During the summer after our freshman year, we'd become part of a group of friends who hung out a lot, going to movies together and then over to Dairy Queen afterwards, meeting up at the local pizza restaurant after football games, and playing rousing games of hearts in each others' basements. (I don't even remember how to play hearts, now; but back in the day, I was a bit of a card shark.) We lived in a small Upstate NY town where 15-year-old kids could walk the streets at night unafraid. I feel like my high school years were one big episode of "Happy Days." During the summer of 1973, my husband and I became good friends, then he became my boyfriend, then he became my best friend; and in 1980, he became my husband. (But he's still my boyfriend!)
I think that everything in life happens for a reason, and so I'm happy now that I never met my guy until high school. Perhaps if we'd grown up in the same neighborhood and been childhood playmates, he would never have looked at me as "girlfriend material"--who knows? Instead, I was one of a handful of new girls who provided fresh new faces at the beginning of our freshman year (girls who hadn't gone to the grade school that was the main feeder to our Catholic high school), and we new gals on the street had the curiosity factor working in our favor with boys who'd been attending school with all the same girls since kindergarten.
If we'd met before high school, would our childhood selves have recognized their respective soul mates? Would I have seen my future husband and the father of my sons in this skinny kid, wearing a skin-tight polo shirt and black socks with the trademark black Converse Chuck Taylors he still wears to this day? (He was a winner, though; and he has the second place ribbon to prove it.)
|My husband, circa 1968.|
|My siblings and me, circa 1965.|
But I wouldn't want to have been born at any other time, or lived in any other place. Because if even one little thing had been different, my life would look nothing like it does. I might never have met my husband at all, and I can't even conceive of any kind of life without him. My late mother-in-law used to say, "If you change one thing, you change everything." And I wouldn't change a thing. (Except perhaps my decision to wear that kerchief.)