I’ve told the kids how Tom and I met before, but I guess they just don’t pay attention. But I mentioned that we were going out this weekend to celebrate 20 years since our first date and they asked, so I thought I would share. This Saturday marks exactly 20 years since Tom and I had our first date. We are going out to a nice local restaurant (Wink) and then going to see Beauty & The Beast at Bass. This is actually very significant. When I heard it was coming and I heard the dates, I called Tom immediately and we both laughed and knew right away where we were going…
In October of 1991, I was heavy in to the Bulletin Board Systems (BBS). Back in the day, before the internet, us geeks used something called a BBS. We would dial in to another computer and use the forums, download freeware/shareware and play games and stuff like that. There was even a fancy one or two that could have multiple “nodes” and you could chat live with one or two other users. It was all very fancy. My own first connection was with an old computer that had two 5.25 floppy disks (one to run the computer and the other to house the program) and was at 300 BAUD. What’s a BAUD, you ask? Yeah, just don’t ask. It was slow. Watching one line of text scroll across, then the next line…. etc etc. This new guy showed up on the scene, named DayStar (I went by the witty name of Candie) and he was EVERYWHERE. And he replied to almost all of my messages. It was a little weird, but whatever, right? He sent me a private message and we talked back and forth and eventually he got my phone number out of me. I cannot recall why, but it sounded like a good idea at the time.
… and then he wouldn’t stop calling me. It wasn’t really stalkerish, but almost. I would talk to him, but he wanted to meet. I had a LOT of good reasons. Like my sister’s birthday party. Then my other sister’s birthday party (he totally didn’t believe me, but they really do have birthdays just two days apart). Let’s see, I was washing my hair. I had homework. I managed to NOT meet this guy for nearly two months. It’s not that I was being mean, but he was 3 years older than me. He was in the military. I was 16, he was 19. Eventually, my mother asked what was going on. I told her and she said, “He sounds like a nice guy just looking for a new friend. He is in a new city. Give him a break. What’s the big deal?”. Le Sigh. Mothers just don’t get it?
So… I hatched a plan. He was almost 20, so what did he want with a 16-year-old anyway? I decided that I would make him go away by making him realize that I was just a kid. Beauty & The Beast had just hit movie theaters. So, I would agree, but to make him think I was just a kid and make him go away, I’d insist he take me to see that movie. So, I set my plan in place. He called. He asked if we could meet again. I was pretty bratty and told him that yes, I would, but only if he’d take me to see that movie… I waited, with odd glee, as he surely was trying to back out…
… and then he said “Oh, wow, yes, of course… I love Disney stuff”. I think I may have threw up a little in my mouth. WHAT? Okay, surely, he is kidding. Maybe I could just shake him? So, we agreed to meet at the mall (on December 17th). I would be wearing a red Christmas teddy bear sweater and jeans. Ha! Do you KNOW how many people were at the mall in a red sweater? Okay, so I was kind of mean to him. He couldn’t find me, but I saw the Metallica hat and figured it was him. I followed him around for a few minutes, noticed he had a cute rear end (hey, he does!) and walked back to our meeting place to see if he actually figured out who I was. It was kind of funny, in a mean twisted way…
So, off we go to the movie. I’m thinking that surely we’ll watch it, I’ll go home and he won’t call again. Then he started singing the Disney songs. What the heck? I figured I would just change my phone number. Obviously, he was crazy. At least he paid for the movie… so, after the movie he asked if I wanted to go grab something to drink. We ended up at McDonald’s and split some fries where, once not singing Disney songs, I realized he was actually a good guy. So… he called the next day and asked if I wanted to go out on a real date. He was willing to come get me and take me somewhere.
Let me explain… this is not a small thing. I lived in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. It was a good hour for him to get there if he hit any traffic at all. So, I gave him directions. He would be there at 6pm. By 7pm, I was pretty sure I had gotten rid of him and really felt bad because he was a nice guy. Dammit. I was pretty resigned to putting on my PJs and going to bed when the phone rang. This was before cell phones and he was lost. He was also out of our area so he had to talk some small itty bitty store into letting him make a long distance call. So, yeah. He was late. He was VERY late. I have no idea what I told my parents we were doing, but by the time we got back to civilization it was later. We ended up going back to his apartment where his weird roommate was watching a movie (Backdraft, I think?) and talked for a while. I think we grabbed take out from somewhere. Not very exciting, but hey, it worked.
While I’m telling this story, I’ll take the opportunity to embarrass my husband by telling you that we went back to the car, he opened my door and leaned over a little (cuz apparently it was time to kiss) and said “I hate this part”. I think I snorted with laughter and said “Thanks”, which totally ruined my 16-year-old “moment” so I told him to just get in the car. I think later he said we should try that again and he managed to not make a really stupid comment.
And that was pretty much that. We were pretty inseparable at that point. We both have a really weird sense of humor and we have enough inside jokes (like I randomly tell him “I hate this part” when he tries to give me a kiss) to confuse all of our friends. By Valentine’s Day, I was in lurve… he asked me to marry him in March (WTF was kind of my response). We found out in June that he was being moved to Hawaii in December. At that point (I mean, I was a kid, but I was smart enough to know that THAT long distance wasn’t going to work), we decided that I would finish school, get married and move to Hawaii in a year. We had a plan. We got engaged. He left and within a week things changed in my home life and I ended up moving in with friends in December. It was tough all around. Tom found out he wouldn’t be able to get leave until September. I graduated in June, so I was kind of in flux with the whole living situation. He could, however, get leave in early March… which is why my wedding date is 1 day after the day I turned 18 – and moved to Honolulu. I graduated with my class (I only needed 1 English credit to graduate, they let me write a few papers and mail them to the school).
Yeah. I was 18. He was 21. It could have been a disaster for sure! But, we made it work. And we still make it work.
So, that my friends, is why we knew we HAD to go see Beauty & The Beast on the 17th. Exactly 20 years from our first date when we saw it in the movie theater. Can we all get a big “awwww”. Thanks
18 years of marriage so far