My wife and I will soon celebrate our fifth year anniversary. Five years, wow. Big deal? Yes, it is and I'll explain why later.
Susan and I have known each other since the 60s. I remember her from the old skating rink, which was located on South Walnut Street in the Alphonso Rios Cigar Factory. Ben Beachoskosky owned and operated the tobacco business. I remember watching Susan watch me as I skate guarded and she strutted down the aisle to the snack bar, allegedly looking for her brothers, Larry Crosley and Tom Crosley or one of her many cousins. That purse, strapped over her shoulder, her hair blowing in the wind as she walked briskly; I saw her, side-glancing, while trying to look straight ahead as she was ogling at me. After all, I was quite the skater in those days. I came from a long line of skaters. I was the last of seven siblings to make their appearance at "the rink." Susan and I often laugh today about my going to the skating rink in white pants, fearing not that I may fall. I dare not fall, Susan was trying her best not to let me see her "not noticing" me.
Those days passed without any fanfare between Susan and me. I guess she went her way and I mine. She was a country-girl and I a city-boy. She doesn't believe it, but she entered my mind a lot through the years, as I was often wondering what happened to her. Come to find out later, she attended Brazil High School, staying one year ahead of me. I don't remember that, but she assures me she did. She mentions today that I was stuck-up in high school. I doubt I was; it's just that I was so busy in school. Classes, my then girlfriend, extra-curricular activities, working at Miller and Son's Funeral Home, running around ... oops, kept me moving.
It was years before I ran into Susan again, thirty-five years as a matter of fact. I was sitting in the staff lunch room at Putnamville Correctional Facility. I looked at the far end of the room and there she sat, looking as lovely as ever. I told my lunch mates, "There's definitely a lady I have to talk to". I walked confidently over to her table and sit down; "hell-o", I said. She glanced up from her food and looked at me. Her "hell-lo" was the type that said, "Do I know you?" After a moment, she acknowledged me, politely. We talked for a bit, as she obviously had something on her mind besides me. She then told me briefly about her recent past and what was going on in her life. Being uncomfortable, I expressed some sympathy and excused myself from the area. It was a couple years before I saw Susan again.
The next time was also during sad circumstances in her life; her mother had passed away. Reading the obituary in the TIMES, I logged onto the funeral home's website and sent my condolences the easy way, via the internet. The next day I received a voice mail from Susan thanking me for "signing" her mom's registry. I called back and talked a bit, then hung up. The next day I was home and the phone rang. It was Susan. Her voice sounded startled as I answered. She thought I would be at work, I wasn't. She mentioned that if I was interested, we could meet for coffee sometime. I jumped at the chance. That was on a Thursday and we went to dinner Friday. We went to dinner a couple more times, and then she said she had plans to go to Tennessee and visit her daughter and family. She loved visiting them but did not care for the long drive. I offered to drive her there. A day or two passed and we were talking about the upcoming trip and she said jokingly, "then on the way back we could stop in Nashville and get married." Those were my EXACT thoughts.
We never made it to Nashville. We were married in Brazil before we even left town. June 16, 2011, will be our "twenty-less fifth" anniversary. We invite you to join us in celebrating.