The lunch was delicious, the atmosphere was noisy, as it usually is in restaurants nowadays. We were reminiscing about our younger days. I went all the way back to the time before I was married…my good old dating days.
I had been dating Mike for two months and really liked him. He was tall, which was a relief since I had a succession of dates with short guys. He was an engineer with Sperry Rand, a major American equipment and electronics company which, through a series of mergers, is now part of Unisys and Honeywell, two worldwide information technology companies. He was on the fast track, having had three promotions in one year, must to the distress of his coworkers. He was bright and he was handsome, and I was in love.
It was a hot humid Saturday night in New York and we were coming back from an evening at Jones Beach, which at the time, was the in place to go for young folks on a Saturday night. We were on the parkway heading home when Mike noticed red and blue flashing lights behind him. He made a quick decision and accelerated instead of stopping. I began to panic. He told me not to worry because he had been a race car driver, racing Jaguars before I met him, and knew what he was doing. I was twenty and he was twenty-five. I wanted to live to be twenty-six. I stopped looking at the speedometer when it hit 100. Suddenly, he made a quick turn off the freeway onto another freeway, slowed down and joined the traffic. The policeman did not follow and I began to breathe normally again.
Mike took me to a production of the show “Kismet” and during the most romantic part of the show, when the leading man sang the love song to the leading lady, Mike took my hand and slipped a ring on my finger. I became so excited but I couldn’t see the ring because the theater was dark. He asked me to marry him and I said yes. It was such a beautiful moment and I still remember it all these decades later.
However, my mother didn’t like Mike and kept telling me not to marry him. I think it may have been because he wanted to move from New York to the city he loved – San Francisco. My controlling mother would have none of that. Since I always listened to my mother (no rebellious girl there) I finally broke the engagement. For months afterward, Mike was there at the exit to my apartment building parking garage, sitting in his car as I left for work at 6:30 am. (I taught second grade at a school one hour away.) Then he was gone. I never saw him again and wondered once in a while over the years what ever became of him.
This story about Mike is now in my memoir, which is slowly growing. Think back on events in your life, large and small. What was it like growing up? What were your dating days like? Your memoir is waiting. It’s time to begin. You don’t have to start at the beginning. I didn’t. I started in the middle. The beginning came later. Think about it.