Leslie met Jason at a dance. He wasn't handsome — only "passable and well-dressed."
But this was back in the Dark Ages when girls had to wait for guys to show interest in them. Their choices were limited.
(What? Some of you are still in the Dark Ages? Look at a calendar! It's almost 2018! You see a guy you like, let him know! In a subtle way, of course.)
"A girl had to choose from among the relatively few men who asked her out," says Leslie. "Whereas a guy had the whole world of females to choose from. A smart girl took what she could get, hoping all the while that by experiencing dating men she merely liked somewhat, and who treated her very well, her Prince Charming might come along and she'd be prepared."
After three months of dating this "kind, considerate and generous man," Jason took Leslie to a fancy club for New Year's Eve. During a break between sets, he sat her down, looked soulfully in her eyes and softly said, "Leslie, I love you."
And what did she do?
She laughed in his face.
She says: "I apologized profusely, but the damage had been done. Still, he continued to date me for more than another year until I sent him a wedding invitation. I was engaged to another man, a man I didn't love. But Jason had never proposed to me and I wanted to get married and away from my family.
"All these years later I've been wishing I could contact Jason so I could apologize again, and more than that, so I could explain why I had laughed in his face when he declared his love for me. The reason wasn't apparent to me then. But I've known for many years now why I laughed. I wasn't laughing at Jason. I was laughing at the irony of the situation.
"A year before I'd met Jason, I had met and fallen madly in love with Mike. My family broke us up because they thought the age difference between us was too great. But all the time I was with Mike, I'd been hoping and praying to God with all the power, strength and faith that was in me, that I would hear the words 'I love you, Leslie' from him.
"Then, just months later, when I finally did hear those words from a man, it was the wrong man. The irony of it was so strong that I burst into laughter.
"I've always wondered what happened to Jason after I dumped him, and how his future may have been affected adversely because of my laughter. I wasn't being unkind. I was experiencing my first cruel dose of irony. It's been 63 years since I hurt Jason, but I still think of him often and wish I could see him one more time to explain.
"I'm not actively looking for him anymore. I Googled his name once a few months ago, but got no results, which wasn't surprising."
Are you looking for a lost love? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to [email protected] And check out my e-books, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front" and "I'll Call You. Not.