Monday, September 23, 2013

Kids, it's how I met your mother.....

     I've been giving it a lot of thought lately, and I'll likely end the blog this year.  It's been a great outlet for my creativity, and I've been able to chronicle a lot of my family stories and to give everyone a great peek behind the curtain as to what makes me tick, but I have an impending fear that I will eventually repeat myself in a blog, which is to say, I will write an entire blog on a subject that I have previously covered and post it.  I'd like to avoid that and finish in a manner befitting how this blog got started.  I've got some milestones coming up, the end of the year, the 100,000 hit, or even the 200th blog so I'll time the end to coincide with one of these, but with the end looming, I want to make sure I've covered all the important topics, thus this morning's entry.....

      It's far from the traditional "love at first sight" story, and stop me if you've heard this one (as if you could), but this is how I met your mother.  It was 1981 and I was a Sophomore in high school in Canandaigua NY.  Like every other high schooler, I spent each day clawing my way up the school
That's how I rolled in high school
social ladder, with many of these mirroring the task of Sisyphus, pushing my boulder up the hill, only to have it roll back down each night, but unlike Sisyphus of Greek mythology, I was at least gaining some ground.  I had earned some level of popularity, my sense of humor was becoming well honed and I'd started to develop the ability to converse with members of the opposite sex (a skill you've seen me use regularly) and was in fact, becoming quite good at it.  I had an English class late in the day, called Mystery and Suspense and to the left of me and within earshot of my witty banter, sat a few women, and among them, was your mother.  Now, I far from targeted her, for me at that time it was a numbers game, you know, talk to 1000 women, have 100 talk back to you, and find the 1 that would be stupid enough to date you and hope she asks you out (I said I could talk to women, I did not say I could ask them out yet).  At any rate, before and after class would start, I would regale the ladies with my stories of chicken wing slinging at Papa Frank's and they would enjoy the interactions.  Your mother was not if the midst of her high school years, she was a senior and soon to graduate and I suspect as the year drew to a close, she sensed our impending departures
What the quad would have looked like, if I went to Hogwarts
from each other, and very late in the year and at the end of class one day, she asked me to borrow my pen.  I handed over said, nondescript pen and then with the weirdest smile or smirk or whatever it was, she proceeded to the nearest window, which was ajar and led to a grassy quad in the middle of the school buildings, and dropped it out the window !   What a nutjob.  I'll never know her grand plan to get to know me better or how she perceived that it would go in that crazy little head of hers, but I'll say two things, I did not ask her out after that incident, but I did watch her and my stuff around her a lot closer after that (that tactic alone probably prevented me from eventually marrying the trashy looking, tangled hair girl that sat behind your mother in that class).  The school year ended and we went our separate ways.

     It was a few months later when I saw your mother again and even though she insisted later that she was not stalking me, she showed up looking for employment at the pizza shop where I worked, which incidentally was way uptown from where she lived.  She was hired and we started working together, but once again, there were a lot of women around and only a few guys worked there, so the
I was an idiot for not dating this beauty sooner.
numbers did not favor us getting together.  I was still in high school and she was starting out in college in Rochester and she had a car, and I had a bike, but there fate had put us, working next to each other, night after night, and weekend after weekend.  Towards the end of that summer, I did ask her out and we set up a movie date to go see Arthur (the original with Dudley Moore of course).  Just prior to the date, I got a call from a girl that I had met on a camping trip on vacation a few weeks earlier, and she let me know that she was being tested for mono.  Since we had done some kissing, she warned me that I could have it too.  I was feeling OK at the time, so I didn't see the need to cancel the date that week, but in fairness, my game was limited until I knew for sure that I wasn't a carrier.  So that Friday night, I biked down to your mother's
Dudley Moore as Arthur
house, got greeted by their huge black lab, Major at the back door, and we jumped in her car and headed to the movies.   It was hilarious and we stopped at McDonald's afterwards for a bite, but I had to play the perfect gentleman and the evening ended without so much as a kiss.  In retrospect, the movie's plot line was about a playboy type guy, with no ambition, who drinks too much and falls for a poor girl, and now I wonder who picked the movie that night?  A few days later when I got word that the girl didn't have mono, I was able to tell your mother why I didn't try and kiss her, but at that point I wasn't feeling a spark between us, so I didn't ask her for a second date and we slipped back into the familiar friends role.

     It's taking a long time to get to the point of this story, isn't it?  This would be a good premise for a TV show or something, but I digress...    We spent over a year working closely together, and it was during that time where my feelings for your mother started to develop.  I learned more about her
Who's cooler than NPH?
growing up in a big family and how she helped care for her younger brothers and sisters.  I learned how she was not only putting herself through college on her humble earnings at the pizza shop, but also paying for her studio apartment, her car, and her insurance too.  I went through my junior and senior years in high school dating a few other girls, and taking them to prom, but I was slowly coming to realize that none of them were the caliber of your mother and although we weren't romantically involved at that time, she became who I started to compare any potential dates to.  She didn't sit idle during those times either, she had her share of dates but they didn't develop into anything more meaning than mine had.  As Easter approached that year, I started to spend more time looking at her in a more romantic way and wondering if she would give me another shot, if I asked her out again.  I was alone in the house as that weekend approached and I decided to make my move on that Saturday night.  I slipped her a well written note inquiring whether we could get together that evening for a nightcap at my house, and the reply was quick to come back, simply stating that opportunity sometimes only knocks once and that I hadn't opened the door, so she declined.  In my 18 years of life thus far, I hadn't shown any inkling of ambition, but that evening, that denial, sparked my ambition to get this date, and I wore your mother down until she finally agreed to come over.

     Our date started after midnight and she drove me home and I had her park by a neighbor, as it would have been scandalous to have a female visitor at my parent's home that late in the evening.  I
How prophetic these words were
had learned from Arthur that having some alcohol for dates wasn't a bad idea, so we shared a bottle of wine and we sat on my couch and talked deeply for hours and it was amazing how much we shared with each other, instinctively now trusting some of our deepest secrets and fears with each other.  We finally kissed and make no mistake, this time, I knew exactly how I felt about your mother.  We danced to "Open Arms" by Journey and the sun was coming up by the time our date ended.  I had been invited to dinner by my brother Ace and his wife out in Gorham, and your mother had plans too, so we decided not to get together on Easter Sunday, but I found my thoughts returning to her all day and when I got home that evening, I called her and asked to come to her place.  I walked over and we played Monopoly with her sister and her boyfriend, but honestly I was too smitten to pay attention to the game and I can't even tell you who won, if you can believe it.  We had lasted all of 12 hours before we wanted to proclaim our love to the world, and if you are looking for a sappy love story, this is where this one starts, because after that day, I've wanted to do nothing else but proclaim my love for your mother.  So that, kids, is the story of how I met your mother, it's a story of young love, of patience, of maturing and some gentle stalking but at the end, of undying and enduring love.  I wish the same for each one of you. 

Still going strong 30 years later



Anonymous said...

Great story and a great couple.

John & Phyllis Greene said...

Bill, you have a way of story-telling that is unsurpassed! Wonderful that both of you are so happy after 30 years! Nice picture, also!

Anonymous said...

I am absolutely in tears. What a wonderful example you have set for us as your children, both in giving second (and third) chances, and in recognizing and going for what you want. I can only hope to aspire to this type of commitment, dedication, and astounding love.

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