Vada Palmer was a junior at Needham B. Broughton High School in Raleigh, North Carolina. She had a classmate named Pete Maravich. Of course he would go on to a stellar basketball career at Louisiana State University and then the NBA. He also had a mad crush on her.
I received the Vada Palma and Pete Maravich Papers as Vada’s gift to the State Archives in July of 2013. On the phone she was charming and generous, and referred me to an informative interview piece written by Tim Stevens (now retired), high school sports editor for the News and Observer. See Steven’s “Pistol on the court; shy boy a-courtin’,” dated March 10, 2010, via http://www.newsobserver.com/sports/high-school/article10364456.html. One of the most telling aspects of the piece was Vada’s comment, reiterated in my conversation with her: “If you were writing a book about my life, Pete Maravich would be one paragraph. I was really happy when I heard he had met someone and gotten married. He was such a sweet boy.”
In Vada’s estimation the letters were simple, and not the stuff of a grand love story. Yet such letters touch on the aspirations and hopes of youth, and symbolize for many the sentiments of one in the throes of a first crush, and represent the tension and complexity of navigating adolescence, school, first love, and the uncertain demands and possibilities of the adult world. Fortunately, students and researchers now and in the future have as a resource this collection (PC.2071), which preserves for the long term some eleven letters, a period Valentine’s Day card, six photographs, and two newspaper clippings. Related additions are always welcomed.
Read the rest here.