Sometimes love takes time ... and we should know. Bill and I met in kindergarten in 1962 and went to school together through high school. We always liked each other, but it wasn't until the ripe age of 53 that our orbits finally aligned and we were together, as it should have been all along!
Around age 16, I came to the adolescent realization that the other sex doesn't have cooties, and that boys were actually pretty cool. However, when you put two very shy people together it often means that nothing happens, and it didn't. It wasn't that Bill didn't try, once ... but I blew that one and it was the catalyst that put us on different orbits for decades. It is an "interesting" story.
I was dating someone in my junior year and a group of us planned on attending the town carnival. But before we went, we congregated at a construction site to -- as the kids now call it -- pre-game. I was a goody two-shoes but wanted to fit in and had a few tokes with the group. As the story goes, we heard a night watchman or something and took off fast. We got to the carnival and I realized that I had left my purse there. My then-boyfriend wanted to go off in another direction and I was left upset at what had happened.
Bill spotted me and -- being the Boy Scout that he was (literally and figuratively) -- he volunteered to retrieve my purse. We made our way to the construction site and -- summoning all his nerve, and trying not to "wet" himself -- he ran in and found the purse. Thinking that he had just scored big with me, he walked back to the carnival, only to have my boyfriend meet up with us. I thanked Bill and left with the other group. Bill figured that he'd instead make his move on Monday when he saw me in class. Well, Monday comes, and I see him and say nothing. He was crestfallen and figured that I just wasn't into him. The truth, only discovered recently, was that I had no recollection of the incident. I guess my pre-gaming messed up my memory. Well, he never tried again and I was really to blame.
After high school, we continued to see each other in various circles of friends and even double-dated. Bill was in the ROTC and away with the Army when I got engaged to my first husband. He subsequently got engaged to his girlfriend. Bill and his girlfriend attended my wedding. Bill eventually broke off the engagement and met and married another girl. My husband and I attended their wedding. Over the next 13 years we celebrated the births of our six collective children, went on couples-only weekends and celebrated many things with friends and family.
Much to the shock of myself and many others, that marriage ended, and quite quickly Bill met and married another woman. Well, my husband and I attended that wedding too, only this time as I sat there I could not help but think, "it should have been me, it should have been me ... I knew him first and it should have been me." But I was married and all I could do is be happy for them and wish them the best. Life went on and we picked up our friendship with Bill and his new wife.
About seven years later, my husband and I ended our marriage after 25 years and -- about three years after that -- I didn't see Bill any longer. I was not being invited to parties and events as I had been in the past. What I didn't know was that his second wife didn't want me around since I was divorced. We never crossed any lines, nor did anything to raise suspicion of any kind, but she must have sensed the connection that we had. The only communication was the yearly Christmas card.
Oh well ... I was pretty happily on my own co-parenting my three daughters, in a new home of my own, and keeping busy selling train parts for work, and fixing up my house. My daughters wanted to know why I wasn't dating and I told them that "someone would have to fall into my lap" as I had no desire to look. What they didn't know was my extreme fear of bringing a new man into their life ... could I trust someone new at home with my girls? I preferred to be alone then putting them in potential harm's way.
Then one day in late spring of 2010 I got a call at work that my youngest daughter had a migraine and had to be picked up at school. At about the same time, Bill had a sales call cancellation due to illness. Knowing that he'd pass the exit for the town I lived in as he drove home, he decided to pay me a visit and talk. He didn't remember my house number, didn't know what car I drove, and more importantly, did not know my new cell phone number. What he did know was the street name (from mailing the Christmas cards) as it was the name of a former boss. So playing with the map app on his Blackberry he found the street and -- summoning all his courage -- set out to find me.
This is where serendipity kicked in. I was unlocking my front door when a minivan pulled into my driveway. I had no idea who it was until he opened his widow. I let my daughter in the house and went over to give him a hug. We marveled that -- had he arrived a second or two later -- I would have been in the house, and he would've had no idea where to find me. Later he openly admitted that he didn't know if he would have mustered the courage a second time around. He asked if I'd like to grab lunch and I agreed since my daughter needed to lay down.
Lunch was interesting ... as he told me that his second marriage was ending. Not a surprise this time as I always thought is was an odd fit, and that he wanted to get together and tell me the whole story. We made plans to go to New York City on that Saturday, but it wasn't without trepidation that I agreed. It wasn't that I didn't want to talk to him, I just needed to hear the whole story.
Come Saturday we walked and talked for 12 hours, finally able to speak our minds. It was wonderful! Bill told me that he had loved me since he understood what love was and that he knew that I was always the girl for him. We had to wait for the finalization of his divorce before we could move forward, but we were finally able to confess the love that had been there for decades.
So a guy did "fall into my lap" and probably the only one that I knew I could trust without question to be around my daughters. We were married on 11/11/11 and it was as much a celebration of our love as it was a reunion for many of the people there. Our kids who haven't seen each other in awhile, my one cousin who went to school with Bill and I, Bill's aunt who was a best friend of another cousin in high school. We like to kid that we have attended all our weddings, including our own! Life is good!
As an interesting aside ... while visiting my mother (who passed away in 2009 right before Bill lost his dad) after my dad died in 2004, we were chatting when totally off subject she asked me, "why didn't you ever date that nice Gregory boy?" to which I replied, "he never asked me"... well, mom, he finally did!!!!!!!!!