I’ve been trying to get April to tell the story of how she and I met, how we started dating and how we survived our first six months together. She hasn’t. When I ask, she usually looks and me, nods her head and then starts talking about the need for a personal assistant and a maid.
So it looks like it is up to me.
I’m starting a series on this called “How We Met.” Clever, huh? Here is the first installment that I’m calling “Part I.” I’m brilliant.
After graduation from High School. I said goodbye to Gary and Todd as they both headed off to their respective college lives. Gary went to school two hours south and Todd went to school four hours west. They were both difficult partings, but Gary’s was the hardest. He and I had been fast friends since meeting in Mrs. Harvey’s class in 2nd grade.
On the day he left I followed him to the gas station near our house. He filled up his tank for the ride and we didn’t say much. I remember that he finished, put the nozzle away and we stood face to face for a second before we hugged. We cried like school girls. Sobbed is more accurate. It wasn’t pretty. He got into his car and I got into mine and I followed him along the roads out to the highway. We held our left hands out our windows as high as we could until he had driven out of sight. I watched the horizon for a bit and drove back home.
I was slated to go to architecture school. And at the time, there was no architectural degree to be had in Missouri other than very expensive private universities and I (meaning Dad’s check book) was not interested in that. Architecture degrees were offered in Illinois but I would have to pay out of state tuition and again Dad’s check book said no. Thankfully, we found that Kansas and Missouri had reciprocal agreements. I could attend architecture school in Kansas and pay in-state tuition while the thousands of dental/journalism/whatever students (I never really figured out what program it was) from Kansas could attend a Missouri State school as if they lived in Missouri. It was a great deal and we jumped all over it…probably three months too late. I enrolled after the deadline and wouldn’t be able to get into the architecture school until the following year. My plan was to work the summer and the fall at home and then enter the school in the spring semester, take some electives to get ahead, and then start my studio classes the following fall.
It was a great plan, except when you realize that your the only one of your friends who isn’t jetting off to a new life. That was me and it sucked.
I worked two jobs during that summer and fall. One was a cleaning supply delivery business where I would drive a conversion van filled with paper towels, chemicals, brushes, plastic bags, and other essential items to companies around the St. Louis area. The other was pizza delivery. Both where great jobs where I got to spend most of my time listening to the radio or lost in thought. And I did a lot of thinking that fall with my two best friends out of town.
Dad and I were the only ones at home. My sister and brother had moved out of our house years before and despite a few months of my sister living with us, it was just Dad and me in a new apartment. Dad had retired from his teaching job and was getting ready to start a new adventure biking across the south and writing a newsletter about it. He called it “Pilgrimage” and our living arrangement was more like roommates than father-son.
I worked and saved and did a lot of thinking during those months. And when January rolled around, I was ready to go. At least I kept telling myself that…
[to be continued]