Monday, February 13, 2017

How Did You Meet Your Mate?

Jenn McKinlay

Since it's the week of  love, flowers, goopy cards, CHOCOLATE (priorities, Reds), etc., I thought I'd have the Reds share how they met their partners. Was it love at first sight? Were you friends first? Did you meet online? Come on, tell all! And if you're single and looking, take notes.

JENN: I'll kick it off by going first. Hub and I met in a library. Not kidding! We were both Gen-X slackers working as part-time librarians as we pursued our dreams of writing (me) and music (him). I was engaged to another fella and he was living with a gal so while we worked in the same building, in different departments, and saw each other in passing, we never spoke - FOR FIVE YEARS! Around the time we were both turning thirty, he and the gal split up and the would-be groom and I called it quits. Thirty can be quite the life re-evaluator. After letting me wallow for a few months, my girlfriend Patti, worried that I was having a breakdown, showed up at my apartment to drag me out to see this band that a guy from work was in. I refused to go, seriously, I left claw marks on my doorjamb but she's pretty strong for a librarian, and she muscled me into her car. Prepared for the worst, I watched over the rim of my frothy beer as Hub took the stage with his band the Cartwheels. OMG! The dude who never talked (I used to call him "aloof boy" in my head) was suddenly funny, charming, and, man, he could sing and play guitar! His smile about killed me. We became friends (okay, there may have been some light stalking on my part) and hung out for several months before we finally became a thing. Afterwards, I found out he'd had a crush on me for years and when we got married and his band played, he sang a song he'd written called Butterflies and said, "I wrote this song a few years ago for a girl I had a crush on and today she became my wife."

HALLIE: Oh Jenn, that is the sweetest story ever! And the librarian came to the wedding?

JENN: Yes, she did. She's still a dear friend and in a turnabout is fair play manuever, I'm the one who pushed her (hard shove to the back) into a relationship with the man who is now her husband.

HALLIE: A generation earlier, on another planet perhaps, I was a junior in college and ran into an old boyfriend on Broadway. A very weird old boyfriend. He fixed me up with one of his roommates. I was very wary of going because the old boyfriend was exceptionally weird. But I was on the rebound (from yet another unsuitable match) and so I went... to a hockey game at Madison Square Garden with a physics graduate student whom I would marry eighteen months later. NOT love at first sight. But he grew on me.  In May we'll celebrate 48 years.

JENN: 48 years, Hallie? That is fantastic!

HANK: Absolutely by chance.  I was about six months out of a terrible relationship, and a pal asked me to go with her for a week to share a house in Nantucket. It would just be her, me, another couple, the couple's kids and their nanny.  I brought my bathing suit, and tennis racket,  and a million books--but no make up. I mean--what would happen?  When we arrived at the house, turned out the couple had invited a guy named Jonathan. I took one look at him and thought--this is the coolest man I have ever seen. Get me to the drugstore! But I did not run off to buy make-up, figuring--this is how I look, get used to it.  That was August 18, 1995.  We have not been apart since that day.

JENN: Aw...I love the no make-up. With that self-confidence, of course, he fell for you.

LUCY: I met my 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. He remembered my short red tennis skirt and a big smile. I remembered...not much. So when he called to ask for a movie date, I couldn't for the life of me remember who he was and I turned him down. (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) and another couple, 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. I think he's forgiven me for that first dreadful gaffe...

JENN: What is it about the inappropriate ones, Lucy? 

RHYS: I have to confess that I met my John (how many Johns and Jonathans do we have?) at his girlfriend's party. I must qualify this by saying that I didn't know she was his girlfriend at the time. I was newly arrived in Sydney, Australia and sharing a house with a couple of other girls. They took me along to a party they were attending. I started talking to this very good-looking Englishman (who was wearing a blazer and tie. So weird in sunny Sydney). Polite conversation. He offered to drive me home. I let him. He invited me out a few days later and we walked along a beach and talked. Certainly no spark but he was an interesting man. We went out to a couple of meals, and then... then I got stomach flu. He came round to see me as I was recovering and looked about as bad as anyone can look after a couple of days of vomiting. He made me scrambled egg, sat on the edge of my bed, and fed it to me. My heart melted!

I have to add that in fifty years of marriage he has never once sat on the edge of my bed and fed me anything!

JENN: Fifty years, Rhys? I'm in awe. Congratulations!

Doug and I first met in high school.  We didn't attend the same school, but we had mutual friends.  This was a time when teenagers hung out in groups (do kids still do that?) even when they were dating someone in particular.  We were both involved with others (as much as you can be at sixteen!), but we liked each other as friends.  A few years later we reconnected and really hit it off.  It was over a Christmas break from college, and I remember that he invited me to a New Year's Eve party at his house, which was party central in those days.  He'd cleverly instituted a semi-formal dress code for the event to separate the invited from the drop-ins, and I vividly remember the dress I had on that night, a sleeveless black Liz Claiborne with large, crystal-like buttons.  We've been together ever since, and although it took us time to meander to the altar, I knew he was the one from the start.  My favorite part of our origin story?  The ex-girlfriend who told him shortly after that New Year's Eve, "It will never last with her!"  HA!!

JENN: Yes, I remember the dating in packs thing -- it was very John Hughes. And who doesn't love a bitter ex-girlfriend?  Ha, indeed!

JULIA: I was at a Graduate Student Union dance at GWU, where I was in the master's program for Museum Studies. The band they had hired was horrible - I suspected it was someone's untalented kid brother's garage band. I was chatting with a guy here and there, but mostly biding my time - I had only come because my housemate didn't want to go alone.

This red-headed guy came up and started talking, and he was interesting and smart, and then we made the introductions: "I'm Julia Spencer-Fleming." "I'm Ross Hugo-Vidal." We stared at each other, and then, as one, exclaimed, "You have a hyphen!" 

The challenge of going through life with a double-barrelled name may be a slender reed upon which to rest a relationship, but this May will be our 30th anniversary, so we've obviously found a few more things in common as we went along.

DEBS: Would you believe that Rick and I were next door
neighbors? He and his mom and younger siblings moved in when he was twelve and I was FIFTEEN.  I just thought of the whole bunch as the blond kids next door. Fast forward about four years. I was sitting out on the curb one hot August night with a girlfriend when he drove up on his motorbike, then walked over and took off his helmet. Can you say "love at first sight" along with "cradle robbing?" We went out off and on for about seven years. In one of the "offs", he introduced me to my Scottish ex, never thinking I would go off to Scotland to marry the guy... Fast forward another good few years, and my divorce from Scottish ex. Short version--we got back together, and will be married twenty-three years in May. His mom and sis still live next door to the house I grew up in.

Were we cute babies, or what? 

JENN: Debs, that is the best! I even fanned myself a bit at the motorcycle part. You two were totes adorbs!

So, give us the scoop, Reds, how did you meet your mate? And if you're single, do you want to find a partner or are you happiest flying solo? Because believe me, there are days... 


  1. I met John met in California at a Civil Air Patrol squadron meeting. I had a new teaching job in a local school and a fellow teacher had invited me to go to the meeting with her. After the meeting, a group of us went to a nearby restaurant for breakfast and I asked John if I could have the Aerospace Education Officer position in the squadron if I joined Civil Air Patrol. John said yes [mostly, I suspect, because no one else wanted the job . . . something I never understood.]
    But I took him at his word, joined up and became the Aerospace Education Officer. For many years afterward, folks used to tease me about marrying the squadron commander in order to keep that assignment as the Aerospace Education Officer . . . .

  2. These stories are all so adorable. Thanks for sharing.

  3. My wonderful wife, Judy, and I were in the same high school graduating class of some 650+ students. But we never met during high school despite the fact that my best friend took a dance class with her and her best friend lived about 2 blocks away from me. We met 8 years after high school when ... her brother married my sister! We started dating right after their wedding and less than 8 months later, we were married. We celebrated out 24th anniversary last month.

  4. Wow--Such great stories! That picture is of us in Paris, on our honeymoon, so many years ago! But we do not celebrate the anniversary of the day we met, we celebrate the anniversary of the day before we met, as "you never know day."

  5. Joan, that's a great story--you were so innocent and determined!

    Greg, it must be so much fun to have married family members (assuming you like the family LOL). John and I keep saying we never would have hit it off if we'd met earlier--timing is everything!

  6. Joan - I love that! You just never know where you'll meet someone.

    Greg - My former next door neighbors (they moved - why as a myster writer do I always feel the need to explain why people depart? - occupational hazard) were like you - her sister married his brother. I thought it was unusual but maybe not!

  7. We met on a double date with other people at Harry Chapin concert at Cornell University. Turned out we also lived in the same dorm! We've been married for 37 years.

  8. I love these stories, and particularly the pictures! Julia, sure you can't come up with one from those early days with Mr. Redhead?

    Hugh is my happy post-divorce story. We met on Seriously. He only lived a few towns away but we never would have crossed paths. In my profile I had specified someone 5'10" or taller because I didn't want anyone remotely like my ex (as if height could make or break a deal, but it was my choice). He had put 5'3" as his minimum, because his female friend who helped him set up his profile had said, "You don't want to date a midget, do you?" I pinged him anyway (he's 6'1" and I am a foot shorter). We had our first date 13 years ago tomorrow - yes, on Valentine's Day! Turns out dating a midget wasn't so bad, after all. ;^)

  9. Julia, did you and Ross ever consider giving your kids double-hyphenated last names??! (Probably not, huh?)

    Deb Romano

  10. Margo - Harry Chapin - how could you not fall in love?

    Edith - I love that! Sometimes you have to ignore the criteria!

  11. Hank, Civil Air Patrol is the civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force.

  12. Ann in Rochester, persistantFebruary 13, 2017 at 8:57 AM

    What great stories!

    Back in the early days of the internet I made a bunch of on-line friends, all of whom later became real-time friends. This was much different than Facebook of today.

    I was living in San Francisco, so a group of the above friends decided we would have a summit meeting. Of course I had the destination residence because who doesn't want to come to SF.

    So this was all set up, but as the time grew closer, the incipient guests started bagging the trip. Julie was the only one who didn't. The visit was horribly inconvenient as my boss was in town, we were in the midst of getting six hospices Medicare and Medi-Cal certified and licensed, and I was at a meeting in Santa Rosa on the day of arrival. My daughter picked Julie up from SFO and deposited her in my apartment. I had visions of arriving at home and finding she had back a U Haul up to the door and stolen the contents!

    However, we hit it off immediately, spent the next day at the mud baths in Calistoga, and within six months we rented a house, imported her two cats to be with my three, and that's how it all began. We celebrate will 21 years in June.

    Which is about how much younger she is than I, 18 years to be exact. I call her my child bride. Don't point and laugh. :)

  13. Ann: "imported her two cats to be with my three" -- there's got to be a story to that. Love these tales. As I'm reading these I hear that twang and the song "Love is Strange" is running through my head (Mickey & Sylvia 1956 ... I know, I'm dating myself.)

  14. Ann in Rochester, persistantFebruary 13, 2017 at 9:21 AM

    Hallie thanks a lot. Now I've got an earworm. xox

  15. What fun stories!!!

    After two practice husbands, I was pretty sure I wasn't very good at marriage and decided to just give it up. I was a very happy, quite content Atlanta single gal for almost 11 years when I met Donald. We both worked at Georgia Tech and my office was invited to participate in a Chili Cook-off the Georgia Tech Physical Plant was sponsoring. Don worked at the Physical Plant and a mutual friend introduced us. Our chili won first place and I think Donald thought that meant I could cook. We became friends who just chatted from time to time for about a year before we started dating. Thirty plus years later I'd have to say I've gotten the hang of this whole marriage thing.

  16. After a series of personal catastrophes, I literally came back home to regroup--meaning to get my feet under me, then head out to someplace new--and making time to look for someone to share my life with was part of the plan. Ha! Best laid plans, right? At home I found a younger brother still reeling from our shared losses (both parents' died unexpectedly within three months' of each other)and a painful divorce--he had two sons--6 weeks old and 1 year old--and I couldn't walk away to leave them to be raised by a sitter.

    Fast forward 18 years' later, I'm still here with 'my' boys; it was amazing how many guys took one look at a car with two carseats in the back and vanished like smoke on the wind. But I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I have a close circle of family and friends, varied interests, work I love--and lots and lots of great books to read!

  17. Jenn, what a cute story. And congrats to all the Reds on longevity!

    When I was a junior in college (academically a senior, long story) I had a crush on a classmate, but he was...slow. We went on summer break without anything happening. That year, I took a summer graduate class, three weeks long, in children's literature and struck up a friendship with a girl in the class.

    At the beginning of week 3, she shoved a picture in front of my face and said, "Do you think this guy is good-looking?" It was a picture of Paul from high school - shaggy red hair, big glasses and an enormous late 70s mustache. But behind all that, he was pretty good looking and I said so. "I think you two would be perfect together," she said.

    I balked. I'd been set up in high school and it had not ended well. Set up on a blind date? Forget it. Except I hadn't had a date in a couple years. The guy from college had returned our junior year and he didn't want to date me. What if he did it again? I could be dateless forever. But he was 30, I was 20. "You have to tell him how old I am" was a condition.

    At the end of the week, the girl invited me to see Shakespeare in the Park (Macbeth) with a group. Sure, why not. But then she wound up in the hospital. I wasn't going to go because I didn't know any of the other people, but another woman called and I decided to go. Straight from work, a pool store where I'd been doing inventory in the garage so I was wearing a T-shirt, and had a smudge on my cheek. Got to the park and this unknown woman introduces me to the group. "And this is Paul." Fantastic. I smoothed my hair and played it cool.

    He walked me to my car. "Can I call you?" I told him I was going on vacation and I'd be back in a week. He called. Twenty-two years later (20 married)...

    Oh, one of our first "dates" was sitting in his room discussing his book collection and books in general. And he didn't learn I was 20 until I joined his softball team at a bar after a game and declined to order a beer because I wasn't "legal."

  18. What great stories. And you were all so cute! (Except for Hank and Jonathan, who look like movie stars...)

  19. I was over 30 and single (egad!) and my parents despaired of me ever getting married (I have 4 sisters, 3 of whom had already gotten married and started families). I had moved back to Dallas from D.C. where I had graduated from GWU and was working for a congressman, to work with my Dad in the oil business. My Mom's comment? "You will never meet eligible men in your Dad's building -- they are all too old!" That was mostly true, but I told her that I was there to work, not to date. And the building was great - everyone was in the oil business and knew everyone else, and it was like a great big family.

    Fast forward a few years, and I am standing in the doorway of a friend's office on the same floor talking, and had basically just said, "All men are pigs!" (after a horrible breakup) and a really great looking guy walked by and said, "Yes, we are." I was speechless for once in my life. Turns out he had started working with his retired Dad to get his office up and running, and was just going to be there a few months. The whole building turned into matchmakers -- the first "date" being lunch with 10 other people all watching us anxiously to see if we clicked. Needless to say, we didn't say a word to each other. But then a few days later, he asked me out for drinks after work, and, that was all it took.

    Bless his heart, he was so supervised on our floor -- he worked for his Dad, his Mom answered the phones, he had his Father-in-Law and wife down the hall. No wonder started playing a lot more golf and he soon became a scratch golfer.

    A funny story, he was on the elevator with a man he had never seen before, and the man said, "So, I hear you're marrying Celia," and Bob told him yes, and the man said, "If you ever hurt her, I'll kill you." Bob said "yes sir," but didn't run. Turns out the man was a crusty,(but a sweetheart), ex-marine friend of my Dad's meeting him for lunch.

    We've been married 23 years!

  20. Wow, what fantastic stories everyone has this Valentine's Eve! I love them.

    I join Deb in the cradle robber camp, with a slight twist: I met my darling while I was on a date with his older brother. Thankfully, there was never even a hint of a spark there—my now brother-in-law was a friend and that was the end of it, but I was pretty much instantly attracted to this lanky Kurt Cobain lookalike (all my friends found this hilarious, because the long-haired grunge guy was so not my type) who was rebuilding a computer over in the corner and didn't look up except to smile and say hello. Trouble was, so was one of my best girlfriends, and she technically saw Justin first. She begged me to set her up with him, and I dutifully enlisted his brother to help me do just that. Matt invited me over on a Friday night and conveniently excused himself when Justin came in from work so I could reel off my friend's virtues and talk him into asking her out. Except by the end of the conversation, he looked at me and said "I know what you're up to, and I appreciate the effort, but I'm not interested in her. Would you like to go to a movie sometime?" Twenty-two years and three kids later, he's still my favorite movie watching partner.

  21. Ann, what a cataclysmic event! Sorry, sorry, I couldn't resist the pun!
    Delightful story and twenty one years is impressive.

  22. Kaye - I love your chili origin story and clearly the third time is a charm for you :)
    Your comment that Don thought you could cook made me snort. Thanks for that!

  23. FChurch - I think you made the right choice. If I had gotten published before I met the Hub, I never would have married him and I never would have had my hooligans, Marriage and kids was not really on my radar. And, man, my life would have been so boring without my three dudes. Sometimes the Universe knows what you need even when you don't.

  24. I love these stories, They give me hope that I will meet the right fellow for me,

  25. Mary, MacBeth is a pretty cool stepping off point. What could possibly go wrong? I'm glad nothing did.

    Celia, I can't believe he didn't run - talk about chaperone central. Obviously, he's a keeper.

    LynDee, Wow! That's a great story - so glad the older brother was more friend material. But how did the best friend take it when your attempt at a fix up didn't work? The writer in me must know.

  26. Great idea for a blog post. And I met my husband and partner of forty plus years in a bookstore. Salters. On the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I worked as a cashier and he was taking a year off from college, something commonly known now as a gap year, and working in the basement to support himself. Glamorous, right? A writer finding love in a bookstore, it's almost, dare I say, a cliche.

  27. I'm enjoying all these stories!

    At the end of my first year of grad school at Ohio State, we requested assistantships for next year. For some reason, at the last minute I changed my request from south campus to north. I still couldn't tell you why. When I returned in the fall, I met the new graduate assistants from the rest of north campus, including the one from the next building over, who was both beautiful AND smart. We've been married for 38 years.

  28. When I was 19, I went out to a nightclub with some of my friends (all girls). We were hanging out, having fun and then after a while, we decided to dare each other to go and ask strangers to dance. Being the outgoing show off that I am, I offered to go first. They picked out the guy I was to approach and off I went. I got to the table and the target of my dare had stood up and gone to the bar. I was left standing there feeling silly. To save face, I asked the other guy at the table to dance. He was kind of cute, so why not. We danced together for the rest of the night, we were married 9 months later and have been together for 33 years this May. Having had a chance to meet and talk to the other guy (my husband's roommate), I can honestly say I made the best choice that night. I am the luckiest woman in the world. I also made it possible for our son to brag to his friends "My Mom picked my Dad up in a bar!".

  29. Joan, my youngest daughter was in Civil Air Patrol, leaving at the rank of Second Lieutenant with the General Billy Mitchell Award. She went through all the stages of getting accepted into the Air Force Academy, until The Citadel offered her a full, four-year academic scholarship. CAP is such a great organization, and after 9/11 it became part of the Homeland Security program.

    I'd been married before, and had a sore heart from that divorce, and from breaking up with a fiance, as well. So I was playing the field pretty hard, but guarding my heart from deep involvement. I met some friends after work for our regular Friday night drink and they were talking to this very cute guy named Steve. The friends wanted to talk to each other, which left me awkwardly stuck with the new guy, but he was very sweet, and so we did the "interview" talk. When I asked him what he did he said he was a "naturalist". I had no clue what that was, maybe a nudist? But I didn't bother to pursue that line of questioning.

    The friend had been having parties on a boat on the Ohio all summer (this was August), and hadn't invited me to one of them, so I turned to him and said, "So, when is your next party you aren't inviting me to?" Smart ass, see. He said, "Next Thursday, to watch the fireworks" (BIG deal here in Cincinnati, and this was the second one). "Why don't you and Steve come?" I balked, but Steve turned to me, and very graciously said, "I'd really like to take you. Will you go?" And that was that. He was so, so nice.

    The date was six days off, and he called me every day, to see if we could go out another time before the fireworks, but I was booked with the aforesaid field. The day after our date, he left for a six-week trip taking nature photos (he was really a wildlife photographer, not a nudist), and he had already planned to take another woman for the first week. When he came back he called, and we started going out from then, on and off, for the next 3 1/2 years. Our 35th wedding anniversary is in a couple of weeks.

    The very weird thing about our meeting is that Steve was a widower, whose wife of a mere 10 weeks (after an eight-year relationship) had died in a car accident two years before I met him. She moved out of Unit 6 in my apartment building to marry Steve the very weekend I moved into Unit 7 down the hall. When I was moving in I went down to the trash cans and found some items on top of one that I decided would work nicely in my own apartment, including a pair of pheasant feathers. Years later I would realize those feathers (and the other two small things) were Steve's first wife's. Remember, I wouldn't meet him for two more years.

    And yes, I DO need to put this in a book!

  30. Debs, I'm loving your green dress in your picture, and it looks like Rick is wearing a double breasted lab coat?! Hallie, is your husband wearing his bar mitzvah suit?

    I love these wonderful stories, and I also love the acknowledgement that it can take false starts and practice to find the right mate. Hank is so right; you never know!

  31. Naomi - much like a writer finding love in a library! Kind of perfect.

    Jim - That switch in locations sounds like it was fate.

    J Cochran - Very considerate of you to give your son something to brag about. LOL.

  32. Karen - that is a great story, but I've got to tell you the ending gave me shivers. Yes, definitely book worthy.

  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

  34. Karen, Jenn beat me to it. I love your story and the ending gave me goose bumps. That definitely should go in a book.

    Ingrid, I have no idea what we were dressed up for, or where Rick got the double-breasted jacket. Maybe he will remember. I did like the green dress, though, and I had a bikini in the same color. Not posting a photo of that:-)

    February 13, 2017 at 11:39 AM Delete

  35. Celia--having been married to two former Marines, I can tell you that "once a Marine always a Marine" is how they refer to themselves.

    I met my first husband a few months before graduating from high school. He was back from Viet Nam and spending some time with his uncle. I lost him four years later in an industrial accident. Spouse #2 I met in Texas, where I'd moved and was going to college. After 22 years he decided he needed to start running around. Booted his butt out the door. With all the kids gone, I moved back to Arizona. Met spouse #3 (& last one)on a singles website. I was there for fun, hoping to find a dancing partner, but romance bloomed (cliched, I know) Once again I fell for a former Marine. He was living in Pennsylvania and flew out to meet me in person after many hours spent chatting. We've been married for 16 years now.

    Yes, life is stranger than fiction.

  36. Bib-li-o-phile, that's the whole point of You Never Know Day! You never know what wonderful person is right around the next corner!

    And Kaye, the old chili scheme. Shhhhh... (Someday I'll tell the pasta primavera story...we could have a blog about food successes and failures. I'll do it nexd wait,everyone! Today we'll stick to how'd you meet. But start thinking!)

  37. ANd aw, Debs, that's so sweet of you. But we were 46 and 56. So "cute" is long gone...xoxoo

  38. Karen,
    So glad to hear that your daughter had a positive experience as a cadet in Civil Air Patrol. Our girls grew up in Civil Air Patrol and were cadets, too . . . the oldest daughter graduated from the Air Force Academy.

  39. Our first date was a blind date. We were married eight months later and celebrated our 35th anniversary last December.

  40. Karen in Ohio your story gave me goosebumps. You still have the feathers?

  41. I have really enjoyed all these stories! I guess we're all a sucker for a good romance.

    I was still married to husband number one when I met the keeper, though that marriage was on life support already. I had just graduated with a master's degree in Economics and followed my husband on a move for his work. Through a series of strange connections, I ended up taking a job as a copywriter at a radio station. (Because that's what one does with an MS in Economics, right?) Bob was the morning on-air talent at the station. We worked side by side for at least six months before even becoming friends. Then we became good friends, so much so that he came and had Easter dinner at my house with my husband and me. But when I finally pulled the plug on the marriage in late June, he invited me to hang out with him over the 4th of July weekend. That was 1985, and basically, we've been together ever since. This September marks 30 years of marriage.

  42. Joan, that's fantastic. I was very impressed with the organization, especially when I realized my daughter could have entered the Academy as an officer.

    Yes, Hallie. Prized possessions.

  43. This is a story I have a grand time with because it's got so many memorable, 1980s John Hughes movie moments despite us being in our 20s when we met ...

    I met my husband, Eric, June 17, 1994. I know this date exactly and always will because it's a part of American-entertainment-sports-murder history as the day OJ took his drive in the white Bronco. Our mutual friend (MF) was having a get-together, a regular occurrence, and my now husband was one of his newer friends. The OJ story was a hot topic, understandably, and when the low-speed chase hit the news cycle the gathering was in full-swing here on the east coast.

    We were the only two people not really interested in the chase itself but when OJ pulled back into this driveway and got out we both said, "He did it." (Caveat: I have no proof other than what I am about to relate but it's a point that's been made over and over and it makes sense to dog people). Everyone turned to us, me on one end of the couch and he in the chair just to the right of me. Instantly people were talking over each other insisting we explain how we suddenly "knew" he was guilty.

    And the answer was the dog's reaction to him. we took turns finishing each others' sentences as we explained that breed of dog and the reactions you could expect from it and how the behavior was odd. (Later, we learned even more about the dog and are still both convinced of OJ's guilt.)

    We hung out at the regular parties and he was someone I consistently enjoyed talking to but I had sworn off me after a particularly bad breakup a few months before I met him. Thanksgiving weekend 1995 came around and he wasn't at the usual Saturday hangout. And I missed him. More than a woman who'd sworn off men should.

    I sat next to MF and started to babble a bit, asking where he was, what was going on, would he be cool with me asking Eric out. He laughed and hollered out, "Who had November?" The had a pool going on when we would figure it out and finally start dating.

    We had our first date about a week later. It was like starting on the 15th date. Two and a half years later we got married. We'd planned to get married about 6 months earlier than we did because his brother surprised us by meeting someone about the same time we started dating and they announced they were getting married right before we were going to spring the news and planned a late October wedding so we put ours off.

    We celebrate our 19th anniversary the weekend after Malice.

  44. Aimee, I love that story! Dogs are excellent judges of character.

    Miss Kaye, you are too adorable. I have to ask, though: do you still make the chili sometimes? :)

    Jenn, the rest of that story is that I looked at him and said "I don't know," and went home and called my friend and asked her about it. She told me to go, and even offered to find a date and drive us (I didn't have a car and J was six months shy of having a license). She seemed totally fine for about two months. Then she got mad at me over a teeny little thing and fireworks over how I "stole her boyfriend" ensued. By that time I was falling for him and told her I'd asked and she should've said something months ago if it bothered her, but I wasn't dumping him because she finally told me she was mad that far after the fact. Things were weird for a few weeks and then she met another guy and everything was fine. She's married with kids now, too, and we're still friends. :)

  45. LynDee - I KNEW there was more to it. Ha! I am glad that she found someone and you remained friends. I do like all of my loose ends to be tied up.

  46. Aimee - I can totally see this. It has your personality all over it. And, yes, very John Hughes. I'm not sure if I love the "he did it" dog part or the "who had November" one more. It's all just so good.

    Diane - AZ? Hi! Are you still here? Delighted you booted the first one out and leveled up to the real deal.

    Bibliophile - It's always when you stop looking. Like, Hank, go without makeup, accept all invitations to group activities, and you'll likely trip right over him.

    Susan- I love that you ended up working with words with an economics degree and also that you met the keeper at a radio station. Fabulous.

  47. Oops - Jungle Red commenting is me, Jenn. I published tomorrow's blog and forgot to log out. Probably, I should go work now - or nap.

  48. I met my future husband on a blind date when we were freshmen at UT in Austin, fall of 1967. Back then people set you up or asked for volunteers for blind dates because no one wanted to go to the football games alone! The girl next door to me in the dorm needed one more girl. A guy in her math class asked her to the game and then asked her to find dates for his two roommates. I was "assigned" to Frank. She and her roomie had Tom and Don. Frank called and we yakked and hit it off. We met later in the week and still hit it off. We wound up going to the game alone as the girls broke their dates with his roomies. I don't remember why; they were all nice kids. Fast forward. We dated all that fall. He wasn't ready to buckle down and study. He joined the army. I wrote to him. He went to Vietnam in the spring of 69 and returned in September. He wasn't good at dodging bullets, shrapnel, etc. but he was damned good at surviving. He returned to school for the spring semester and we slowly broke up. We were both dealing with personal demons. I went home to New Orleans for the summer and wound up staying to finish college. My youngest sister was gravely ill and it made things easier on my family to be there. I got my act together and got some confidence back. After going through fall, spring, and summer semesters I took a little break and went to Houston to visit an old girlfriend from when I lived there. For the pure evil spite of it I decided to give Frank a call to see if he happened to be home between semesters too. I had loaned him a math textbook and requested its return. I hoped to give him a scare; he'd had a clinging ex-girlfriend who had come up to Austin when we were dating and he sweated bullets the whole time she was there. She was known as Bonnie Plague. I hoped to provoke a similar reaction but it backfired. He was so happy to hear from me that he stuck like glue. He'd pick me up and drag me along on errands he was running for his mother and then we'd go do something date-like. I went back home, he kept in touch. A couple of months later he stopped in N.O. on his way home from a family funeral in Mississippi. He asked me to marry him while we were in Jackson Square one evening. I told him I'd think about it and let him know. I let him know a week later. We married in August of 1972 and we'll have completed 45 years of married life this year.

  49. So many May brides! On May 30 Donald and I will celebrate 48 years. We met in New Haven, two college freshmen, on January 10, 1965. Albertus Magnus College (my school) was having a Sunday afternoon "tea dance" mixer. It was snowing pretty hard. I was still in my church clothes, studying for my exams, when my roommate pushed me to go. Meanwhile, Donald, at Yale, was pushed by a friend to go to Albertus (his mother had studied there and we were all Catholic).

    Donna and I sat on a sofa -- there were records for entertainment, and no tea -- just coffee. I remember vividly the two guys pushing through the door, covered in snow, especially the tall one.

    It had been a very dull party and we were ready to leave, but then it got more interesting. Donna said, "Let's go over to those guys." I said, "If you do the talking."

    We did. She did. She had her eye on the tall one. The other guy asked her to dance, leaving me and Donald standing there. He said, "Want to dance?"

    Our first date was the following Saturday night. And, that was pretty much it! (Yes, we were 18.)


  50. LynDee - I do! Not often 'cause it is very labor intensive, but really really really good!

    Aren't these stories fun?!

  51. These stories are so interesting! The chance meeting where you didn't want to go somewhere, but you tagged along anyway. Fate at its best.

    So, I was in my last semester of college and pretty well resigned to not meeting the love of life there. I had dated, but nothing serious. I was at the education building meeting about student teacher assignments before classes got underway that January of 1976, and I ran into a couple of friends there. One of the girls and I decided to head over to the student union, and the third girl wanted us to wait on her, as she had more to take care of with her advisor. I really didn't want to wait and started to tell her just to meet us when she finished. But, fate had a plan for me, and I waited for her. On the way to the student union, we passed by the ROTC building, where my future husband happened to look out the window then. Turns out he knew the girl I waited on and asked her later that day who the girl in the maroon coat was. She gave him my number and she told me he would call at a certain time. I wasn't much excited and arrived back at my apartment after the appointed time. We didn't have cell phones then. Fate was certainly dealing with an uncooperative girl in me, but Philip called back and we went on our first date the next night. I liked him. He was very cute and attentive, but it was a few weeks before Cupid's arrow pierced my heart but good. I met him at the ROTC shooting range (he was one of the star rifle shooters at University of Kentucky), and when I went in and my eyes found him in his leather shooting jacket, I felt that joyful stab of love that said this is the one. We joke that it was really my love of fine leather that sealed the deal. Eight months later we married, and last October we celebrated our 40th anniversary.

    Relating my story of meeting my mate and thinking about the longevity of our time together, brings me to a song I posted on FB last night when I'd heard that Al Jareau had died. It's called After All, and the line "After all, I will be the one to hold you" is si special to me and probably others who have been married for a long time. In 40 years, you go through a lot together, good and bad, but that I will be the one to hold my husband after all the working through of life brings me much joy.

    And, Aimee, I want to hear more about the dog and O.J.

  52. I LOVE these stories!!!
    Let's skip the first husband and go right to the second. I wrote a poem about it:

    (excerpt)It was the ‘Eighties at a grouphouse bash,
    Down the block from the old Minton stables,
    a shambles, deserted, derelict,
    gentrification was a long ways off then.

    We talked about other Catholic fathers
    Our Protestant mothers, our exes.
    You said you grew up on an island.
    I told you my hometown was a city
    Of dying steel mills, railroads....

  53. I met my husband at a haunted house he was working in not long before Halloween. He was Michael Myers (I have a thing for tall, dark mysterious) lol. We went with a group to another haunted house a few days after Halloween and started talking then. We were married December 18 of that year and it's been 18 years now.

  54. PatD - Texas and football sounds like the perfect backdrop for falling in love. I absolutely adore the fact that you told him you'd think about it.

    Denise Ann - New Haven - best pizza in the world! I went to SCSU. Glad you bagged the tall one.

    Kathy - Your story really put fate to the test.

    Lynne - Nice poem excerpt! You set a very detailed scene in precise words. Love it.

    Alisha - I have never thought of Halloween as romantic - clearly, an oversight.

  55. Blind date. I worked with wife and he worked with her husband. We have been married 40 years. The couple are divorced. They were our maid of honor and best man, of course.

  56. Barbara - Nice that you two had staying power!

  57. The story of how my husband and I met was just published recently.

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  59. A very stereotyped NY story - we met working on a political campaign. He had just had a painful breakup and a friend convinced him to volunteer to meet girls ( I learned later). We kind of circled around each other in an obvious way for awhile. I finally invited him for dinner and he realized he had to ask me out. It was on and off and confusing for awhile but when we told our friends we were getting married, everyone said, "Of course you are." 43 years, 2 daughters, 3 grandkids later.I guess it worked out.

    February 14, 2017 at 2:21 PM Delete

  60. I'm single and it is likely for the best (until I die alone and not get found until 3 years later but that's another story that musician Steven Wilson can write an album about.)

    The two times I tried ended in such a bad fashion (and not my fault surprisingly) that they are referred to now as "The Disaster" and "The Aftershock".

    I'm basically retired from the companionship game now.