Thursday, February 14, 2008

How Did I Meet That Husband of Mine?

To be honest, the story is somewhat embarrassing because we were children. From the time I was in the second grade in Helena, Montana, I knew who Dave was. We lived in the same neighborhood and went to the same elementary school. During cold winters, my Dad would flood the vacant lot across the street from our house to provide a place to ice skate. Dave remembers skating on my Dad's rink and I know I was there. Also, the boy that lived across the alley from me was one of Dave's friends. This kid had the best themed Halloween parties. At one which must have had a Flintstone's influence, we received little burlap sacks of rock candy. I was amazed at how candy could look just like rocks. Dave remembers that it tasted terrible.

Dave knew my older brother who was tall and athletic; he hung out with some of my brother's friends. Of course, he knew who my father was because he was the Junior High School principal where Dave's much older brother and sister had attended. My golden retriever, Laddie, who had the run of the neighborhood in the days before fences and leashes and paved streets, was recognized by Dave.

When I was in the second grade, a major presidential election was receiving quite a bit of attention. Kennedy v. Nixon. Most of Helena was Roman Catholic so Kennedy was popular. The Protestant kids were mostly Republican--at least it seemed like that in the second grade. I was Episcopalian which was more Catholic than Protestant. My family was for JFK though I do not think it had a thing to do with religion as far as they were concerned. School yards are a different place, however. Dave's family attended the First Christian Church which put them squarely in the Republican camp and anti-Catholic. Dave, in the third grade, was friends with a boy named Rex. Rex was vehemently pro Nixon. Chubby little outspoken Janet was a Kennedy fan. The two of us got into it one day at the merry go round. After that, I never did like that boy Rex or any of his little Republican friends.

I think it is a good thing that Dave never noticed me until high school. He claims he had a vague idea of this girl who was Jim's little sister and the daughter of the Junior High principal. Thank God he has no memory of my chubby, braces, and ugly glasses phase. Dave was not a saint and in fact participated in some teen age trickery that landed him in the principal's office--more than once. Evidently, my father made him clean gum off the bottoms of desks. My father would tell stories at the dinner table about student shenanigans usually without naming names but often I would know exactly who he was discussing. One particularly not nice event involved Dave along with another Dave who was the most popular boy in school and the-girl-with-the-reputation's locker. I will not describe what they did here because---well--it wasn't nice and my husband is really a nice guy.

Along comes high school. I had grown up and out of my chubbiness and shed the glasses for contacts. My tightly curled hair was now long and wavy. Still outspoken and interested in high school politics, I was a member of student council, several honor groups, and I had run for class offices. I was a straight A student. Dave, on the other hand, never studied but managed to pull B's and A's, was a little on the wild side and quite popular. He landed in student council because of popularity and leadership skills.

There we were--in student council in the high school cafeteria in 1969. Dave was a senior and I was a junior. I was late for the meeting and sat near Dave, who I had known about since I was in the second grade. Never in all of those years had we ever spoken. The first words he ever said to me were framed into a snide remark about being late to such an important meeting. I can picture him like it was yesterday. I liked his muscular arms which were a consequence of his after school job of loading cases of pop onto Coca Cola trucks. I was a tad wary of his partying ways but he was ready to get serious about college and had learned a lot from some of his stupidity. It was not long before he asked me to go to a concert with him and then a movie.

And we were smitten.

Happy Valentine's Day--a day late. Yep, sometimes I am late but one time it worked out well for me.