Monday, August 24, 2009


Journeys end in lovers meeting,
Every wise man’s son doth know.
**********Twelfth Night. Act ii. Sc. 3.

HANK: This vacation time of year, my thoughts turn to love and travel. Why? Because just this time of year, 14 years ago, I met Jonathan.

I had been invited to share a house with a group of friends in Nantucket. I was six months (or more?) out of a deadend reationship (another story) and said--no thanks. And then I reconsidered. Of course, why not go? So I packed up my books and my bike and my tennis racket, and headed to Nantucket on the ferry.I was so--unready to meet someone, I didn't even bring any makeup. (I will pause while you howl with laughter.)

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, another person sharing the house had invited Jonathan. And the other person didn't know I was coming.

I arrived from Boston. Jonathan arrived from Boston. I took one look and thought--yikes, get me to drug store make-up counter. (I didn't go, by the way. I thought--this is me. Take it or leave it.)

We haven't been apart since then.

But we don't celebrate the anniversary of the day we met. Every year, we celebrate the anniversary of the day BEFORE we met. We call it "You Never Know Day." Because you never know what wonderful thing is just around the corner.

How did you meet your true love? By chance, by choice, by fix-up, by proximity? And how do you know it was the real thing?

JAN: Although my older brother and I hung around a lot together, when I followed him up to Boston University he told me not to expect to hang out with his college friends. I had to make my own friends.

A year later, he decided that he really didn't like my friends, especially not my boyfriend, who he claimed spoke in "monologues." So he fixed me up with one of his friends, Bill. He didn't tell me he was fixing me up, he just brought Bill back to his apartment one night when I was there cooking him dinner, and we went to a party afterward, Then he pressured Bill until he called and asked for a date. And yes, I knew immediately it was the real thing.

My brother passed away young - at 26-years old. Ironically, since I stayed in Boston, I've spent my entire life hanging out with his college friends.

HALLIE: Mine was a fix-up too. I was a junior at Barnard when I ran into an ex-boyfriend on the corner of Broadway and 116th Street. He asked how I was and I said "fine." In truth I was between men but this ex was an extremely odd duck and I didn't want to give him any ideas. He must have been far more perceptive than I gave him credit for, because a few hours later I got a call from his roommate inviting me to a college hockey game. I went and had a great time. Took me a lot longer than my husband to realize it was "the real thing." But 40+ years later I'm utterly convinced.

ROBERTA: Sorry to hear you lost your brother so young Jan--sounds like he was the best kind of friend! I met John at a singles tennis night at the racquet club in the next town. We got matched up for mixed doubles and had a good time. But when he called to ask for a movie date, I couldn't remember who he was. (I attribute that to being blinded by my infatuation with an inappropriate guy who was quite enamored of himself.) After about six months of playing doubles with John (as friends), I began to realize just how special he was. So I invited him to dinner one night. "Who's coming?" he asked. "You," I said. And we've been together ever since.

HANK: Aw, Roberta, that's so sweet.

RO: Well, I knew right away Bruce was the one. He took a little convincing though. To the tune of 13 years before we actually got married. He was the boss when we first met, and um, otherwise engaged. I left the company and got on with my life and then we hooked up again in - of all places - Las Vegas, where we were both attending a video convention. At a show filled with fading B actors, wrestlers and adult movie stars, we were two of the more normal people there. It was fate. Then we dated for 10 years. (Why rush into anything?)

HANK: I was at a signing the other night--talking about AIR TIME (on sale tomorrow, whoo hoo, stop by here then to hear more and WIN BOOKS!).

Anyway, in AIR TIME Charlotte McNally has to decide if she's found the real thing--both in her reporter life (tracking down the source of phony designer purses), and in love. (And in the dedication: flight attendants.)

A woman came up to me afterwards, and told the story of how she'd always always always known she wanted to be a flight attendant. She got the job, passed the tests, and boarded for her first flight. And sitting in seat whatever--turned out to be the man she later married. And they just celebrated their twenty-fifth.

You never know.
How about you all?

(A big week coming on Jungle Red: Tuesday, big contest! Wednesday, Megan Kelley Hall with the secrets of promotion. Thursday, Marilyn Brant on seeing mystery authors as others see us. And Friday, coolest of the cool Seth Harwood!)


  1. I met my to-be husband at a party in Cambridge thrown by some mutual friends, early in my first year in grad school. He was living with someone else at that point. That relationship lasted another two months; we've been married for 33 years (but it took a few years of convincing).

  2. Perfect timing on this post. Today's our 40th anniversary. Guess that means it 'took.'

    My hubby to be was the lab teaching assistant for a biology class I had to take to add a minor so I could get a teaching credential at UCLA (the LA school system worked on the premise that you needed a degree in the SUBJECT you were going to teach, and once you had that, you went for another year for the education stuff, something I still agree with). Anyway, there were only 3 females in his lab section, and the other two were already involved.

  3. I love these stories :).

    I met my husband almost 19 years ago. It was my birthday, and I was just out of college, living in a new city, a new state, and a friend took me out to dinner. She was a newlywed and in the process of trying to convince me to go out with one of her husband's single friends. I was hesitant...

    But she was a persuasive extravert and almost had me convinced when she spontaneously struck up a conversation with the 1 woman and 2 men sitting at the table next to ours. All of us, it turned out, were teachers. And when one of the guys left to make a phone call, my friend continued talking to the woman, leaving me and the other guy to chat.

    When they all finally left, I told her I would NOT be dating her husband's friend. And she said, "Yeah. He seemed more your type." And, yeah, he was. :)

    Congrats on the big release tomorrow, Hank!! Looking forward to visiting on Thursday!

  4. I was assistant manager at a software/gaming store. My manager brought in a friend to meet me -- little to my knowledge. He came in one night I was closing and we got to talking: turns out we graduated from the same high school the same year and didn't meet until 10 years later. I thought I knew everyone I graduated with but we were in completely separate worlds in a class of 500. That night a voice in my head kept saying "omg that's the man I'm going to marry." (he doesn't believe me about that) Good thing, too, because it took him forever to kiss me. I figured if we were going to be married he'd have to kiss me sometime so I waited him out. It will be 12 years next month.

  5. After extricating myself from a miserable marriage 7 years ago this month, I browsed for a while, running into a lot of liars, several losers, and one man with whom the volatile sparks finally outburned the romantic sparks (what do you expect from two double Scorpios?). Then, bingo: I met a tall man who made me laugh, has never been mean to me, and accepted my two teenage sons as part of the package. Going on 6 years now. Yay for online dating - we never would have run into each other otherwise.


  6. Marilyn! How cool to see you here! I was just adding this blog to those I follow on Blogger, and Hank's post caught my eye. I love this kind of story, and I had to laugh at Hank's "no make-up" revelations. I remember how nervous I was the first time I let my husband (then boyfriend) see me without makeup. My coloring is so pale I feel dead without it and that was a major make-or-break moment!

    My husband moved to the Chicago area from England when he was a teenager. He went to another school for a few months while his parents looked for a house, and he moved to my area at the end of our junior year of high school. Everyone knew I was a huge Beatle fan, so I quickly got the news that a long-haired English kid had transferred.

    I caught glimpses of him then, but we didn't actually meet until senior year. I was the editor-in-chief of the school paper (hey, I was the first "chief" so that counted for something!) and he was a reporter in the senior journalism class. I loved his snarky, John Lennon-ish humor -- that frequently got him in trouble. (We still laugh about a tennis headline he snuck in: Senior Girls Make Balls Bounce.) He was sort of dating one of my best friends and I had a steady boyfriend at a nearby high school, but we became good friends.

    By Christmas time I knew I was ready to break up with my boyfriend, who had moved to northern Wisconsin. We commuted back and forth by train, but we were growing apart in other ways, too. I dated a few other guys, but always seemed to end up talking about those dates with Marty.

    He started calling me, and we had long talks -- just as friends. I gradually realized I felt more than friendship for him but really worried about destroying what we had if I brought that up.

    On April 18, 1970 I went to watch his band practice and we took a break to play the new McCartney solo album. And thus began the rest of my life. We got married in October of 1971 but we still count April 18th as our "real" anniversary. And "Maybe I'm Amazed" is still our song.

    We were still 17 on April 18, 1970, but sometimes you just know.

  7. Rats. I meant to get to this last night but we were out at a fund raiser for a friend who has Lyme Disease and no medical insurance (and some folks claim the system doesn't need some help??)
    Anyway, I met John at his girlfriend's party. He offered to drive me home and never went back. In my defense I have to state that I didn't realize they were dating when I met him, and in his defense he'd been waiting to find the right time to finish the relationship.

  8. We met through a Chinese Astrology Yahoo group 10-1/2 years ago. A mutual, off-topic interest prompted private email contact which morphed overnight into daily emails, and within weeks to plans to meet.

    I liked the guy okay, but wasn't knocked off my feet, but we both felt that a power greater than us had pushed us together, saying, "you and you, you're supposed to hook up; figure it out."

    So three months later we moved to Hawaii together, still almost strangers making a leap of faith, and (at least on my part) with no expectation that it might last. I figured an impulsive move from NYC to Hawaii might be even more fun with company, and so what if we broke up two weeks after we got there.

    Six years later we married. Glad we both listened to our intuition on that one!

  9. I love this post...such great stories. Reminded me of how my parents met. They were twenty-somethings living in Manhattan. She was "secretary" to a Broadway producer; he was a stage manager and budding playwright. He came to a party at her house and was smitten, asked her to marry him on the spot. She said she'd give him her answer after she'd read one of his plays. He pursued her until she succumbed to his considerable charm. And together they ended up writing a successful Broadway play about having their first baby in the depths of the Depression.

  10. And you know what's also wonderful?That we can know a "before" and an after. We can pinpoint the moment in time--where our lives utterly changed, you know?

    We came to a door, and walked thorugh. And we know when it happened.

    Ah, it just seems so interesting.

  11. Congrats on Airtime Hank!

    I think a lot of these stories would make excellent scenes. Can we have a ruling on stealing someone else's You never Know Day material?

  12. Yeah, Jan, I agree! They are so compelling, and so unique, you know?

    (And thanks, yes, AIR TIME tomorrow! And here at Jungle Red tomorrow--we're giving away..loot!)