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Little Crush on the Prairie

Q: Did you have a crush on anyone on "Little House"?

So who did I have a crush on during "Prairie"? Everyone on Little House was very good looking, but most of them were sort of like brothers or uncles to me, so I didn't even think of most of them romantically. I also tended to hang out with the crew, so most of my crushes were on the prop men or the key grip. (Watch the titles next time. Look for any crew member with an italian name.) I had been told to avoid actors anyway.

Except for Rademes Pera. He's the one who played "John Jr.", a character who first appeared in the episode where Patricia Neal died, leaving her three orphan children to be taken in by "Mr. Edwards" (Victor French). "John Jr." went on to be "Mary's" (Melissa Sue Anderson) fiance, (back when she could still see, which is good because he was gorgeous). Unfortunately for him, Melissa Sue Anderson never really liked him. Unfortunately for me, I did.

He had long hair, big eyes, incredibly high cheekbones and read lots of books. We went to the same high school while we weren't filming, (Hollywood High).

I was 15, he was 16. I bought him gifts. (OK, if you must know, the "Dune" trilogy and a bowl of lime jello). Nothing worked. He turned me down flat and refused to go out with me on the grounds that I was too young for him. (He must have been at least eight or nine months older). This wound up being hideously ironic, as I went on to spend most of youth consorting with men anywhere form nine to sixteen years older than myself.

I am now married to a very nice man, 13 years older than I am, who doesn't think I'm too young at all. He has long hair, enjoys lime jello, reads science fiction and is half sicilian. They say certain preferences are set early in life. I wouldn't know.