Do you know that I married Dan because my mom was an English teacher?
Yes, it's true. I have my wonderful, loving, ever-present cheerleader of a mom to thank for helping me find my true love, Dan.
Let me tell you the story... (pause here to grab a drink and a blanket and snuggle in...)
I was a freshman at good ol' Plattsburgh State University taking an English 101 class that everyone is required to take. I had fun in the class because English was always my best subject, and because (you guessed it) my mom was an English teacher and not only passed on to me a genetic predisposition to enjoy reading and writing... she also made DAMN sure that I had excellent grammar and a rich vocabulary. (When taking my SATs and GREs, if I came across a word I was unfamiliar with I would try to hear my mom say the word in my head and figure out what the context was.) So I'm flying through the class - I mean, let's face it- Plattsburgh is no Ivy League college... some students there were barely literate- and I get a letter in the mail asking if I'd be interested in becoming a writing tutor at the campus Learning Center.
I was very interested and through that class met one of my favorite professors, Mary Dossin, who was sweet and brilliant and encouraging and just a stellar human being. She taught me how to teach writing and I got a job meeting with nervous freshmen and bewildered upperclassmen and helping them understand the process of writing. It was a real trip, considering most of them, after I read a paper or page or paragraph and gave them some general direction, would follow up by continually asking me, "Well, what should I put??" They had a really hard time understanding that it wasn't a matter of "what to put", it was about cohesiveness and clarity and getting your point across and supporting it with examples... but I digress.
I tutored a freshman named Adam who was from Long Island, who looked like he was about twelve and acted like he was about 10. His coping mechanism for college was to secure a tutor for every class and a writing tutor to look it all over for backup. But God bless him, he started this whole chain reaction: he said to me one day, "You should meet my sociology tutor, Sara... you'd really like her." So I did and I did like her. And she said to me,"You should meet my best friend, Michele... you'd really like her." So I did and I REALLY liked her and we all became good friends.
The fall semester of my senior year came and we were excited because Michele and I were both graduating in December and making plans for our futures. I had gathered information from graduate schools in Florida, California and Massachusetts and started the application process for their Gerontology programs. We were thinking about getting an apartment together for the spring and summer, working a meaningless job and saving up a few bucks for whatever life was about to hand us. I was doing an independent study at the time that I really enjoyed (looking at my grandfather's old diaries from the 1950's) and all my classes were in my major, Sociology, so I was interested and engaged in my schoolwork. Life was good.
Then one fateful Wednesday in September, Michele says to me, "My friend Chris is having a party this weekend... we should go. He's really nice." and I reply, "Michele, I am graduating in three months... I won't know anyone there and I am not interested in meeting any new people." "Come on," she said, "it'll be fun." I reluctantly agreed.
So Friday came along and she says she's too tired to go out and suggests we stay in and get a bite to eat or watch a movie. No, I tell her, I've gotten myself all psyched up to go to this party and we're going to go. We get ready and go down to Brinkerhoff Street where Chris lives and I realize as we're climbing the steps to the apartment that I have been here before: my freshman year, I went to a party here with a totally different group of friends and it was the first and maybe only time (I am a REAL school dork) that I put off doing a paper that was due the next day and went out instead. I giggle to myself as I'm climbing the stairs thinking about how long ago that seems.
We go in and it turns out Chris lives with four other guys and one of them is Dan. I met Dan for the first time in the hallway of this apartment and literally felt the earth move when I met him. He was just so tall and dark and handsome and I instantly started plotting how I could sink my hooks into this guy. (Months later, when we were very much together and were discussing this moment, I asked him what he thought of me when he first met me. His response: "I don't know. I thought you were cute." He later added that I was "warm" and "friendly" and "I felt comfortable talking to you." Doesn't THAT knock your socks off?? I feel the EARTH MOVE and you think I'm FRIENDLY???)
How did I finally nab this guy, you may ask? Well, let me share with you my killer opening line after we had been introduced and then dispersed. We met again in the living room, where the five guys living there had constructed a bar for entertaining their guests. Dan was behind the bar. I went up to him and said...
"So, this is the bar, huh?"
"Can I come back there?" (So forward!!)
"If you want." (Such a conversationalist!)
But it turned out OK. We hung out that night, he called me the next day, and went on our first date on the following Thursday night. We were inseparable from that point on and got engaged in February and married in October.
And now we've been married for eleven years, have two kids, a cat and a house.
The really, really ironic thing is that I had dated the same guy on and off all through college- "on" when we loved each other and "off" when we had screaming fights and didn't speak to each other for months- and it turns out that Dan was friends with him. They golfed together and had classes together. How funny is that?
So thank you, Mom, for helping me land my hubby.
And for continually reminding me the last 25 years how to say the word "nuclear" correctly. :)