The Power of Words: How One Man’s Two Words Created Havoc


Love, Michelle  Two words.  Two simple words drawn in flour across the windshield of a 1968 Valiant almost caused a break up, a canceled camping trip, and the loss of a precious friendship.

You’d have expected that two young scholars would have thought of the repercussions of pasting flour, water, and egg onto a car in 98 degree heat.  But they didn’t.  I guess the thrill of sabotaging my car in a playful, teenage boy way was more important than thinking about the chemical reaction between cake batter and car paint. 

And if they didn’t think about what caked-on batter would do in intense temperature, they really didn’t think how two innocent words might be misconstrued.

So when I woke up that dry, hot summer day, with my bag packed and ready to chaperone 15 teens on a camping trip, the last issue I wanted to deal with was an angry call from my boyfriend yelling at me for pouring flour all over his car in the middle of the night and then writing, “Love Michelle” across his window in flour hearts.  Not flower hearts, mind, you, flour hearts, as in “add 2 cups of flour to the egg mixture” and back at 425 degrees.

The Truth Hurts

After an initial confrontation between my boyfriend and me, I, too, told him my car had been “floured” and the offenders had tried to blame me for vandalizing his car.  And it worked.  We compared car damage and agreed we would need to find another way to get our teens to the camping trip, as we both had planned on filling our bakery goods, formerly cars, with excited teenagers.

After scampering to find additional automobiles and drivers, we waited for our two other chaperons to show up.  They drove up sullenly and slowly, a bit too apprehensively for their own sake, which pretty much alerted us to the pranksters in this case.

My boyfriend and I screamed at them telling them how stupid we thought it was for them to put a basic cooking ingredient on our car the morning of an important event.  “Did you think of what it might do to the paint?” we screeched.  “How could you blame ME?” I asked my best friend, the culprit who initiated the Great Flouring of 1987.

Out of the passenger seat sulked our other friend.  “I did it, ” he admitted.  “I’m the one who drew the hearts and wrote, ‘Love Michelle’.  I thought it was funny.”

Not Ready to Laugh

“Funny?”  my boyfriend scowled?  “It was anything but funny.  I blamed Michelle.  How could you?”

The look on the two culprits’ faces was enough to know they felt pretty embarrassed and ridiculous for their prank.  “We’ll pay for any damages,” our friends said.

But the damage was done and so, I was convinced, was our friendship.  What they thought was a harmful prank was a personal attack felt by us.  The camping trip continued without a problem, only a little bit more silence between the chaperones than we all had anticipated.

Looking Back. 25 years later

Today my friend passed away from cancer.  And through all of the pain and hurt I feel, I still find comfort in the two words he imprinted on my heart, and my boyfriend’s car:  Love, Michelle. 

Words are powerful. Powerful enough to evoke feelings of anger when they were meant to evoke feelings of passion, laughter, and lightheartedness.  I can still picture the words carefully written in flour, with hearts surrounding them, on the windshield of my boyfriend’s car.

And today, those two words are images I want to remember, as I mourn the loss of my very dear high school friend.

By, Michelle Bedard








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