The 21-Year-Old Spinster

I had given up. All of my closest friends, even my closest cousin, had married. I was all alone in the world, without a beau in sight. What a loser. I was bound for spinsterhood, and honestly, I was not surprised. But I was disappointed.

It’s okay, you can laugh. I’m shaking my head, too. Looking back, I see my twenty-one-year-old self for what I was. A child wearing adult-sized clothing. I had no idea what life held for me.

Hello, Thursday Morning! I’m waxing nostalgic again but this time, for good reason. Forty-five years ago this week, I met a young man named Bob, who would change all that. Before the year ended, we’d be married and settled into a friend’s garage apartment. We’d be considered “cool” by all our youth group friends, instead of dumb kids with very little change in our pockets.

We met on a blind date. It was a double-date, and I was with the other guy. The other guy was Bob’s best friend, Rick. I’d known Rick in high school, where we sat at the same table in Physical Science. I liked Rick because he laughed at everything.

So, we were Bob and Carol and Rick and Betty for a few hours. I guess I should backtrack just a little to tell you why I was on a blind date in the first place. I had moved to Tennessee with my parents when my insurance-sales manager dad was transferred to the Nashville office. I visited Louisville (our former home) often, since I had a lot of friends there. On this particular Labor Day Weekend, I brought my Tennessee friend, Carol Ann, with me.

We were scheduled to spend the holidays with one of my best friends, but her boyfriend came to town unexpectedly, so she quickly made plans for Bob and Rick to escort me and Carol so we wouldn’t be on our own. The venue was an outdoor concert at Iroquois Park. Bob stopped by my friend’s home during the afternoon to meet his “date,” Carol. [Side note: When he’d been offered a choice between a blonde and a brunette, he’d chosen the blonde. Of course, everyone knew blondes had more fun.]

valentine, valentine's dayHowever, when we met at the front door that afternoon, we both experienced something we would only recognize much later (years down the road) as a “sign.” Yes, Grasshopper, this is the one. Bob describes it as a bell ringing. I felt as though a light came on inside (kind of like an old-fashioned flashbulb popping). Cute, spooky, weird, you can say what you want about it, but we both swear it happened.

When the two friends arrived to pick us up for the date, there seemed to be an ongoing discussion between them that had started on their trip over and finally ended when Rick said, “I think we should leave it as is.”

We enjoyed the concert but throughout the evening, Bob kept leaning forward to talk to me. He seemed totally interested in everything I had to say. I suspected that the previous discussion between the two guys may have had something to do with the fact that Bob seemed more interested in the brunette than the blonde.

We met again on Sunday, since he and Rick attended the same church as my friend. Back at my friend’s home, she asked to speak to me in private. “Bob likes you and wants to know if you feel the same way.”

Well, honestly, I didn’t. I was flattered, but he didn’t seem to be my type. He had long hair, sideburns and a moustache. I couldn’t really see his face. He wore the shortest cutoff jeans I’d ever seen, and sneakers that could almost be called sandals for all the holes in them. And he was younger than me. But he did have a great personality and you know, there’s a lot to be said for that, and the fact that he was interested in me. That was hard to walk away from. Well, that and his broad shoulders.

I didn’t walk away, I drove away but I left him with my address, because he wanted to write to me. That’s the old school pre-texting way to communicate with someone who lived in another state. It was so far back, the phone calls were expensive, because you had to pay extra for long distance.

When that envelope arrived in my mailbox, the little thrill I felt in my heart confirmed what I already suspected: I liked him. I enjoyed his letters and the candid glimpse into his heart.

A month later, I made another trip to Louisville. While there, I interviewed for a job. I got the job, so I moved a couple weeks later.

In November, he proposed. We married on December 21. Yeah, it was quick. We were two dumb kids with very little money. He was still in college. But it stuck. Forty-five years later, I can’t imagine any other life or greater joy.

See you next week. Thanks so much for stopping by.

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