Regular readers are well acquainted with the antics that sometimes (make that often) get me into trouble with my wife, Yvonne; like rearranging the kitchen cabinets to help her be more organized, to name just one example.
Some wonder how in the world she has managed to put up with me for all these years – 46 this week to be exact. Well, I’m about to reveal the rest of the story.
From the time my eyes first rested upon her incredibly sexy legs in Louis Canosa’s English class in the fall of 1962, and then slowly drifted upwards until I caught a glimpse of her pretty blue eyes, I’ve been madly, head over heels in love. I admit, at 16, I had a terrific case of URH (uncontrollable raging hormones), but it truly was love at first sight, at least for me.
Yvonne, being two months my senior, was more mature and experienced in the ways of the world. She wasn’t about to be swept off her feet by a pimply faced, greasy haired, bow-legged, four-eyed (not to mention dirt poor) punk of a kid who couldn’t keep his eyes off her legs. So, not surprisingly, she sternly rebuffed my first awkward attempts at conversation in the hallway between classes.
But little did she know that the battle for her love had been won before it had even begun. What she didn’t know is that I had already formed a vision in my mind, a dream in my heart, of her one day walking down the aisle, radiantly smiling, with her beaming blue eyes firmly fixed on mine as she approached the alter to become my bride.
My confidence to dream such dreams was formed in early childhood. As the runt of a six-kids litter, I learned early in life that through dogged determination I could achieve almost anything I set my mind to do; and at 16 I had set my mind to winning Yvonne’s heart.
The book, “Baby Steps,” written by Doctor Leo Marvin in the Bill Murray movie, “What About Bob,” comes to mind. In the opening scene of the movie Dr. Marvin tells Bob he can overcome his fears and accomplish anything, if he will just focus on taking baby steps.
I guess you could say I was a poster child for this fictitious book, as I tempered my hormones (which wasn’t easy), and with baby step persistence engaged Yvonne in meaningful, thoughtful conversation (as much as any 16 year old boy is capable of doing.)
To my delight it worked. Yvonne finally relented and agreed to go out with me. I was only one of several boys she was dating at the time, but that didn’t matter. With my runt-of-the-litter instincts I doggedly pursued my angel eyes goal and, gradually, I stumbled and fumbled my way into her heart. I even learned the words to “Pretty Blue Eyes” and sang it to her – I’m sure that helped.
By the end of our junior year we were going steady and I looked forward to summer of fun together. But, as often happens with summer love, we (i.e., she) drifted apart. When classes resumed our senior year Yvonne informed me that we should “date around.” She immediately started going out with other boys, and after a few weeks, reluctantly, I decided I should at least make a vain attempt at dating other girls. Before long we were both going steady, but not with each other.
Then, over Christmas break, it happened. I had a dream. Yes, a real dream. I dreamt that I broke up with the girl I was dating, that Yvonne broke up with the boy she was dating, and that our love was reunited. I immediately put my dream into action and, sure enough, within a week it was fulfilled. Who said dreams don’t come true?
You might think this would be the end of the story, but it isn’t. Life was good for the next six months, but when we went off to college in the fall “my” cute blond blue-eyed coed began catching the eye of other guys, which once again prompted her to inform me that we, “needed to date around.” This time she added, “…to be sure our love was real.”
Fortunately, it didn’t take long for her to decide that our love was real, and soon we were back together. I decided I’d better hurry up and seal the deal so at Thanksgiving break in 1964, as Yvonne sat on my lap in a rocking chair on the front porch at my brother’s house in Winchester, Virginia, I got up the courage to pop the big question. It went something like this. “Honey, I don’t know how or when, but will you marry me”?
To my delight Yvonne said yes. A short year and a half later the vision I had formed at age 16 came true, as Yvonne walked down the aisle, radiantly smiling, and with her beaming blue eyes firmly fixed on mine she approached the alter and become my bride.
Fast forward 46 years (or 50, if you count from my first sneak peek at her legs in Louis Canosa’s English class). I was crazy in love then and I’m still crazy in love today. There have been a few bumps along the way, even a pothole or two, but as the miles and years have slipped by the road has become smoother until, today, there is scarcely a bump to be found. The road we’ve traveled together is not paved with gold, but it is paved with love.
Well, that my friends is the rest of the story, which helps explain why after all these years Yvonne is willing to put up with my silly antics. When I fell in love it was forever. “Happy Anniversary, Honey.”
George Brown is a freelance writer. He and Yvonne live in Jackson township.