Barbara’s first love was for a boy a few years older than her who lived a few floors below in the same apartment building as she did. She was 13 years old at that time. From what she told me I remember that she met this boy for the first time at a party.  They met several times after but I don’t know if they ever dated. At one moment he said to her "You always smile but in your eyes your sorrow shows (note 1)". That was the moment that she realized for the first time in her life that she met someone who understood her, who saw what she really was like. That one line from the in that time popular song “Without You” described exactly how she felt at the time (3).

Whether he ever knew about the feelings he aroused in Barbara is not known.

Not even if he knew that Barbara was so in love with him. Soon after they met, he emigrated to Canada. At his farewell party, the song “leaving on a jet plane (note 2)” was played, and she has hated that song ever since.

In 1972, Barbara wrote the following poem (20):

雪 花 如 絮 心 如 醉
萬 里 惟 待 夢 相 聚
昔 日 友 情 難 再 有
今 朝 良 宵 倍 添 愁

“Snow befalls me and I am lost in vague musings

I am miles away from you and the only hope of reunions is in dreams

Our friendship has gone

It’s such a lovely night, but it adds to my grief”

Barbara probably wrote this poem after this boy left for Canada. That this boy made such an impression on her is not only clear from this poem. Even in 1976 she wrote about him in her diary (3). In 1984 she told extensively about this infatuation in a magazine article and played herself as a 13-year-old in a dramatized short story based on her first love. This was aired during a television interview about first love (21, 22, 23, 24).

It is striking that she told all her later boyfriends about this boy while she was silent to these boyfriends about her other previous lovers.

She showed her 2nd boyfriend a picture of him and told where this boy had lived (14). She told me about him regularly and in a newspaper article in January 1984 she said that “I do not think that Kent Tong minds if she talked about her first love”(22).

After she returned to Hong Kong she met him again. But as he was married and had children she decided not to contact him again (11).

In the interviews and the television program in January 1984 she tells a different version of this first love compared with what she told me and Hoover.

It seems that the version of 1984 is a merge of the memories of her first and second love into one story which she romanticized a bit more.


Note 1: This text line is from the song Without You by the group Badfinger.

Harry Nillson made the song very popular in 1972 when he released this song as a single in 1971.

Note 2: Song written and performed by John Denver, released in 1966

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