’s yacht was anchored. I remember thinking that the movie was so appropriate because Toby was my” officer and gentleman.”
Unfortunately they were only in Cape Town for 6 months. I was totally devastated when he sailed away, but we vowed to keep in touch and get together again as soon as possible. Keeping in touch meant “snail mail.” We’d write long, rambling letters telling each other everything that was happening in our lives. Of course, by the time the letter arrived, most of the news was “stale.” We also sent each other “mixed tapes.” Do you remember those? We’d put together compilations of sappy love songs and mail them to each other!
On the 3rd of May 1985 I received my last letter from him. In it, he told me that he planned to come back to South Africa in either June or July of that year. He even phoned me to confirm that he really was in the process of buying a ticket to come back to me. He also wrote me a poem (the start of which you can see in the attached image, together with a picture of what he looked like at the time). I could hardly contain my happiness!
June and July came and went without another word from him. There was no answer at the number he’d given me and no answer to any of the letters I sent from the end of May onwards. I waited for a word from him for over a year. In fact, I only started dating again when I was 17.
Fast forward to 2013. I’ve been happily married for 22 years and have two children who are both older than I was in 1985. We recently moved house and I came across this box of letters and photos of Toby. My daughter asked me why I didn’t just throw them away, after all I love my husband now (and have loved him from the day we met in 1988).
I don’t have a good answer as to why I still keep them …. except, maybe, because I’d still like to know what happened to Toby Fisher!
You see, in his last letter to me he called me his “one and only love” and he said he was coming back! Since then, not a word from anyone. I’d be SO happy if I found out that he was as happily married as I am. I’d just really like to know what happened to him!!
Does anyone know what happened to Campbell T. Fisher Jr, formerly of Florida, USA?
Did you keep mementos and / or letters from your first love? Do you ever think about them and wonder how their lives turned out? (Even if you’re happily married and have no intention of rekindling the old relationship!!)
This is an original post for World Moms Blog from Mamma Simona of Cape Town, who shares her home with a husband, a 20 year old son, a 17 year old daughter, a mom-in-law, two cats and two dogs!