Why Leonard never loved completely
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There were times when he thought it would be impossible to love and be loved in return.

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High school, adolescence, fierce growing pains . . . an adult male in his thirties hardly thinks about these things. Memories of — youthful love gone sour, memories of pretty girls who never noticed . . . most grown men have pushed these thoughts far away. But not Leonard Nimoy. A sensitive lover doesn’t forget-—not even the girls who wouldn’t look twice. Growing up wasn’t easy for Leonard.

“Dear Leonard,” began the letter he held in his hand. “l hope you will remember me. l knew you when we were both in school in Boston. But my two daughters, now age twelve and fourteen, who are avid fans of yours, won’t believe me. Would you be so kind as to send me an autographed picture with some sort of message on it that would prove l am not kidding them?”

Looking at the signature, Leonard laughed, but there was a touch of sadness in his voice. Yes, he certainly remembered that girl. She’d been one of the cutest, most popular young things in his high school . . . one of those girls for whom Leonard once yearned with all the passion of awkward adolescence. But the girl had never noticed him then. _Oh, sure, she’d spoken to him in class, that kind of thing. But she spoke to everybody, for she was rather friendly. Never one special word, though, did Leonard Nimoy hear from her. Never a unique, meant-just-for-him smile. She’d left him alone in his searching, shy loneliness . . . alone and hungry for feminine approbation which did not come.

And now, Leonard could not help thinking wry thoughts as he stared at the letter —the letter which indicated that maybe, just maybe, if the situation had been different or if Leonard had not been quite so shy, things might have been different.

“The truth is, I was very introverted then," Leonard admitted recently during an interview on the Star Trek set. “I didn’t know who I was or where I was going. I didn‘t go to many dances or group picnics. And when I did, I sat off in a corner."

Then, stretching his long legs out in front of him, Leonard chuckled and confided, “I was looking for a lot of answers to a lot of big questions . . . and I couldn’t find them at that time.”

Leonard has no pat explanation for his early difficulty with girls, nor the feeling he once had that, as a group, they had failed him. He saw the other fellows, with no shyness at all, walking off with laughing, eager young women. Certainly, he longed to do the same, but it seemed he could never find an opening—that no girl gave him the kind of encouragement any shy fellow needs to get him going.

“Oh, there were girls I was interested in," Leonard said ruefully. "I would carry around this whole lump of emotion in my head——or my stomach—but ·I could never get in out.”

He tried. He‘d fall into step alongside a girl who‘d caught his attention, but after a few minutes of Leonard’s silent, tense presence the girl always had an embarrassing tendency to escape him.

“The only way, it seemed, that I could hope to have any relationship with a girl was if she‘d come up and introduce herself to me at a party, ask my name, and start to talk to me,” Leonard confessed, shrugging his shoulders.

Love was difficult then, and Leonard certainly fancied himself in love with about half the pretty girls he‘d see each day in school. It might have been awkward, puppy love, but, at that time, it was the real thing. He took it seriously, so seriously that he once believed he would- never find a girl who would fall in love with him. Perhaps his failure in real-life love drove him to acting. Just put him on a stage, where he could say somebody else’s words or make love to an actress and he wasn’t shy at all.

But, in the meantime, while he was growing up, there was still the day-to-day living to do. There were those agonizing years of trying to reach out for feminine understanding and companionship--unsuccessfully.

Even when he was a student at Boston College the situation didn’t change much. He had a few dates, but that old bugaboo, his inability to talk to girls without falling all over his feet, still kept getting in his way. And college girls weren’t any more interested in drawing this intense young man out than had been their high school predecessors.

"It was very painful," Leonard summed

it up succinctly.

Then, his brow clearing, he leaned forward, smiling, and said, “But when I was in Rhode Island not long ago, this girl showed up to see me. I hadn‘t seen her in about twenty years. She brought her family, sons and all. I was really shocked to see her." Leonard grinned, his voice filled with a certain satisfaction and he said, "It certainly was not a girl I’d forgotten. I remembered her the moment I saw her."

Undoubtedly he remembered, too, that in the days when they were kids together, the girl wouldn’t have walked across the street to see him. But Leonard holds no grudges. “I’ve had a lot of nice letters from girls I knew years ago," he said warmly. "It’s wonderful, in a funny kind of way, that people want to prove to other people that they have some kind of relationship with you. I take it as a compliment."

These days, Leonard can afford to be indulgent with the girls he once knew. For, after he left Boston to enter California’s Pasadena Playhouse, he met a girl named Sandi who was instantly attracted to the quiet, intense young man. Where the others hadn‘t understood, Sandi did. Where the others didn’t have the patience to learn what made Leonard tick, Sandi did. And before he knew it, Leonard was in love. Only this time, it wasn’t puppy love for a fickle high school coed. This was a complete love in which Sandi and Leonard learned the art of giving, loving and understanding. All his notions of love were turned upside down. He probably thought to himself, "I must have been out of my mind to think that I was ever in love before I met Sandi." And he married her to make sure that this time it would last.

Today, Leonard finds himself a roaring sex symbol to girls all over the country. “Being sexy isn't the most unpleasant thing in the world!" Leonard grinned. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it.

There was a recent article about the sexual interest in actors which said that intelligence is becoming sexy," Leonard said, with a wink, “and I think that's great. I wrote and told the author I hoped that it was true. When I first started out, the big public sex symbol was Marlon Brando; now, seventeen years later, it‘s the guy who plays a brainy and intelligent character. I think that is good. And I am very glad that I am playing a character that has drawn public interest.

And, I’m just as pleased with the sexual interest,” he chuckled.

So ends the tale of the shy, introverted boy turned national sex symbol. It‘s all a lot of fun now. But Leonard is the first to know that a sexy guy with women of all ages panting after him can‘t hold a candle to a man who is deeply in love with one special woman. The feminine sighs and blushes would have was-neat while he was young, but it's been a long time since he‘s learned what a complete love really is.

 

 

 

 
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