In honor of our 18th wedding anniversary today, I would like to share the story of how Chris & I met.
I would be remiss if I led you to believe it was love at first sight or even second sight- but it is an object lesson in not making snap judgements. The year was 1979 & I'm was a sophomore in high school. I was a closet geek- Friday nights were spend square dancing with a teen club called "The Young Rebels". This particular evening, I was attending club for the first time in about a month- I had been dumped by my boyfriend & hadn't been feeling too sociable. I had been dancing & performing for about 3 years, and had taken a few younger girls under my wing, making sure they got to dance whenever partners were available. The music had started to form up sets, & I still had one girl without a partner; then I spy this young guy, maybe 13 or 14, standing on the edge of the floor, with his hands in his pockets. So I marched up to him with the little girl in tow, put her hand in his & pushed them towards the dance floor, saying "Boys don't just stand around here!" He gives me this startled look, but scurries off to dance. I join my partner & we end up in the same set with the "arranged" couple. If you are not familiar with square dancing, during the course of a song, the ladies travel around the square, dancing with each gentleman in turn; so of course I eventually end up dancing with the indentured boy. I start chatting with him, commenting on the song & saying his shirt was nice, but he remains completely silent- he doesn't even make eye contact! By the end of the dance, I've decided this is one unpleasant individual- I mean, if you're going to come to a dance club, you shouldn't pout when you're expected to dance!
Fast forward about 6 weeks. It was another Friday night & I was at an event at my high school with my friend Erica. Her boyfriend offered to give me a ride home, since I lived 10 miles away from the school, but says he needs to pick up a friend of his on the way. So, of course, his friend is the anti-social kid. For some reason that escapes me now, I was wearing an bright orange Mexican "mumu", the kind with florescent multi-colored flowers embroidered around the neck. He gives me this sideways look as he gets in the car- a quick head to foot exam- & then smirks. We sit in the car next to each for 15 minutes without speaking. When we get to my house, I thank my friends for the ride, give Mr. "I'm too cool speak" a haughty look & flounce away, closing my front door firmly! The next Monday at school, I ask Erica why her boyfriend is hanging out with such a snotty little kid. She laughs & tells me "Chris? Quiet? I don't think so! Besides, he's not that young- he's 16 & plays varsity soccer with John." Well, I don't care- he's still a brat!
Onward another 6 or 7 weeks. It's now Memorial Day weekend, & Golden State Round-Up, the N. California squaredance convention, is going on in San Francisco. I head over on BART, planning on crashing with one of my friends who have rented rooms for the weekend. I decide to stop in McD's to get something to eat before the Grand March starts at the Civic Center. I saw a group of my friends & went to join them, but the only seat available is across the table from... HIM! Okay, now we're stuck- we can't look at each other across the table & not speak. I don't remember who broke the ice, but before I knew it, we were jabbering up a storm. I come to find out he was not stuck up, but intimidated by me- he thought I was 18 or 19, sophisticated & out of his league! He is also partially hearing-impaired (as am I) & seriously didn't hear me when I was talking to him all those weeks ago when we were dancing. We must have sat there for 2 hours, when we realized we were going to miss the Grand March. We hopped up & he grabbed my gear to carry to the hall- nice touch. While we're walking, a very drunk man was staggering along the sidewalk & started grabbing at my skirt & petticoat (yes, I was dressed in full gear, including pettipants!) Chris stepped between me & the drunk, put his arm around me to sheild me, & tells the guy to take off. "Wow," I think,"He's cute, friendly and a gentleman!"
Well, the rest, they say, is history. We spent the entire convention together, dancing, talking &... other things teenagers do! Of course, this was not our happily-ever-after quite yet- we were only 16, after all. Our beginning may have been a little rocky, but we both knew that we had found something real & precious. It wasn't long before I knew that I loved this man & would for the rest of my life, but that's a story for another day.