The Semi-Unvarnished Truth: How I Met Your Father

I was married to another man, living in Elkin, NC and commuting to Mt. Airy every day for work. Once a week, the newspaper I worked for was sent to press, which was in Elkin at the newspaper where my (first) husband worked. I had to take our paper to the press room and it was usually late in the early evenings. My future husband — your father — worked as a pressman in the press room.

He wore a “Looking For Mr. Goodbar” t-shirt and looked very handsome and muscular in it. We started flirting with each other.

(Yes, I was married and your father knew it. But my (first) husband and I were growing estranged, partly because I was bored, partly because he worked a lot as a reporter for the newspaper in Elkin, and partly because he spent a lot of time on the slopes as part of the ski patrol at a resort in Boone. Boone was 2.5 hours away, plus as a reporter he worked at nights, days, weekends. He was gone a lot.

And I had nothing to do besides my job.

So I flirted a little with your father, and we got to know each other. We shared a lot of similar interests, NONE of which we pursue to this day! Like watching boxing in the heyday of Mohammed Ali. Like taking flying lessons. Like drinking after-dinner liquors. Like shooting pool in a smoky pool room. Like smoking!

We started falling in love. I guess I knew it when your father went out of town one weekend to visit friends here in Greenville, and I spent the whole weekend miserable because he wasn’t around.

I don’t know when he fell in love with me. I guess I’ll have to ask him someday.

Somewhere along the line I quit my job in Mt. Airy, got a job in the press room at the paper in Elkin and got to work with your father. I don’t think we were seeing each other yet. Your father was off work one afternoon, taking flying lessons. I was still working, helping wash up the press. The press foreman, James, was watching closely and had his hand on the stop button. Good thing, too.

I screamed, he pushed the button! The press rollers had grabbed the cleaning cloth I had been holding and I didn’t release quickly enough and the rollers took my hand up to my knuckles. Miraculously, not a damn thing was broken. No nails got lost. I don’t even think my hand bruised.

But it sure was squished flat!

I didn’t go upstairs to find my (first) husband. I left work in a mild state of shock and went looking for your father. He had already left the airport (by airport, I mean a grassy air strip and a hangar with a little office.) I don’t remember where I found him; probably at his house but it could have been at the pool room. I’ll have to ask him about that someday, too.

Anyway, I told my (first) husband that since he was going to be out of town this one particular weekend skiing, I was going on an out-of-town weekend trip with your father. He didn’t seem to mind.

I remember holding your father’s hand all the way to our destination at a lodge in the Blue Ridge Mountains. All the way. Holding hands. In a car with manual transmission. (I think.) I’ll have to ask your father about that someday, too.

Anyway, this was in the years before cellphones. The lodge had no television. No radio. No telephones. And it was lovely. We were totally cut off from the rest of the world.

When your father dropped me off at my house on our return, I told my (first) husband that I was leaving him. I packed my bags, he helped me load them into my car, and I left him to move in with your father.

Of course, your father didn’t know this at the time. It was done all of a sudden by me. I just showed up on his doorstep. And he took me in.

I told your grandparents I had left my (first) husband and filed for legal separation. When I didn’t move home, they suspected I had a new companion, although I didn’t know it at the time. I was legally separated for 1 year as required by NC law, and got my divorce 1 year and 1 day later.

No grass was growing under my feet!!

Shortly thereafter, we both left Elkin and moved to High Point for two years. When we planned to move to Sarasota in December of 1980, somehow we mutually decided to get married. I don’t remember your father ever asking me to marry him. I may have to ask him about that someday.

We  packed and drove to Florida during a terrible snowstorm that followed us down I-95. I had a cat we had to sneak into a hotel to sleep a few hours because the roads were impassable.

Your grandparents helped arrange a very small wedding for us in Sarasota. You’ve seen the pictures!

For reasons I’m not going into in this public forum, we had to get our marriage license in Bradenton. I got a speeding ticket on the way back from picking it up, driving all the back roads at high speeds. The officer took one look at my NC tags and said, “I got me an out of stater here.” I couldn’t even make myself cry for the officer.

Your father and I got married on January 10, 1981. I became pregnant with you about a year later. And you know most of the rest of that story!

There’s some missing pieces, but that may have to wait until your older, at which time I might have forgotten anyway!!

This will have to do for the time being.

(Do you remember the story of me telling you I had been married before?)

Anyway, I love you, kiddo!

And I still love your father, too.

 

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~ by Heather on March 8, 2011.

One Response to “The Semi-Unvarnished Truth: How I Met Your Father”

  1. Yes, I knew you were married before! Funny enough, I even remember you telling me his name. When I was little you still had a credit card with your “other” last name and I’m sure I asked you about it. Funny story for you – I found a photo album at Grandma’s one time, up in the hallway storage closet. Gosh, this was ages ago… I might have been in middle school still. Anyway, there were baby pics that I didn’t recognize and I thought it would be funny if you had a kid you never told me about. Well, not funny haha. Then again, I never wanted to be an only child did I? Until I grew up and knew how good I got it!!!

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