Welcome to the . . .
This month’s exhibit is . . . about love. Or, at least, all about the “meet-cute!” C’mon along as I give you the scoop . . . of how Tom and I met.
Whenever people ask us how we met, Tom always tells them this: “We met at a party, and we started dating each others’ best friends. Eventually, we sorted things out.”
And he’s absolutely right. But it’s also . . . a bit more interesting than that. I attribute our meeting, and then eventually falling in love, to “cosmic destiny.” (Which is definitely not a thing I generally believe in.) Our story is not one of love-at-first-sight. Neither of us ever “had a crush” on the other. We weren’t “set up” by well-meaning friends. We actually did have a “meet-cute” moment — but by then, we’d already known each other for several years. Our story . . . is more about “cosmic destiny.” As in . . . our orbits were always in the same universe, but never overlapping. Until . . . they did.
I mean, let’s start at the very beginning. Because a strange coincidence happened, and without it, we likely never would’ve met. You see, Tom . . . spent his childhood in Manhattan. While I . . . spent mine in northern Illinois. Worlds apart!
(That’s both of us . . . at 2.)
But . . . when we were each in sixth grade (Tom was a year ahead of me in school, so it wasn’t the same year), our families – randomly – moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming. How’s that for a weird, “cosmic destiny” kind of start to our story? Because that definitely put the gears in motion for our evenual meeting!
(And here we are, each at 13.)
Did our paths cross right away . . . in those early Cheyenne days? Not really. Our families lived in different parts of town, and we went to different schools. Like I mentioned, Tom was a year ahead of me in class. There weren’t a lot of opportunities for us to meet up — but there were a few “almosts” and “near-misses.” Our families, for example, went to the same church. I was involved in youth group and choir and Sunday School. But . . . Tom was not. So although we might have met then, we didn’t. And in a shockingly close near-convergence, I watched many of Tom’s Little League games . . . but only because I had a crush on one of his teammates!
(There is Tom, in the back row, just to the right of the guy in the center. His teammate I used to go watch? Also in the back row, just to the left of the guy in the center. I never noticed Tom back then, and it wasn’t until he showed me this photo that I realized . . . I’d watched him play baseball for a whole season in 1974!)
In high school, our “orbits” drew ever closer. Although we went to different high schools, Cheyenne is a small town, and you get to know (or at least be aware of) kids from the “other” school. Tom was a well-known track star. I was a cheerleader. Once, I held the tape at the finish line for one of his races. He dated one of my fellow cheerleaders. I used to wait on him at the Dairy Queen. There was an . . . awareness. But that was it. We never met each other back then.
(Yearbook shots; me in 1977, Tom in 1976.)
Then one summer (1977), when Tom was back from his first year at college (Boise State University) and I had just graduated from high school, our orbits finally intersected – in an official way – when we met at a party. (The party that Tom always mentions.) He started dating one of my best friends from high school, and I started dating his best friend. (Well. Truth be told, I started dating two of his best friends. . . but who’s counting?) Tom and I got along well, and we became friends that summer. But once summer was over – along with those dating relationships – we lost touch and went our separate ways on our different college campuses.
(Double-date photo from that summer of 1977. Just friends back then.) (Tom’s date took the photo.)(Interpretation = hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil. Just in case it wasn’t obvious.)
Over the next few years, we ran into each other at various local parties or out at the bars when we were both in town. We were friendly with each other, but not . . . interested. Tom was busy with track and his college social life. I was busy with my own. No big deal.
(Tom running the steeplechase.)
But then, on my birthday in 1979, there was an . . . incident . . . that involved, well. Let’s just say too much alcohol . . . and some interfering trickster troublemakers I happened to know from back home in Cheyenne. I’ll spare you the details here, but I ended up drunk-dialing Tom (in Boise) thinking I was calling my at-the-time boyfriend (who also happened to be named Tom). It was . . . confusing, irritating, and embarrassing. But after the initial weirdness, things sorted. Life returned to normal — and I forgot all about that phone call.
(If this had been a rom-com, that incident would have been our “meet-cute.”)
(Me. Always with my nose in the books. . . )
But. Tom didn’t forget. He figured I had called him . . . because I was interested in him! So when we both got back to Cheyenne for the summer, he called me and asked me to go out with him for a drink. Neither of us had anything serious in mind — just . . . y’know . . . some diversion in an endlessly boring summer.
(Here we are in 1980, off to go to the Tri Delt spring formal together.)
We had a great time together that night.
And the rest, of course, is history.
After years of swirling and near-misses (and, of course, that drunk-dial “meet-cute”), the two of us fell in love that summer. It took years, but our orbits had finally collided! Cosmic Destiny Fulfilled!
So. There you go.
Tom is right. We met at a party. It took a while to get sorted. (But I think my version is more interesting!)
Thanks for visiting the Museum of Me. Watch for new exhibits . . . on the 2nd Friday of each month. If you’re a blogger and you’d like to create a Museum of Me along with me on your own blog, let me know. I’ll send you our “exhibit schedule” (a list of monthly prompts) and we can tell our stories together.