Friday, December 23, 2016

Our Story

I created this mini album for The Runner in 2008
and realized I never shared with you.

The reason I am posting it today is that
it is our 23-year wedding anniversary.
It's our golden year!!!!!

Yep - 23 years ago this afternoon we said "I Do."
It seems like forever ago
and then again, it feels like yesterday.

THIS is "our story"
and it starts out like this:

"I followed
my heart
and found you."

The tab says "BEGINNING"
It all began in the ninth grade.
We were in the same class
and used to dance together
in the auditorium at lunchtime.

Of course, he invited me to be his date
to the Ninth Grade Prom.
Our first date was on June 3, 1961.

Amazing how life works, isn't it?
Even though we were
"ninth grade boyfriend and girlfriend"
things change.
We didn't have a big 'break up'
we just went our separate ways
once school was over for the year.

We continued going to the same high school
yet really never ran in the same circles.
Even though we had mutual friends.
How is that?

After graduation he went into the service.
I got married and had babies.

The first time we saw each other again
was at our 20-year reunion.
See those glasses and crew cut?
And I never recognized him.

When he spoke to me,
I said "hello" back to him
but I thought he worked at the facility.
We didn't speak any more that evening.
(Maybe his feelings were hurt!?!)

We had a short conversation at the picnic
the next day.
My daughter talked with him more than I did.

The next time we saw each other
was at our 25-year reunion.
This time I recognized him.
We even danced a jitterbug
for old times sake.

I hadn't planned on going to the picnic
but plans changed and at the last minute
I stopped in and we ran into each other.
As I was walking in,
he was rounding the corner to the beer keg
and we plowed into each other.

We stood there for THREE HOURS
and just talked up a storm.
Nothing serious.
Nothing flirty.
Just catching up.

Fast forward.
A lot of years.
31, to be exact.

I was down and out.
Probably at my emotional lowest.
I called his mother to get his phone number.

It was in May 1992 that I called him.
We talked - rather I talked.

After an hour long conversation,
we exchanged phone numbers
and hung up.

He called me at work many months later
to tell me he'd moved, got a different job
and had a new phone number.

He called me again about three months after that.
I told him,
"It's lucky you caught me.
I'm supposed to be in San Francisco right now.
But the person I was to go with had to back out."

Told him I was disappointed.
I'd never been there and was looking forward to the trip.

He said, "Oh - I used to live there.
We could go and I could be your tour guide.
I could show you all the nooks and crannies."

I laughed and said, "Right."

End of that topic.

We continued talking - for about two more hours
and then we hung up.

I used to walk with a neighbor at 5:30 in the morning.
The next day when we walked,
I was telling her all about my phone call.
Including the San Francisco part.

She said, "GO ... what do you have to lose?"
She said it's not like you don't know him.
You've known him for years
and you know his family.

So, later that day, I called him at work.

As soon as he got on the line,
I said to him,
"Were you serious last night
about being my tour guide in San Francisco?

He laughed and said, "Yeah, weren't you?"

My reply?
"No, but the more I think about it,
the more I might be interested."

After exchanging some important information,
we hung up
and I walked down the hall to our Travel Department.

Well 20 minutes later, we had our tickets!!!

Our second date was in California.
Just 32 years and two months after our first date.

Long story short,
we finally met up.
I missed my flight (due to the airlines, not me)
and had no way of reaching him.
But I remembered him telling me
he rented a car from Avis.

Called them and asked if they'd relay
the message.
The man on the other end of the call
told me he only had room to type
"missed flight."

Don't you know that message
had him wondering.
Was I going to be there or not?

So there I sat in my hotel room
with no luggage,
no change of clothes
no toothbrush
and no make-up.
So I sat in a chair all night long
so I didn't get all rumpled up.

Fortunately, I knew where he was staying.
Where WE were supposed to be staying.
So, at 2:00 in the morning,
I called him to explain what happened.

We made plans to meet at my gate
in the morning.
Don'tcha know I was crossing my fingers
that my luggage was there.
(It was!)

We had THE BEST TIME ever.
It was perfect, from start to finish.
We often refer to that trip as
The San Francisco Tryst.

It was perfect.
So perfect that we fell in love.

It was torture to separate on departure date.
He went his way and I went mine.
Both of us in tears.

The day after we got home,
he called and asked me,
"Did you ever get my letter?"

Here's me thinking - letter?
How could a letter have reached me already.
He'd only been back in Dallas for two days.

He told me,
"No I mean the letter I wrote you
before I shipped out to Viet Nam."


"You wrote me a letter?
I never got a letter from you.
Where did you send it?

He mailed it to the house I grew up in.
Where my parents still lived.
But I didn't.
I was married at that time
with a child and one on the way.

(As a side-note, that letter has never surfaced.
And no, my folks did not intercept.

So, if you see one addressed to me,
please let me know!)

Well, of course, I had to ask,
"What did you write about?"

First he wasn't going to tell me,
but I forced it out of him.

He said,
"I've been in love with you since the ninth grade.
Why do you think I never got married?!?"


Well, now that just opened up a whole new
can of whatever-you-wanna-call-it.

The next night we got engaged.
On the telephone.

We decided maybe we needed to spend
a little more time together
before taking that next step.

So I flew to Dallas to spend
Thanksgiving week with him.
That was our third date.

Yep - we were sure.
So sure that we bought our wedding rings.
And wrote our vows.

But when was the date?
Before we could make a decision,
it was time for me to go home.

We decided.
We set a date.
December 23, 1993.

It would be our fourth date!
Yep - our wedding day was our fourth date.

Only 18 people were there:
the two of us,
his parents (his dad was Best Man)
my parents,
my son,
my daughter-in-law,
my two grandbabies,
his sister,
his niece,
his nephew,
my "maid" and her husband,
my friend
and the judge and her husband.

Yes - a female judge
that just happened to be
nine+ months pregnant.

(My daughter and son-in-law
couldn't be there
as they were stationed in Alaska.)

The ceremony was in The Gathering Room
at The Inn of Chagrin Falls.
When that was over,
we walked down the hall
to a reserved-just-for-us
private dining room where we ate and visited.

When our guests left,
we walked up these upstairs
to the bridal suite.

The next morning greeted us.
Buried in a blanket of snow.
A very deep blanket of snow.
It was cold.
It was beautiful.
A true Winter Wonderland.

Our plan was to walk to town
for breakfast - so we did.
We did a little shopping,
ate and then meandered back to The Inn,
stopping along the way to take these pictures.

We checked out,
loaded up the car
and got in to drive back to my place.
BUT ...
my car was dead.
Very dead.

We had already checked out,
the room was being cleaned
and was reserved for somebody else.

We called AAA but because of the weather,
and because it was Christmas Eve,
we had a long wait.
Over six hours!
Good thing we ate a big breakfast
because we couldn't leave and walk back to town
and the restaurant at The Inn was closed.

We had no option but to go to The Gathering Room
and wait in front of the fireplace to stay warm.

Finally, just at dusk,
the tow truck arrived.
The driver?
He looked to be about 16 years old.
And his truck?
It was about 116 years old.
And had an oil leak.

He "excused the mess"
as he brushed empty oil cans off the front seat
and we piled in.

He drove about a block and had to find a gas station
to feed the engine more oil.
More oil cans at our feet.

We had THE BEST time during that ride.
We cranked Christmas carols on the radio,
waved at passing motorists,
did the 'parade wave' and just laughed.

He told my new husband
that if he wouldn't have been so cheap
and ordered a limo instead of driving his car,
we wouldn't be in this predicament.
More laughs.

He drove us to the dealer.
But we had no way home.
And home was about another 20 miles.

No cell phones back then
so I don't know how I called,
but I called my walking friend/neighbor
and interrupted their Christmas Eve celebration.
Fortunately, her daughter came to pick us up!

When we got out of the truck,
the driver said,
"Oh no.
You got oil all over the back of your coat."

My white coat.
There was oil from the collar to the hem.
(For some reason, it doesn't show up in the picture.
But trust me ... it was there!)
To this day, I don't know
what kind of magic the dry cleaner performed,
but there wasn't a trace of oil.

We spent our second night as Mr. and Mrs.
at my place.

You know that feeling you get
when you just know somebody's watching at you?
Well, in the middle of the night,
when I was sound asleep
I had that feeling.
I opened my eyes and there was my new husband.
Sitting up in bed, bent over and looking at me.
Just about six inches from my face.

Know what he asked me?
No, not that.
He said, "You want some wedding cake?"

Our wedding cake was soooooooo good.
Of course I wanted some.
He got out of bed, went downstairs into the kitchen
and brought back two forks
and the Styrofoam to-go container
that the restaurant put our cake in.
We sat in bed, in the dark,
and ate wedding cake.
And then went right back to sleep.
Now THAT'S love!
We've often talked about that cake
and wished we could just order another one.

I left room in the mini album
to add more "date" pictures.
Our one-year wedding anniversary
was spent in Cape Coral, Florida.
We left Ohio to drive down so that we could
spend Christmas with our folks.

A picture of us in 2000
as we were out to dinner with friends.
Friends that were visiting from Florida.
The same friends that we
got to visit with on Christmas Eve
(picture above - the one where I have the big hair ...
it was windy - promise!)

Here we are cross-country skiing
in the Ohio Canal Corridor
in Akron, Ohio, March 2001.
We have so many memories (and laughs)
to reflect on.

And a vacation back to California.
Here we are at Catalina Island in August 2001.

We spent our eighth anniversary
back in Cape Coral visiting the folks.

A road trip found us in Trumbull, Connecticut,
visiting family in September 2002.
I can't remember laughing so hard for so many days.

We flew to San Diego
in November 2007
for my daughter's retirement
from the United States Navy.
Such a good time!

The intent was to take pictures of the two of us
in different cities we visited.
Well, you know how that goes, right?

Maybe on our 25th.
Sounds a long way off,
but in reality, it's just two years away.
God willing, we'll pose in front of the camera
and the picture will make it into the album.

Thanks for following along
and listening to "our story" ...
we're quite proud of it
and we are still in love.


  1. I have heard most of this before. Is it journaled in the album, or did you tell it to me at some point in time?

    Anyways, happy #23 to you and The Runner! Wishing you at least 23 more!

  2. Oh my gosh, what a story!!!! I love every part of it - and I love YOU!!!! Thank you for sharing this and Happy Anniversary!!!! xoxooxoxoxoxxoxo

  3. hi sue...what a wonderful story, a love story...reflections of an life adventure with your chosen...i especially love the part of your eating the wedding cake in the dark...a happy anniversary with blessings through all your days...take care...sally