This is a love story. It’s been running for 48 years. Recently Hannah and I had a weekend reunion with four women who graduated from the College of Wooster in Ohio in 1970. Early on in the weekend, Maxine, one of the four, asked how we got together. And so…
Hannah and I met in the classrooms of the College of Wooster in Ohio and on their tennis courts as first year students in 1966. We had a torrid year together as sophomores and life was beautiful. Junior year not so much. Our ideas about our futures differed. I transferred to Arizona State University our senior year to major in elementary education after finding little meaning as a political science major at Wooster. While I graduated from ASU in 1970, Hannah graduated with honors from Wooster and headed back to her ancestral home in Fairport, NY to teach.
That fall of 1970 she took a job as an elementary physical education teacher near her home while I moved to California to teach Science, Social Studies, and Spanish to fifth and sixth graders in Anaheim. By the way, I had four years of high school French to prepare me to teach Spanish to my students, among them many Spanish-speaking Chicanos.
As we each began teaching in the fall of 1970, I was dueling with the Selective Service about my strong desire not to serve in the Viet Nam War. I claimed I was a conscientious objector, the government said, No you are not. Still communicating cross country with Hannah that fall by letter and the occasional phone call, I quit my teaching job at Christmas and returned to hang out with my college roommates in Tempe, AZ. There I worked as a bus boy at Sahuaro Hall, a girls’ dorm, at Arizona State.
Once the spring semester of 1971 ended, I returned to New Jersey to convince my local draft board in person that drafting me was a bad idea. They would have none of it. After a summer at my childhood home in Fair Lawn, I was heading back to Arizona for the fall of 1971 to wait out the government’s pursuit of my body and soul.
In August before I left for Arizona, I told Hannah that I’d like her to come with me to Arizona. Enough with our long distance relationship. At this point we had known each other for four years. I felt it was high noon in our relationship.
Tomorrow part 2 fills you in on her response.