Thursday, June 20, 2013

Our Story (from one point of view): Part One

Once upon a time, a little girl moved from the Big Apple out to the fresh air and mountains of South Dakota’s Black Hills. On her first day of school in Hot Springs, second grade, she noticed a boy across the room. She didn’t know his name, but he had very, very blond hair and a little scar on his temple from where he had scratched at his chicken pox. She had never had chicken pox. (More on that later.)

After that, they weren’t in the same homeroom very often, and she didn’t pay much attention to him. Their families went to the same church, and they were in youth group together in middle school.  She had a crush on his best friend at one point. They were both in band, both played flute. She was first chair. He wasn’t very good. Until he got put on bass drum in the marching band. He had rhythm, that’s for sure.

In high school, they both joined debate. Both still in band. Both in theater. (In Hot Springs you didn’t specialize. There just weren’t enough students. Everyone was a generalist.) During sophomore year, he started paying attention to her. Talking to her more than just the general ways classmates do. He finally asked her out over Christmas break. It was a dance with the local band Ivory playing. (Clap if you remember them. Yeah, two of you. That’s what I thought.) He drove his grandma’s car, and she got friends to buy beer for her. The ride home was not a pretty sight.

Still, he asked her out again. (In those days, you asked a girl out. You dated. You actually went on dates to do things.) Until they were pretty much a thing. She was 15. They went to lots of movies and lots of dances. More beer was involved. (That’s pretty much what you had in Hot Springs.)

They went to debate camp the next summer, and that’s where they started to fall in love. And that’s when they also realized they’d be excellent debate partners. During  junior and senior years, they won many, many debate tournaments, theater contests, band festivals, etc. They spent an awful lot of time together. Her parents worried. But he was a nice boy.

Oh, things happened. They got into some troubles. Those aren’t important. What’s important is that they loved each other. Then they graduated. She was valedictorian. He was a national merit scholar. They went to separate colleges. She was miserable. She had a car accident. She sprained her ankle multiple times. She hated being apart from him. So she transferred and life was back on track. They spent their college years at Carleton. He ran cross country and acted in theater. She played flute and wrote plays. Neither of them did debate.

They graduated. She was cum laude. He got distinction in his major. Then they got married. That was June 20, 1984. Twenty-nine years ago. That’s not the end of the story, but that’s how the story began. 

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