Thursday, September 29, 2011

30 years : )

The exact date is a mystery to me. I didn't realize until much later that it was a day that had changed my life.

But it happened 30 years ago, right about now -- late September/early October 1981. I was in the third year of my four-year arts program, and also my third year of living in the all-girls dorm on campus (which these days in now coed).

I think it was the night of the inter-residence social at university, which brought together students from all the campus residences. Before any big party, though, there was always a pre-party. The girls on my floor would get together with the guys from one of the guys-only floors in the neighbouring residence next door & get a (ahem) head start on the celebrations.

On this night, the party was in their building, in one of the beautiful old oak-panelled lounges with big fireplaces. The guys from this floor were a great bunch, and we wound up partying with them often that year. And I remember having a long conversation with a very cute, very nice guy -- a pre-masters immunology student from Toronto, of all places. That fact alone probably helped him stand out in my mind. We had lots of kids from Manitoba, of course, lots from Saskatchewan & Alberta, lots from Thunder Bay & other towns in northwestern Ontario -- but Toronto?? It wasn't exactly a popular place in western Canada in the early 1980s (& things probably haven't improved much since then). (I'm not sure there's an equivalent relationship in the States.) If someone had told me then that I would wind up living in Toronto, I would have never believed it. Winnipeg, certainly. Calgary, Edmonton, sure. Toronto?? You've got to be kidding.

Anyway -- I wouldn't say it was love at first sight, but we definitely made an impression on each other. I remember going over with some of the other girls to visit some of the guys on his floor that fall. Most of us would keep our doors open unless we were out, asleep or deep in studying, so I poked my head in his door to say hi. "Who's the hunk on your wall?" I asked, pointing to the rock star poster on the wall. "Bruce Springsteen," he said to me. I don't think the expression "Duuhhhhh" had been popularized yet, but he might as well have added it. I should have known -- his nickname on the floor was "Bruuuuucce" (most of the guys had their floor nicknames on the back of their official floor T-shirts, & that was his, & he had already explained to me why).

(Months later, when he went home for the summer -- &, as it turned out, off to do his MBA at another university that fall -- he gave me the poster. It hung on my dorm room wall the next year, & then was rolled up, along with all my other posters, & went into storage in my parents basement. For the next, oh, 26 years. I found it a couple of years back when we were cleaning out my parents' basement, still rolled up, along with all my other posters, in mint condition. I gave most of the other posters to my mom for her next garage sale, but put that one into a box of "stuff to keep." I'm going to retrieve it someday, frame it & hang it in our house.) ; )

But I guess he forgave me for my faux pas, because a few weeks later, at the Halloween party, he (wearing a lab coat) asked me (in a waitress's uniform, with fishnet stockings) to dance. At the Christmas dance, he kissed me under the mistletoe. Sparks were beginning to fly. He later told me he spent his Christmas vacation plotting his next moves.

In January, I became his neighbour for a week when several of us girls on the floor council traded rooms with the guys on his floor's council, & we bonded over a shared love of nightly popcorn. I actually had long had my eye on his good-looking neighbour -- but by the time the neighbour started showing some interest in me, I was already moving on. I danced with both of them at the Ukrainian Christmas social in January, shortly after my 21st birthday -- but I left with the nice, cute guy from Toronto.

Our first official date was Jan. 22, 1982. And we've been together ever since then. : )

*** *** ***

Sadly, the big, beautiful, 100-year-old residence where dh lived, with the beautiful old oak-panelled lounges, closed this spring. Kids today apparently don't like to share communal bathrooms, or bedrooms, for that matter, and the thick, concrete walls aren't conducive to easy wiring for wi-fi and all the other bells & whistles that come with 21st century campus living.

Happily, though, it will gain a new lease on life as the new home to the school of music. Those thick walls may not be great for wi-fi, but they are perfect for practicing musical instruments! And the auditorium where I attended so many dances & parties & movie nights (where, in the early 1970s -- before my time & before they hit the big time -- it's rumoured that KISS played at a dance), & first danced with dh, will be restored to its former glory as a concert hall.





Me & dh (ages 21 & 25), at our residence spring dance, March 1982. : ) My dress cost all of $19,99. ; )

19 comments:

  1. Love the college romance and your $19.99 dress! Also, I think a framed poster of Springsteen would be an asset to any room.

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  2. I love that photo! Congratulations on 30 years together!

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  3. I should say that, even 30 years ago, $19.99 for a fancy party dress was quite a bargain. ; )

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  4. Love the photo! It's superb! And the story behind it is so lovely; many memories to cherish, I'm sure. Hang on to that poster; it's definitely a cornerstone piece in the tale of how your relationship began!

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  5. That is a lovely story and a great picture.

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  6. What a lovely story! And a fab picture.

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  7. Cute! I love reading about how couples met. You look just as happy now as you did then -- definitely something of which to be proud. : )

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  8. What a gorgeous photo of you guys! I love hearing the foundation of one of the most romantic couples out there :)

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  9. Oh, I loved this post but I ADORE the photo! So much promise and personality and awesomeness.

    Congrats on remaining best friends for 30 years. And for the whole Toronto thing ;-)

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  10. You guys are soooo cute! Oh, that's a lovely story! How wonderful - so romantic.....

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  11. you guys look great! congratulations.

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  12. Great story anD fabulous picture!

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  13. Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. I'm really pleased to have found yours. I enjoyed your story about your romance and subsequent relationship that has obviously endured heartbreak. I love hearing about great relationships can be, as I think perhaps not too many people realise what it means to travel through life together. Great photo too - I love the misty eyed look.

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  14. Hi - Just left a comment and stupidly linked it to my craft blog - should have been linked to my infertility blog - a fertile mind. Sorry.

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