A tenuous relationship with her step-father inspired a then seventh grader to daydream about who she wanted to take his place.
My seventh-grade reading teacher tried so hard to be cool. Mr. Bohlman was smart, friendly, and engaging, and most of us felt it was easy to talk to him about school or home. At an age when I was so self-conscious about my appearance, I found Mr. B to be superficially awkward and not attractive, so much so that I was surprised when he told us he was married with children. Still, he talked about his family in a loving, playful manner, and he smiled often.
One day during a quiet writing period, shortly after Mr. B shared a brief story about his family, I wondered what kind of father Mr. B. was to his kids. Was he happily married? What would it be like to have Mr. B as my step-father instead of Jorge, my mother’s husband, (who actually pronounced his name as George.) Jorge and I were having our difficulties, to put it mildly, and I wished he was out of the picture, so I relished in my fantasies of other men as my step-father, to become my mother’s next husband.
I was sure my mother wouldn’t find Mr. B attractive, though, so I couldn’t visualize the two of them being a couple, despite Mr. B. having so many of what I now call ‘Good Man’ qualities. Besides, if Mr. B. was happily married, there was no sense in fueling that fantasy. I had to move on to a better option for this to work.
On the back wall of Mr. B’s classroom were posters of rock bands. The Steve Miller Band Fly Like An Eagle poster caught my seventh-grade imagination. “I wonder if Steve Miller is single? Surely my mother would find Steve attractive!” Mom liked his music, and she could even dance to it. Mom was a good dancer, and her smile lit up the room every time!
Steve Miller was cool, beyond doubt, although I had no idea what his face looked like; all the photos of him I had ever seen were either far back or with his long hair hanging in his face. He could have walked into our classroom and I would not have known him. Still, I imagined how amazing it would be to have Steve Miller as my step-father instead of Jorge.
I imagined Steve Miller as my new step-father, coming to Mr. B’s classroom to get me out of school early so we could go on tour. I would be able to sing on stage with Steve Miller and his band! I had always loved to sing and perform on stage. I imagined traveling all over the United States and maybe even Europe with the band on tour with my step-father.
My mother would enjoy doing so, also, if she could take time off of work. “Oh, wait,” I exclaimed in my 7th-grader’s mind. “Steve Miller probably has enough money that if they get married, Mom won’t have to work, so she can tour with us, too! This could be fun, like the Partridge Family in some ways! I wonder if [my sister] would like Steve Miller as our step-father.” She and I had different music preferences, and I wasn’t sure if she even liked his music.
My 7th-grade fantasy of having Steve Miller as my step-father went on in detail for several months, fueled by the reality of my bad relationship with my step-father. Still, every time I hear one of his songs from the Fly Like an Eagle album, I smile and remember my Steve Miller as my step-father fantasy, when I was in 7th grade.