You planned to go fishing with your Dad in the morning of this day. Since it was so late when you got home, from our first date, you decided to just stay up. You were worried you’d oversleep your 4:00 a.m. time that you had set with your Dad. You often talked about your fishing trips with your Dad. They were a bonding time for you all as your childhood with him was not ideal. After your fishing trip, you slept to catch up from the night before.
When you woke up, you called me to ask for a second date – the first, only, and last time you officially asked me for a date. I always thought that was a special part of our relationship. It spoke to the “love at first sight” that our love story is. We spoke of that often over the years and both agreed that we didn’t truly believe in love at first sight, but we somehow knew from almost the very beginning that were destined to be.
You picked me up at 6:00 just as you had the night before. That I remember for sure, but we often tried to recall what we actually did or where we went. We decided that we probably went out to eat, but that wasn’t the important thing about the night. The important thing is that we became a couple that night. We agreed that you would pick me up in the morning so that we could spend as much time together as possible as you were going back to the ship on Monday. That meant that you’d have to leave on Sunday.
After this date, we were pretty much inseparable. We spent as much together as we possibly could.
We were a bit late for the showing we had planned to see. I always thought it sweet of you that you didn’t say anything about me running late. The next showing didn’t begin for a couple hours. Jim and his girlfriend decided to go off shopping on their own and meet us at the theatre when the movie started. So, we began walking around the mall. You noticed a Putt-Putt golf place in the mall and suggested we play.
As we were golfing, you noticed that my jeans had my name as if I was the designer on the my back pocket and commented on it. I thought it pretty brazen of you to admit right out that you were staring at my butt, but I was actually flattered. I explained that I thought it was silly for people to be wearing other people’s names and paying extra for it at that, so I had my own name sewn in. You thought that was hilarious at the time and continued to. This was one of your favorite stories through the years.
After we finished Putt-Putt, there was still time before the movies. We went to Baskin Robbins. I ordered a Diet Coke and you got a double dip cone – Rocky Road and Pralines and Cream, which I would learn later was your favorite. You told me that you were on a diet about a year ago and lost 100 pounds. When we finished our ice cream and coke, we headed back to the theatre.
In the movies, you selected a row about half-way down and allowed Jim and Carla and me to go in first. So, that was how were seated with you to my right. At the fight scene, I whispered that Rocky won and explained that my little brother had already seen the movie. At the romantic scene with Adrian, you leaned down and kissed me – our first kiss.
After the movies, we dropped Jim and his girlfriend off at her house then you drove me home. You walked me to the door, and I invited you in. We had gone to the 9:00 move, so it was almost midnight by now. We sat on the couch in my parent’s living room and talked (and kissed) for almost two hours. It was close to 2:00 a.m. when you went back to get Jim. He was sitting outside, because it was long past curfew. He was not happy. (Reminds me of the Snow White dwarf joke that you loved to tell.)
And, that was the beginning.
As part of my healing, I am writing our love story. I’m writing it out in my own handwriting, so that our grandchildren will have both the story and my handwriting as a memory. But, I have decided to share it here as well. I thought it might help others through the commitment that is marriage as well as grief.
As I was writing, I noticed that I was writing to him. As the reader of this blog, I felt that you should know the voice so that it would make better sense.
Our love story officially began on June 15, 1982. A few days before, I was sitting with Bob’s brother Jim and his girlfriend at the time and my sister Kim and her boyfriend at the time. Jim’s girlfriend and Kim’s boyfriend happened to be brother and sister, so we were at their house just hanging out. I was lamenting that I was the only one not coupled up. Jim suggested that I go out on a blind date with his brother as he was on recruit duty for the NAVY and was in town. Jim had talked about him so glowingly that it didn’t take much encouragement. (Bob had made sure the younger two, Jim and his little sister, had everything that he didn’t have in high school – class rings, money to go to prom, etc. I so admired his generosity from the beginning. He was so Godly!) When Jim showed me your official NAVY picture, I was excited to meet the handsome man in the photo.
You arrived promptly at 6:00 and knocked on the door yourself. I thought it was pretty confident that you didn’t send Jim to the door or even have him walk up with you. I was still getting ready, so Kim answered the door with Mom following to meet you as well. You handled that with the grace that I soon learned was one of your greatest strengths. You were such a people person!
Once I came up (about five minutes later), you walked me out to your Honda Accord. You opened my door and made sure I was safe, then went around to the driver’s seat. We were then on our way to the Huntington Mall to watch Rocky III. On our way, I noticed some pictures laying on the console in the middle of our seats. They were of you working in the Data Center on the ship, but computers were brand new (Remember this is 1982) so I had never seen a Data Center. I asked, “So what is it you do?” You politely explained computers and computer storage.
Then, we were at the mall….