The year was 1998. I was an awkward twelve-year-old with acne on my face, braces on my teeth, and an afro due to the tragic mistake of asking for a curly perm during a haircut. You know, the poster child of those pesky awkward years. Once, while looking through one of my grandma’s magazines, I came across an article about a new children’s show called Blue’s Clues. Along with the article was a picture of the host, a cute young guy with brown hair and big beautiful brown eyes. One look, my heart was struck. That young guy’s name, Steve Burns.
As a preteen, I was a little past the target audience for this tremendously popular show that came on Nick Jr. Of course, being a nineties kid, my tv stayed tuned in to Nickelodeon, and so I happily tuned in to this show to see the host. Once I heard his voice, it was icing on the cake, as it was a pure and kind voice. Suddenly, whenever I wasn’t in school, I would schedule my day around getting up to watch both showings of Blue’s Clues every day. I was a faithful viewer, even having Mampau wake me up at 8:30, which was no easy task as I have never been a morning person.
On Saturdays, we would often go to the mall, which I would always love to go to the bookstores. I would quickly go to the children’s section to see what Blue’s Clues merch they had out at the time. I would use money that I had saved from my allowance to buy books, videos, cds, anything that went with the brand. I would eventually go on to include a bathmat, shampoo, soap, toys, and even a Steve shirt. Never mind the fact that it was way too small for me, it was the principal of the thing. I remember once spending up to nearly two hundred dollars in a single visit. Not that I was obsessed at all.
At the time, it wasn’t cool to be in Junior High and having a crush on the Blue’s Clues guy. Most of my classmates had pictures of the Backstreet Boys and N’Sync in their lockers. I had Steve in mine. I didn’t care, I was going to grow up and marry Steve someday. I heard rumors about him being dead, but I didn’t believe them. That crush lasted almost as long as my other huge childhood crush Paul McCartney. What can I say, I like more mature guys.
When I was thirteen, I finally found an address to write Steve a fan letter. I happily wrote a letter pouring my heart out to him. Looking back, I’m not sure what response I was really expecting. I suppose being the young and clueless kid I was, I expected him to be so touched by the letter that he would decide to wait for me until I grew up. Of course, that never happened. Days turned to weeks, and then to months. No reply. Eventually I grew frustrated. How could he just ignore this letter from the heart? Even an autograph would have meant the world to me. With that, my crush was officially over.
I grew up and I put Blue’s Clues all but completely out of my mind until I had children of my own, and we would catch the occasional old rerun. By then, I could laugh at my crush. It felt so real, and I suppose in a way, it was. It was a childhood crush, that would leave me with lasting memories of a much simpler and more innocent time.
A few years ago, while browsing YouTube, I searched Steve for fun, and came across more recent music that he had done. I was happy to see him still in the business and was impressed at how truly talented that he was. I must admit, the child in me was happy to finally see him in clothes other then that green striped shirt and khaki pants. In the past few weeks, Steve has blown up with the twenty-fifth anniversary of Blue’s Clues. He did a video where he addressed all of us that grew up watching him. I, like so many others, had tears in my eyes as I watched. I too, have come a long way since those days of waking up early and running to my tv just in time to watch Steve open the door with a huge smile and dance.
Having hear him say that he never forgot about me, I haven’t forgotten about him. Perhaps in a way, that crush still lingers. He seems like a genuinely good guy who has come to embrace this impact that he has had on an entire generation. Also, I find it humorous to know that I wasn't the only non-preschooler to watch Blue's Clues because of Steve. He has stated that he got a lot of letters from moms who thought he was cute. I don’t know if Steve ever saw that letter that I sent him in 1999, and I doubt he will ever see this. But if you do Steve, I’m still waiting for that autograph. And thank you for the memories. You will always have a special place in my heart.