A Tribute to My First Crush – Olivia Newton-John

Note: this is a repost of my blog from September 29, 2018, titled: Returning to the Scene of My (One and Only) Crime

I think at this point the statute of limitations has expired.

So it’s time to come clean.

When I was about 18 years old a friend and I went to Zern’s Farmers Market in Gilbertsville, PA just for something to do one Saturday night.

As we were walking past the record store, I caught a glimpse of a poster of Olivia Newtown-John (shown above), hanging on one of the walls of the store. As soon as I saw it, I had to have it. To say I had a crush on Olivia would be an understatement; I was convinced that her song “I Honestly Love You” was written with me in mind.

Anyway, I asked one of the people working at the store if the poster was for sale, and he said no, it was a promotional poster from the record company. I then asked if he could just give it to me, and he said no once again.

So I left the store somewhat depressed but then as we walked around the rest of the farmers’ market, my friend and I began to hatch a plan. We would go back to the store and he would distract the store clerk and I would grab the poster off the wall and just start running through the farmers market to the car.

Surprisingly, everything worked according to plan, and a couple of months later the poster was hanging on my dorm room wall.

I can’t imagine what the people walking around the flea market must have thought to see some nerdy guy running through the flea market with a big Olivia Newton-John poster in his hand, and a big grin on his face.

Well, fast forward almost 45 years.

I was out driving today and I heard something on the radio that today was the final day for Zern’s Flea Market; it would be closing for good after more than nearly 100 years of being in operation.

My first thought was that I had to return to the scene of the crime, and at least using my inside voice, apologize for my wrongdoing.

So I took my wife and son with me, and off we went to Gilbertsville. It’s been more than 40 years since I had been there, but it looked vaguely familiar. There were a couple of stores that sold used records, but I have no idea if one of them was the same store that once had the Olivia poster. Nonetheless, I took the following picture of a fairly empty wall that may at one time have had the poster on it:

We walked around the market for about 40 minutes, and then it was time to say goodbye and to take the picture of the entranceway as a reminder of my youthful indiscretion:

Steve Jobs’ noted in his Stanford commencement speech that he could have never predicted that taking a course in calligraphy at Reed College would one day provide the inspiration for the fonts for the Macintosh.

And so that’s how I feel. Who knew that stealing an Olivia Newton-John poster from a flea market would one day lead to me writing a blog post about it, nearly 45 years later.

Thanks for the memory, Zerns.

And as to the poster, my wife made me get rid of when we got married…

P.S. I wish Olivia the best in her most recent battle with cancer…

So that was the end of my original post, and all I can say now is RIP, Olivia…

143 thoughts on “A Tribute to My First Crush – Olivia Newton-John

  1. You came back with a bang, Jim. You were not the only one who had a serious crush on Olivia Newton-John, though I don’t have as good a story as you. When Grease first came out, I went to see it twice. I rarely watch a movie more than once. I was single at the time and took two different girls to the movies a week apart. I kept looking around the theater, wondering what I’d say if I ran into the first girl again. “You no-good, two-timer, Springer!”😊

    Are you sure she wasn’t singing you, “I’m Hopelessly Devoted to You.” Now that would have earned you some street cred with your buddies. By the way, if you’re going to have a crush on someone, you’d better learn to spell her name.🤣

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And what would you have said to the first girl if she was out on a date with another guy? 🤓

      And how embarrassing about the spelling! Thanks for catching it. I corrected it in the title, but left one of the other misspellings in there so people would know what you were referring to. I guess I’m a little rusty with this blogging stuff…


      1. Who knows? I was always pretty much a bumbling fool with girls.

        I was always impressed with the way Olivia Newton-John came across in interviews. She was well-spoken and seemed sincere. Do you remember she had that odd thing happen where her husband faked his death and turned up alive years later?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. But at least you went on dates. Before I met my wife at the age of 20, I had less than 5 dates…

        I remember the story about her hisband dying under strange circumstances; I did not know he turned up alive years later!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I was saddened to hear of her passing. She was quite a talent and very pretty. As celebrities of my generation leave us, it reminds me of my own mortality. Welcome back for a bit even though the occasion is a sad one.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. talented and pretty – easy to see why I had a crush. And on a sadder note, the guy who was my wing man that night passed away about a month ago…

      It feels good to be back…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. When Grease came out, I wanted to be Sandy. Olivia Newton-John was amazing and will be missed. I love your story about the stolen poster! It’s too bad you don’t still have it…although, maybe not on the wall. Mona

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  4. Sad, but I’m happy to see you.are back. Just a few hours ago, I made a note to myself to reach out to you during the day. Aside from your mourning the loss of ONJ, I hope you are doing well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. she had some health issues for a long time, but she seemed to handle her illnesses with class and strength.

      It’s good to be back; I hope you are doing well. We have been having a good summer; school starts up in two weeks…


  5. She did seem like such a sweet kind woman. Grease is actually my favorite movie, I have watched it over 50 times and whenever it is on I will still watch it. Welcome back 😁

    Liked by 2 people

    1. wow! 50 times. I thought Iw as a fanatic, but I’ve only seen it about half a dozen times. It’s a classic. It’s good to be back; looking forward to catching up with everyone’s blogs!


      1. To be perfectly honest Jim, there is a possibility that I may have seen it over 50 times. Normally I never watch a movie more than twice but Grease brings back some wonderful memories of my younger years and I doubt I will ever tire of it. 😁😁

        Liked by 1 person

      2. there are a handful of movies I’ve seen more than a couple of times: Chariots of Fire, Napoleon Dynamite, Happy Gilmore, Grease, Pitch Perfect come to mind…


  6. You picked well for your first crush. She was an amazing actor and vocalist. And her beauty goes without saying. In Grease, she played the love-struck teenager when she was 29. Not every woman could pull that off. I am sorry for your loss, but it was great to read your words again. Take care, my friend!

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    1. I never realized how old she was when she was in Grease – that is quite a feat. Such a great movie.

      It’s good to be back, I look forward to catching up with everyone’s blog!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks, Jenn.

      Grease is such a great movie, I always watch it if I’m scrolling through the channels and it’s on.

      And to think I was obsessed with her even before Grease 🙂

      It feels good to be back blogging again, and I look forward to catching up with everyone’s blog.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Was this pre or post grease? I think everyone had a crush on her after grease. But for me, not quite like my Cheryl Ladd crush. I love I Honestly Live You. No idea it wea ONJ.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Gosh, Zerns has gone. I recall when Don took me there to try chicken gizzards when we were dating. Picked up some cheap socks as well! It was an experience!
    Good to see you here again Jim 🙏🏼💐

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Zerns was qutie the experience. I remember watching the live animal auctions they had on Saturday nights.

      Hope all is well with you Val. I look forward to reading everyone’s blogs again.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. surprisingly, my stunt involved no alcohol. I’m sure I’ve made some less than brilliant decisions after a few drinks.

      It’s good to be back, I look forward to catching up with everyone’s blogs!

      thanks, James!


  9. My late brother Jamie who had a mental condition alternating between delusions (Johnny Carson talked to him through the television) and awareness was at a family gathering decades ago, telling everyone he was about to fly to Hawaii to marry Olivia Newton John. Our grandmother (with no formal education and much distaste for my brother’s scruffy bearded appearance) asked me with consternation, “Why would she marry Jamie?” Especially when Jim Borden was available.

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  10. Jim, I appreciate your journey back in time. I have a few college memories that still remain locked somewhere . . . hopefully not in anyone’s particular safe. As for Olivia Newton-John, she will always be one of the best!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It is great to hear from you Jim. Life has pretty much returned to normal. After caring for my mother for two months, she is doing much better. A second trip to Montana to see family was torpedoed by my wife and I finally catching Covid . . . or did it finally catch us. Hope you doing well, too.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I was a huge Grease fan, but I think it was the character of Sandy I admired. I wanted to be just like her. I never really liked much of Olivia’s other music. I was saddened to hear she’d died of cancer, such a tragedy.

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  12. Yes, such a loss.
    It’s great to see you, Jim, and quite timely. I had visited your blog earlier this week to see if you’d been posting and maybe I’d not been notified. (WP can decide things on its own at times.) I was pleased to see that I hadn’t missed anything. I see you’re making up for the silence now. 😂 Welcome back.

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  13. What a great story, Jim! Hubby’s first crush was Annette Funicello. I bet he wishes he’d stolen a poster of her. Pennsylvania flea markets are the best. Is Rennigers (sp?) still around? Do they still sell funnel cake? Wonderful memories. R.I.P. Olivia!

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  14. A sad loss indeed. RIP Olivia. But of course, you couldn’t let it go without a humorous story. I laughed at the visual of your poster stealing plan. As for going back to revisit, I try not to do that anywhere as I prefer to remember good memories as they were without the disappoint of change. 🙂

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