“How I met your mother”
My Dad always was complaining that we didn’t have enough money. He wanted the lights out when you weren’t in the room. There was one time when I remember him asking us to cut expenses. I already had a grey suit. My mother took me to the store and picked out the same suit in a larger size. I argued that I didn’t like it. (I didn’t. I rarely wore the old one.) Mom and I compromised on taking the suit and letting my father decide. That night after dinner I modeled the suit for my father and complained that it was an extravagance that we didn’t need. He didn’t just choose the suit, he chewed me out for not doing as my mother said. I was very confused. Did we need to save money or not? Why was I in trouble, I was just trying to comply with his wishes. Of course, now I know that Mom and Dad must stick together and not let the snotty nosed kid drive a wedge between them.
I think it was 1958 that Black and Decker pushed Dad into retirement. I was in college and college was expensive. I chose to get a job to help me thru school. If I worked 16 hours a week in the library my tuition would be covered by the school. So I started working in the stacks of the Georgetown Library. Undergrad students were not allowed in the stacks. They came to the desk and asked for the books they wanted. We library workers would go into the stacks and bring back their books. When the books came back it was up to us to put them back on the shelves. It wasn’t the best job in the world but I enjoyed it. It felt special to have access to the stacks.
In the next room from the entry to the stacks was the reserved book reading room. Occasionally after I got off work I would stop by the reserved book reading room to talk to the girl behind the desk. She was cute and funny. We shared an interest in classical music. I invited her to a concert and she accepted. This was about March in my junior year.
I have worn a hat since I spent summers near Danbury CT, the Hat City. One evening as I was leaving the library there was a bat flying in the long corridor outside the library. I caught it between my hat and my notebook. Being the wise-ass I was (and probably still am) I stepped into the reserved book room and placed my notebook and hat on the counter. Sharon heard the scratching of the trapped bat. I don’t remember which of us lifted the hat the let the poor thing go.
The reserved book room was a long reading room with many tables and students studying. The bat was doing laps around the room. I saw some guy look up from his book just in time to see the bat heading right for him. He dove under the table. Eventually I caught the bat again and let him out.
In April I turned 21 and my father gave me a new English Ford car to keep me from buying a 1950 Studebaker. One night I invited Sharon for a ride and we cruised the town. I got up the nerve to park by the Jefferson Memorial where we necked (awkwardly). A few days later I got a card from Sharon showing the Jefferson Memorial with cars parked around it and a comment about car number 218 (I think that was the number).
We went to the quarry which was the swimming hole Georgetown men frequented. One time we had a picnic with Sharon’s room mate, Pru and her boyfriend who was later executed in Iran.
As I was driving home for the summer I was relieved. I thought the relationship was getting too serious. A break would be good for us.
Letters from Sharon in July and August and an evening with Joan, the girl I had loved when I was in high school, clinched the deal. Sharon and I became engaged soon after returning to school in the fall.
The engagement did not go over well with my folks. As time progressed toward the wedding they got more and more resistant even to the point of saying they would not come. Eventually they gave in and participated. It was a wonderful wedding at Holy Names Church in Georgetown, the same church the president, JFK, attended. The reception was at Evans Farm Inn, an elegant restaurant in rural Virginia.
I have plenty of stories about this marriage that I’ll probably tell later. But I’d like to say this about that. We had a great love affair and marriage. For about five years. About 1970 or ’71 there was a book and movie, “Love Story.” It made a lot of people cry, me for different reasons. The story line was an upscale Ivy League student fell in love with a girl from the other side of the tracks. His parents disagreed. They married anyway and did OK. Then she got sick and died. It was sooooo tragic. I have always thought of our marriage like that but with the different ending. Sharon and I were together when we got married. We changed together for five years. Then we changed in different directions, wrestled with the differences for several years and finally broke up in 1970. If Sharon had died in 1965 or 66 ours would have been that Love Story. In stead we are just another divorce statistic.