February 9, 2010
Meet your mate and tales of dominos
Sometimes you know when something is right. Maybe not at first, but as you push over the first lined-up domino, they all start to fall in order. I'm going to tell my view of the first domino that I, or she pushed over. Maybe I can't tell who pushed it, but it fell anyway, and here we are married for 26 years.
My wife and I both attended the same High School. She was in tenth grade when I was in twelfth. But we never dated in High School. In fact we were both dating other people. But we did know each other. We were both in the Declamation Club, which was a public speaking/performance-type of club. Our meeting in High School wasn't the first domino. We did not experience our first spark through this club.
In my senior year of high school, I was going through a rough time myself, trying to decide what to do with my life after high school. I faced the situation of not having good enough grades for scholarships (A's and B's), and no money in our family to go to college. So in the Fall of my senior year, the US Army came recruiting for students. I had no plan for my future and they offered a good school, a steady job and an adventure, followed by money for college. So I enlisted in December of that year, to enter the military right after I graduated. For better or worse, I broke up with my girlfriend at the time. I did not even understand what I was doing, let alone be able to explain that to anyone. Like many people in the last year of High School, I was scared. And I was afraid I might ruin another person's life, so I pushed her away. The rest of my senior year I did not have any plans of marriage. I knew where I was going and what I'd be doing for at least the next four years.
When graduation rolled around, a lot of people I knew came to my graduation party. My wife and her friends were there also. She was not on my radar, and of course nobody was at that time. But this party was a key event to get things rolling. I got a dozen or more addresses from people who wanted to write to me while I was in the Army. And my wife was one of those people.
I graduated from High School and went to basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina in the heat of July. It was hot and miserable and I was busy getting my butt kicked in training. And I discovered the huge value in writing and receiving letters, so I wrote and received mail. It was really good to hear what was going on back home and tell people what I was going through. But I wasn't that great at keeping up with the writing so I lost a few pen-pals by not being responsive enough. A few survived and I continued corresponding. My wife kept writing and I got to know her better.
I did not know it at the time, but words in letters are very powerful when inner feelings are shared. Sometimes it's easier to be yourself when you are not face to face. And I liked the person I was reading about and writing to.
Those letters were the first domino. In those letters we created a comfort level with each other that led to the ability to make a commitment. Two years later we took that step when my wife graduated from High School, and I came home on leave. This time I went to her graduation party and I asked her to come back to Texas with me, where I was stationed. Obviously there are a lot of details left out, and I won't go into the rest. But I'm thankful that she kept writing to me. So, haha, with Valentines day coming up, get out your pens and paper and put it in the mail! It may start something you can't stop; Or won't want to stop.