Thursday, September 30, 2004

Stories Retold

In this rush about, ever changing world, it's reassuring to experience occasional moments that give us a sense of continuity.  Change is a constant and remains one of the few things on which we can rely.

The arrival of grandchildren brings a nice touch of continuity to one's life.  My granddaughter is almost four and a half years old and lately I've been reading bedtime stories to her from one of the same books I read to my daughter.  This book has been around a very long time.  It was given to me by my Godmother when I was three; obviously, my mother read the stories to me.  Now this collection of little bedtime stories has found a new audience in a third generation listener.  I find this comforting and pleasantly familiar.

I enjoy reading out loud to a receptive audience.  Like everyone else, I've discovered many stories that appeal both to me and small children.  When my son was very young, a close friend of mine gave him a book I'd never heard of before.  The title alone was a kick:  "A Capital Ship" or " The Walloping Window-blind".  This is a poem written by Charles Edward Carryl.  My son asked me to read this book to him constantly and got to the point where he could recite it in its entirety.  One day, I discovered that the phrasing of the words fit perfectly to the tune of the theme song from "Gilligan's Island".  This put a whole new spin on the book and made it even more entertaining.  My son is now a big, burly 16-year old but he still stops long enough sometimes to listen when I sing it to his little niece.

It's very gratifying to read the same stories you enjoyed as a child to a child or grandchild of your own.  It's been my experience that I still love the books and stories I read or had read to me when I was a little girl.  It's a simple, readily available, inexpensive way to carry on a fond memory and, hopefully, help instill the beginning glimmer of the concept of the joy of reading at an early age.

What are you reading?

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Are You Ready for Football?

Football season is upon us once more.  It brings with it fun food, camaraderie and a party atmosphere.  We watch football at our house but it is with a laissez-faire attitude more often than not.  It hardly takes precedence over everything else going on at the time.  Sometimes it serves merely as a background to whatever else is happening.  There have been times when a game is on, the sound is muted and music is playing.  I enjoyed many blissful years of existence with a man whose one and only sport was--me!  Eventually, the day came when he, too, was bitten by the football bug and became interested in actually watching the game.  This has always been perfectly okay with me.

I grew up in a household where sports where not in the picture.  This must sound unbelievable to the multitude of rah-rah sports fans in America, I'm sure.  Not one of us played any sport during our school years nor did we ever have the desire to do so.  We had our friendly games of softball and badminton but for fun only, not with the must-win mentality that dominates the American psyche.  Somewhere along the line, probably in college, my brother started watching football and that was the spark which ignited the flame of interest in our home.

My dad began to check out a game here and there and very shortly, my scholarly father developed a passion for football!  He watched the games in his own particularly dear fashion.  My dad was a gentle man, a man not prone to yelling or screaming.  When he saw an excellent play executed on the field, he would clap his hands and say things like, "good play".  It was the funniest thing but so very like him to show his appreciation in this way.

For about two seasons I really tried to watch and make some kind of sense of the game.  Every game looked the same to me and I found the constant halting of them every few minutes extremely annoying.  I had always wondered for the longest time how on earth a one-hour game could go on for three hours!  Now I knew.  I learned names of many of the quarterbacks and could match them to the right team.  I began to recognize coaches.  I could never understand why the coach whose team was winning always looked as grim as the coach whose team wasn't.  I suppose their mindset is stuck in "it ain't over 'til it's over!"

I got pretty good at matching teams with the correct city.  I came to develop a small appreciation of helmet design and would, in fact, use this criteria to select my favorite team (totally non-interested-in-sports-female that I am).  For the record, my favorite helmets (and teams) have always been the Seattle Seahawks and the Cincinnati Bengals.  Awesome helmets; wouldn't you know the same person designed both teams' helmets?

I've long since given up trying to figure out the plays and positions of football.  Who cares?  I surely don't.  However, a comment from John Madden uttered several years ago gave me one of my best laughs.  The Dallas Cowboys were playing against whomever and John Madden said, in all seriousness, something to the effect of "if Dallas is going to come up from behind, they've got to start getting some penetration".  This struck me at the time as being very funny and I came to appreciate football commentary as a great source of amusement. 



Saturday, September 25, 2004

Patrick's Saturday Six (Already?!)

Picture from Hometown

1. Who is the last person you took a photograph of?

My granddaughter, playing in the sprinkler this summer ~ unlike about 98% of the people in Journal Land, I'm not big on taking pictures.

2. What decade do you hold the most dear and why?

The seventies, hands down!  This decade witnessed my courtship, marriage, move to California and birth of my first child.  It took me from the age of 17 to 26 and a lot happened.  Frequently, I will say 1970 (insert 1 to 9) when I mean to say 1980 or 1990 something.  I think this is more than a Freudian slip.

3. Take the quiz:  What mystical creature are you?

You're like an angel. As everyone knows, angels dwell in heaven. They were desribed as shining ones wearing white and the idea that they have wings is believed as well. Guardian angels are the ones that many people think are dead loved ones who try to protect the living friends or family they have on Earth. They usually had blonde hair and maybe brown with flawless appearance and sweet dispositions. They were cheerful, hopefull, selfless, loving, and kind. Angels are the one mystical creature that a majority of people truly believe in. Encounters with angels are poping up all over the world and reassuring people's beliefs in angels.

(I am truly surprised; this is Not the answer I was anticipating!)

4. What is your favorite alcoholic beverage?

Wine.  A good Zinfandel or Cabernet in the cool weather; a chilled white such as Johannesburg Reisling or Pinot Grisio when it's warm.  I'm not a stickler for matching the "proper" wine with the dish!

5. What do you normally wear to bed?

A smile; that's all.

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #24 from Cherie:  What movie character do you most identify with?

It's a toss-up between Nora Charles (Myrna Loy) in any of the "Thin Man" movies and Jessica Rabbit (pen and ink) from "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"


Tuesday, September 21, 2004

A Remembrance

This is a sad day for me.  I lost whom I consider to be the most influential person in my life on this day nine years ago.  Can it truly be nine years already?  My soul finds this difficult to believe.

My mother died September 21, 1995.  This was the day I came to dread as I got older yet knew the inevitable would occur.  When it happened I was certainly not prepared.  Are any of us ever prepared?  Is this possible?  There's no good, convenient time to die for anyone.  The passing years have softened the blow and eased the pain which is how things should be but those feelings are still there and shall be until the end of my life.  I felt so lost without her--the mere knowledge of her presence--for such a long time.

It was my mother's death that taught me that we do not weep and grieve for those who die; it is for ourselves that we feel such despair and misery.  I don't think I ever realized that before.  Nothing matters any longer to those who have passed on to the next phase of existence, whatever that may be.  It is those who are left behind, deprived of the company, joy, delight and wisdom of he or she who has died.  For the longest time, I sincerely believed that I couldn't or wouldn't want to continue to exist in this world without my beloved parent.  Thankfully, the passage of time works as a gentle healer and life does continue its normal progression.

Life continues because it must.  I wasn't a little child when my mother died, after all.  I was a grown, married woman of 42 with a husband and two children and a home of my own to tend.  I felt as if I'd been cut adrift and had lost the wisest counsel and comfortable mantle of unconditional love I'd ever known.  When my father died five months later, I often wondered if a person my age would be considered an orphan.  At times, I felt like one.  With the loss of one's parents, there is no longer a continually flowing fountain of wisdom to seek and derive solace from when life gets tough and the little dinghy in which you were cast adrift into the real world gets tossed about in a rough tempest. 

We had a private outdoor service with family and friends for my mother five days following her death.  Her obituary notice represented her very well: R.N. from Montreal General Hospital and homemaker for over 56 years and a resident of __________ for over 19 years.  A lover of music and literature and was also a life-long avid gardener who enjoyed great success with hybrid bearded iris.  A woman of magnetic personality, independent spirit and great personal charm, wisdom, humor, strength and optimism and was a source of admiration and inspiration to all who were privileged to know her.  She is deeply mourned and sorely missed by her many loved ones.

It is said that as long as we retain the memory of someone who has died, they are still very much with us.  I suppose this small comfort is true.  My mother is very much alive within me.  I talk to her sometimes and while I don't expect an answer back, of course, it helps anyway.

My mother was a unique, great lady.  I wanted to let the world know how very much I miss her. 

Monday, September 20, 2004

Patrick's Saturday Six

Picture from Hometown

1. If you could give your journal a content rating, which would you select:  G, PG, PG-13, R, or NC-17?

I have two journals.  One would be rated G; the other, PG

2. Are you left handed or right handed?  Do you wish you were the opposite?

I am right-handed and have never wished to be a lefty.

3. What is the last play you saw performed live in a theater?

The last play I saw was CATS, many years ago in San Francisco.

4. Your bank gives you the opportunity to send them a photo which they will make into personal checks for you?  What single photo would you most likely send?

I would send them a picture of a river otter, something like this:

5. What character from the original "Star Trek" do you most identify with?

I would have to pick Mr. Spock; not for his exceptional intelligence which I certainly don't possess but because of his logical nature.  I think of myself as being a logical woman.  Also, I had the most incredible crush on him even though I knew he was far too cerebral for me!

   6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #23 from Heather:  What secret urge do you have, but never act on?

One of my secret urges is to buy a box of expensive, excellent chocolates such as Godiva and spend an afternoon curled up on the couch working my way through its entire contents while watching a movie no one else would ever want to see except myself.


Saturday, September 18, 2004

At Last!

Weekend Assignment #24: Tell us what the first song was at your wedding reception and why you chose that song. If you're not already married, tell us the song you would like to have played first at your wedding reception. Also, for the purposes of this assignment, those of you who have had commitment ceremonies can join in the fun (it's that whole "we're going to spend the rest of our lives together, and now we're going to dance" thing).

The music we had at our wedding reception was so forgettable that I had to think for quite some time about this assignment.

Our reception was held at a beautiful, well established historic inn which provided wonderful food and great ambiance.  This restaurant happened to be owned by my oldest sister's in-laws, no mere coincidence.  Her husband worked there for years and she was the dining room hostess for many years.  When the time came to plan my wedding reception, it was only logical that it be held at The King George Inn.

My parents and I sat down with the gentlemen who handled reservations for receptions and such and he recommended a band whose talent we could rent for the evening.  I couldn't tell you the name of this band if my life depended on it.  I faintly recall a group of musicians outfitted and seated much like something of the Glenn Miller Band genre.  (It wasn't this band; of that I'm certain!)

The majority of guests at our reception were extended family members and their families, a mature crowd.  The music provided was danceable and featured the classic band numbers.  This was fine with me.  Neither my new husband nor I were much into dancing at this point in our lives.  Most of the time whiled away at school dances was spent in some secluded area, talking.

We never had a particular song that became "our song".  Heaven knows we listened to enough music together but somehow no special song ever captured us.  My mother pointed out that we needed a song for our first dance as Mr. and Mrs. to play out to our beaming guests.  My parents had quite an extensive collection of 78 rpm records (antiques!).  This collection became the source that provided me with the perfect song for my evening of evening. 

Tony Martin

The name of the song was, "At Last, At Last" sung by Tony Martin, pictured above, who had a wonderful voice.  I doubt anyone today recognizes the song or the artist.  It suited our need quite nicely, however.  The song was in waltz-time which was a major plus because we were a far cry from Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.  The only part of this song I can recall now is the beginning which goes:

     "At last, at last you're in my arms; you're in my arms where you belong".

This was, indeed, most appropriate because we felt we had waited an eternity to get married.  Looking back from here, it doesn't seem so terribly long but five years does seem like forever to the yearning, burning desires of two people who want nothing more than to be together till the end of their days.  Sadly, I have never heard this song played anywhere since that magical evening so long ago but I can recreate it inside my head whenever I wish.  That's a bit of magic as well.



Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Idle Chatter

As I sit at a red light waiting for the change  to green, I am astounded by the cavalcade that passes before me.  One car after another goes by; the driver looks steadfastly forward, hand upraised with cellphone pressed firmly against ear.  And they're talking, talking, talking.  About what??  It's almost as if they were born this way.

They're talking in their cars, in the supermarkets, on the street--everywhere.  What do these people have left to say when they actually see the person to whom they've been talking?  I'm a throwback, a dinosaur, to the age of cellphones.  The very idea of being available to someone--anyone--24/7 is so abhorrent to me that to be put in such a position would be something akin to a personal hell.  The telephone and I are not the best of friends.  We're necessary acquaintances at best.  I regard it as a necessary evil.

When I'm in my car, alone, I am in my own little sancuary where I wish to be available to no one.  I'm free to listen to whatever music I want and if I want to hear Tina belt out "What's Love Got To Do With It?" for the thousandth time, it's my choice.  My commute to and from work is fairly short and the very last thing I want or need is the aggravating ring (or summons) of a phone demanding my attention.  If there's something going on that's so important that I need to be told about it, the news will be there when I get to work.  Yes, I can wait ten or so minutes to learn that some crisis has befallen someone near and dear to me.  I think too much information too soon, instant knowledge of bad/sad news are a lot to blame for the rampant stress, depression and misery that so many people seem to have fallen victim to.

Sure, this is easy for me to spout about.  I was brought up with a not so subliminal sense of hatred for the telephone.  My mother hated Mr. Bell's invention; this may be the one disservice she passed along.  None of my siblings are overly fond of the telephone either.  Much as we love and adore each other and enjoy getting together, none of us ever gets on the phone simply to chat and ask, "how're ya doing?"  It never crosses our minds to do so.  Hmmmm...very strange, especially in this technological age.  My husband finds this a very strange thing indeed!

I find myself wondering how I, my mother and all the generations past managed to bring up and keep track of children without outfitting each child with a cellphone.  Pehaps life didn't have such a "spur of the moment" quality about it then.  When your child said they were going to so and so's house or to such and such a place, you knew when they'd get there, about how long they'd be and when to expect them home.  I was never expected to check in with my home every hour on the hour.  I didn't bring my children up to do this either.  I did instill in them the extreme importance of phoning home to let me know of a change of plans.  I've always assumed it's perfectly acceptablefor them to use the phone in the house where they are or a pay phone if they're out and about.  Have you noticed that there don't seem to be as many pay phones around these days?  I think the proliferation of cellphones is fazing them out. 

Sometimes I think everybody in the world has one except myself, my husband (who probably wouldn't mind having one), and my son (who could buy one for himself if he so chose.)  I'm sure my children think I should have one so that, if for no other reason, they could still get in touch with me when I'm using the computer.  I don't have call alert on my PC; don't plan on getting this feature any time soon.  I just don't want to be instantly connected to the world every minute of the day.  Am I a living, breathing anachronism?  It's okay with me.


Monday, September 13, 2004

Patrick's Saturday Six

Picture from Hometown

1. With about 50 days left until the election, you suddenly have the chance to recast the two presidential candidates.  Who would you want to replace Bush and Kerry?

I am in a quandry over this question.  However, at the present time I'm ready to vote for just about anyone, with the exception of a convicted criminal, to remove our current president from office.  Enough, already.

2. What color would you never wear in your wardrobe?

Yellow.  Love the color but any and all shades of it look dreadful on me.

3. Other than a journal, what was the last website you visited?

4. Have you ever had the exact same dream more than once?  Have you ever had a dream one night pick up where the last night's dream left off?

No to both questions (whoa, what happened to my this a dream?)

5. Which is more organized:  your kitchen, your medicine cabinet, your computer desk, your office, or your car?

Oh dear!  I'm afraid I'm not a very organized person but I know where to find 99 and 34/100% of what I might need at any given time.  I seem to be afflicted with a rarely known impairment called, flat surfaceitus.  If there's a flat surface, I simply must cover it with stuff and the piles grow as time goes by.  I'd have to say it would be my computer desk, a place where I at least try to keep things organized.

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #22 from Robin:  Are lyou a native of the state you currently reside in?  If not, how many states have you lived in since the state you're a native of?

No, I'm not.  I have lived only in my native and current state.

Well now, do I have the distinction of being the last to post my answers to the current Saturday Six queries?    


Friday, September 10, 2004

Weekend Assignment #23

Weekend Assignment #23: 100 years from now, your great-great-great-grandchild has been assigned to write a school report on your life and times. Help him or her by putting five things in a time capsule. The five things could include something personal or something that typifies the times we live in. One catch: It can't include a version of your AOL Journal (because that would be too easy, that's why).

Here's a look at what my great, great, great grandchild's assignment might look like:

               TIME CAPSULE


My assignment is to write a report about what was going on during the life and times of my great, great, great grandmother.  Before the first school sector of the year began, my parents decided to return to my ancestors' ancient house just to see if it was still standing.  Once we got there, to pass the time, my younger brother who discovered a shovel from somewhere began digging in the backyard.  He came across a solid metal box buried deep in the ground.  He called me over to help pull it out which we finally did with a great deal of difficulty.  After some poking and prying, we were able to open it and found a smaller container inside.  We opened this and found a small collection of items inside.  Evidently, somebody from long ago decided to make a little time capsule for someone to discover in the future.  But who did this?  Let me share with you what we found inside.

First, we pulled out a photo album that had pictures of lots of my relatives from so long ago.  Thank goodness the names and dates were on the back of each photo so we could figure out who was who.  I guess somebody wanted to be sure these people never got completely forgotten.

Next, we pulled out a yellowed, worn newspaper dated July 20, 1969 which bore the headline in huge letters, MAN TAKES HIS FIRST STEP ON THE MOON.  Wow!  We'd just spent part of our summer vacation at a nice resort on the east side of the moon about a month ago.  I guess somebody thought this was an extremely important event to remember over the years.

Then, we pulled out a small plastic bag with a funny-looking cigarette inside.  I think it used to be called a joint, a marijuana cigarette.  I recalled reading about this in my history class; back in the 1960's and 1970's, lots of people tried these things because it made them feel good and forget things for awhile.  Maybe it worked as a small escape from all those wars they had back then.  I guess somebody wanted the world to know they, too, had tried these things at one time.

We peeked back into the box and saw a small stuffed animal, a river otter.  It was the cutest thing we'd seen in a long time.  We'd seen these little animals in museums before; it was extremely rare to see wild animals like these anywhere nowadays.  I guess somebody wanted the world to know that this was their most favorite animal and perhaps this stuffed animal was just one of a collection they had at one time.

By this time my brother was sure the box was empty and he was beginning to lose interest but my eye caught a flash of glass in the corner.  I pulled out a small framed photograph of a naked woman.  Something about her was hauntingly familiar.  It was a very discreet photo of a woman sitting with her knees bent and arms around her chest.  It was obvious she was very comfortable with the photographer and she was smiling.  Who was this woman?  I removed the picture from its frame and looked on the back.  Oh my God!  It was my very own great, great, great grandma herself at 49 years of age.  Evidently, she was a bit of a free thinker and enjoyed life in a natural state at times.  I guess she was the somebody who wanted someone to know that once she had been a vital, fun woman who lived a happy life and she wanted to leave behind a few mementos that she thought were interesting to share from her time on earth.  I think I look like her a little.  I wish I'd known her.


Monday, September 6, 2004

School Dazed

It's not necessarily so in many areas of the country these days but Labor Day was always the death knell of a seemingly endless summer when I was growing up as well as the harbinger of the First Day of School.  It was never my favorite holiday.

When I was a kid, the preparation leading up to that first day was a major ordeal.  New clothes and shoes were obtained and the wonderful opportunity to buy new supplies for classes presented itself.  I can't say why but I loved putting all this stuff together for a new school year and even now, I love to see stationery supplies all neatly laid out, ready for use.  I would hazard a guess that this ties in with my love of words and writing.

As I grew into higher grades, it would take me forever to finally decide upon what to wear for that oh, so important first day of school.  First impressions meant a lot; even back in those days I was well aware of this fact.  Where I grew up, new fall clothes for the fairer sex usually consisted of skirts, sweaters, long-sleeved blouses and tops and dresses.  Most of these were usually made from substantial material to help keep us warm through the autumn, winter and early spring months.  A lot of the school year was spent in cold climate; however, the first day of school never was and the new outfits never matched the weather.  Sheer feminine vanity allowed us to brave any weather that nature tossed our way and we dealt with it accordingly.  These were the days when there was actually a dress code which was strictly adhered to and we were expected to come to class looking presentable and ready to receive some education; not looking like a seething mass of raging hormones looking for someone, anyone, to set our hearts and bodies upon.

Our one major rebellion to this code was wearing ridiculously short dresses that barely covered the cheeks of our bottoms.  We girls spent our entire time in class trying to pull our hemlines closer to our knees to no avail.  This was before the advent of pantyhose; woman's best friend and man's nightmare.  The predecessor to this marvelous invention was a girdle fitted with garterbelt-type hooks with which to fasten standard, mid-thigh stockings.  Talk about a bunch of little Lolitas trotting about the place! I wondered for the longest time why the lower stairwell in the middle of the school was such a popular hangout for the guys.  Wouldn't the option of being able to wear pants provide a bit more decorum, not to mention an aid to keeping warm.  It was pretty damned cold standing in a foot of snow, waiting for the bus, while Jack Frost was nipping at your hose!

It wasn't until my junior year that girls were allowed to wear slacks.  Wouldn't you know it, pantyhose came into being just a year previously.  They had to be nice, dress slacks or pants that were part of a pantsuit.  Remember those?  No one wore jeans, neither girls nor boys, ever.  I suppose this sounds incredibly harsh, outdated and controlling by today's standards (?) but having a code by which to dress taught us how to dress properly to match the occasion and it didn't kill us.  I know I'm getting old when I view with some distress what young girls are wearing to school these days.  Skintight, worn on the hips jeans, barely-there, high midriff or halter tops or minisculely there sleeveless little numbers with straps the width of vermicelli are not articles of clothing conduscive to giving rapt attention to the education being offered.  Oops!  Pardon me, my age is showing.  I can just see my husband shaking his head in disbelief as he reads this.  It would never occur to him or any other male that perhaps wearing revealing clothing all the time isn't always a good idea.  This is probably yet another fundamental difference between the mindworks of men and women.

These are just a few of my memories of school days.  Yes, the first day of school was the best day.  The second best was the last day.  It was always a long haul between the two.






A Faint Glimmer of Recognition

Well now, I'm a happy camper.  I've been "blogging" along quietly now for the past six months or so in my own little way and lo and behold I received an e-mail from the AOL Journal Editor telling me one of my journals is being considered as an Editor's Pick.  I realize the key word here is considered and as such, it's not time to hang up the party lights and pass the hors d'oeuvres tray in preparation for celebration.  However, to achieve even this small recognition is flattering and puts a big smile on my face.  I'm fairly easy to please.

For all I know, all AOL journalers get this e-mail at some time much like anyone who ever entered a science fair back in school received a participant ribbon.  This was a pretty, showy thing to hang on the wall but it didn't mean squat.  This, then, is a perfect occasion to fall back on the old "ignorance is bliss" philosophy.  Please don't rush to inform me this is indeed the case which would immediately burst my little bubble.  It's a thrill to get this far; everyone enjoys a little recognition at times.

I stumbled onto the world of journals inadvertently and was captured immediately.  I created a journal of my own to help fill a terrible, gaping void left from circumstances that caused me to stop writing to a friend on a regular basis.  The need to write was overwhelming but what good was continuing to write if not for someone else's eyes?  By journaling I saw an opportunity that would satisfy my need to write and supply a following should anyone happen to find and become interested in that about which I was writing.  This has become a most compatible combination and pastime for me.

My journals have become my hobby.  I look forward to reading entries in the journals I've been following.  I love creating and entering my own contributions and reading comments from those who care to leave same.  By the same token, I enjoy adding my comments to journals I read.  I write for my own pleasure.  If those words please someone else, this is an additional perk.  If my thoughts, memories and expressions garner a selection in the Editor's Pick, I'd be extremely pleased.  I won't hold my breath on this one just yet.

Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Serendipity in the Cafeteria

Recently, I read a "how we met" story in one of the journals I follow.  I always enjoy reading these and, of course, love to tell about my own experience.  Here's mine.

I first met my future husband when I looked up across my high school cafeteria to see this guy staring at me.  We had been alternately staring at each other for several minutes before we both misjudged and looked up at the same time.  I still recall the burning blush of embarrassment that seared my face.  I was well brought up, after all, and had been taught long since it was rude to stare.

This happened in the spring of my sophomore year of high school.  I had stayed after school to make up a French test.  This fellow was just hanging around talking with some friends.  I was staring at him because I was fascinated by how strange looking I thought he was and I'd never seen him anywhere before that afternoon.  Apparently, he was staring at me because he thought I was incredibly beautiful.  Yeah, right!  I was 15 years old.  I don't think I was.

He boldly walked over and sat himself down opposite me and we had a surprisingly pleasant conversation.  A fairly accurate version of this conversation can be found here: 

A Spring Meeting

After that initial encounter I saw him regularly at the same place and time each morning.  It turned out he was taking a girl who was in my homeroom class to the prom in the next couple of weeks.  Homeroom classes were alphabetically assigned and, therefore, I spent my first class of all four years of high school with the same kids whose names ended in A's and B's as well as always having the same group of lockers.  This girl's locker was near mine and each morning this fellow would be waiting for her and each morning he greeted me with a very pleasant hello.  I was extremely young and inexperienced in the ways of dealing with the opposite sex and didn't know what to make of this young man.  I just laughed at him.  Every morning.  Each day.  This went on for quite some time.  When the prom had come and gone, he stopped dating this girl and I never saw him by my locker again.  He never approached me againwhatsoever.

The school year ended, I finished tenth grade is a satisfactory manner and the peculiar fellow, who was a senior, graduated from school and out of my life.  I clearly remember showing my mother his picture in the senior section of the yearbook to show her the weird guy who talked to me back in April.

"Look, Mother, this is the strange-looking fellow I told you about, right here."

"I don't think he's strange-looking at all," said Mother, "I think he looks rather nice."

"Oh, but Mother!  He didn't look like this at all!"

During the summer vacation I turned the magic age of sixteen.  I returned to school in the fall ready to embrace my junior year and much to my surprise, I saw this very same strange guy in the hall as I passed from one class to another every morning.  How could this be?  He certainly wasn't stupid.  What happened?  Each morning I passed him going in the opposite direction and I got nary a smile, a glint or a smattering of recognition.  Remember, after all, I had done nothing but laugh at this fellow after our initial conversation.  I guess he had his pride.  September rolled into October and October dissolved into November and I continued to be the dateless wonder I had been since my freshman year.  I was getting desperate!  I wasn't looking for lifelong commitment here--I just wanted to go out and have a good time.  That's all.

On Monday, November 3, the phone rang in the evening at my house and wonder of wonders, it was for me.  It was this guy. 

"Do you remember me from the cafeteria?"  Um, yes, I certainly did.

"Would you like to go to the concert at the high school with me Thursday night?"  I had learned from a previous disastrous rare date not to say yes immediately no matter how anxious and desirous of going out I was.  I told him I'd have to think about it.  I sounded cool as a cucumber on the outside; I was sweating bullets on the inside.

"While you're thinking about that, want to go to the Homecoming Dance with me Saturday night, too?"

Oh wow, a double-header coming straight at the dateless wonder who'd been nowhere with anyone for what seemed like forever.  The imp in me told him I'd have to think about that as well.  We agreed upon a place to meet the following morning so I could give him my answer.  I really didn't have much of a choice here.  I so very badly wanted to go out.  What did I have to lose?  Well, possibly life and limb but those items seemed trivial at the time and I decided to say both invitations.  As I approached him the next morning, I though this fellow didn't look anything like I remembered.  He looked pretty good.  In fact, it was downright amazing how much he resembled that senior picture I showed my mother.  I told him I would go out with him and he gave me the biggest smile and said, simply, Good News!  He was charming.

Our first date was Thursday, November 6 to the concert.  (I later discovered that I had the dubious distinction of being the fifth girl he had called to go to this event.)  We had a great time and talked and talked and talked.  When I got in his car that first time, I experienced the strongest sensation that I had known and been with this person before.  This, so far, has been my one and only brush with a supernatural-type feeling but there was no mistaking it that evening.  I felt so comfortable with this young man; I knew we'd been around together before.  Why didn't I feel this when we first encountered each other?  I think I was so nervous that I was totally nonreceptive to any such feelings at the time.  Our second date (the double-header, remember?) was Saturday, November 8 to the Homecoming Dance.  We had a fabulous, incredible time that night.  Monday morning, November 10, 1969 arrived and by 8:23am, we were going steady.

Naturally, I soon discovered why he had to return to high school to repeat senior year.  He failed chemistry and needed the credits in order to get into college.  My husband had a tendency to be rather tactless in his youth.  He was right on the cusp of failing and a rude but truthful remark to his teacher resulted in his failing grade.  He worked things out very well for himself.  He came to school for the first half of the day to make up his chemistry class and took some history and English classes to fill out the morning.  He then left for work for the other half of the day.  It was a perfect arrangement.  I've often wanted to find that teacher and thank her for being responsible for causing his return to high school. 

We've been together for close to 35 years and married for over 30.  Imagine that!