Sweet Memories Can Last Forever —

Even If You Forget The Person’s Name

By Shawn Ryan – Staff Writer, Chattanooga Times Free Press

He was the best kisser Debbie Ewing has ever known.

Nancy Roy Nunnally was standing in the elementary school hallway, lining up for lunch when it happened. “Scared me to death!!”

Kenton Dickerson was on a church hayride. “I even remember her perfume.” First kisses. They stay in your mind forever — even if you can’t quite remember the person’s name. But you can still feel your lips touching someone else’s. “I remember it like it was yesterday,” Ewing says. “There was this cute guy I had a crush on, but he was older than me and I didn’t think anything would ever become of it. We were talking after church on a Sunday night in my driveway when he kissed me. I thought my heart would explode. I was 15 years old and his name was Glynn Jackson. To this day I think he was the best kisser I ever encountered.”

Nunnally had to get a teacher involved with hers.

“Woodmore Elementary. Second grade. Standing in line in the hallway to go to lunch,” says Nunnally. “The boy in front of me (would have to look up his name) turned around and kissed me full on the lips! … Of course I told on him and Mrs. Dicus took care of the matter.”

For Dickerson, the moment is etched on his mind.

“Her name was Diane Edge, he says. “I still remember it, Diane.”

While first kisses are generally sweet, chaste and innocent, they also have a profound effect on how you think and feel about yourself, says Manhattan writer Rachel Vail.

“More than sex, that idea of kissing, connecting with somebody, it can be very innocent and it can be so very powerful,” says Vail. “It’s that first thought of yourself as a romantic and eventually a sexual being. First kisses can knock you down and make you feel so different about yourself and about the world.”

Vail and her first were in their elementary school’s production of “Bye Bye Birdie.” They were supposed to kiss in the play, but this was elementary school and that simply was not going to happen. Except …

“We met at center stage. He had a bouquet of flowers and he leaned forward and kissed me in front of a packed auditorium, in front of our parents and teachers and everybody else,” Vail recalls. “It was a sweet, chaste kiss, but I wiped it right off my mouth. My dad filmed the whole thing.”

Ouida Yarbrough Bianco remembers the name of her first kisser and where it took place, but she lost touch with him for years before learning what happened to him.

“William Hal Blair, Oak Hill, Nashville,” she says. “He and I were sitting under some bushes, hiding from his older brother, when he slyly turned to me and laid one on. We were girlfriend and boyfriend all through early grade school (he was a few years my senior). Time passed, and we grew apart. … I heard he was a dedicated runner who sadly passed away while running.”

Chris Hagan had to do a little climbing for his first — or at least his first “real” one. He kissed a girl — Regina Moss — on the playground in first grade, but it was just “a peck on the cheek.” The “real” one was with Michelle McDonald. The sixth-graders snuck into a treehouse together.

For some, the f irst kiss turned into the most important person they’ve ever kisses “that way.”

Susie Underwood and Roger Fitch were high school sweethearts and music lovers.

“He was the secretary for the band and I was the secretary for the chorus,” she says. “We had to be in the music library every day together to pull music for our respective musical groups. One day, after several months of flirting with each other, he closed the door and planted one on me. We were 15. We dated from then until we graduated from [Middle Tennessee State University] then we got married. That was 52-plus years ago. It was quite a kiss!”

Like Susie Fitch, Jan Bedwell Henry’s first kiss was her high school boyfriend.

“Bill and I were also high school sweethearts, met in Advanced Algebra and Trigonometry at BHS [Brainerd High School]. I was 14 and he was 15. He graciously helped me with math and we fell madly in love the very first week of school. He kissed me memorably on our first date.”

They split up after high school, both heading off to different colleges, both even finding love elsewhere — but nothing like what they had together.

“Ten years later, after we both had gone our separate ways (even though we never left each others’ hearts and minds) and were each even engaged to other people along the way, I worked at Precept Ministries and he was with the Army in Germany. God miraculously brought us to himself and back together on Feb. 4, 1975. We were engaged that night and we were married six weeks later, March 28, 1975!”

The 1975 Junior/Senior Prom at Hixson High School was a truly magical night for Tamarah Goggans.

“Pavilion at Chester Frost Park. After he helped me into the car to go home, Stuart leaned over and kissed me. We’ve been married 40 years,” she says.

For his first kiss , though, Al Slater was a little slow on the uptake.

“We were at Lake Winnie with our families. I asked if I could kiss her and she said, ‘Wondered if you were ever going to.’ Wow! Been kissing her ever since. We celebrated 55 years of marriage this past Monday. My sweet Jane.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Contact Shawn Ryan at or 423-757-6327.



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