Today Hannah and I celebrate our 47th Wedding Anniversary. In 1966, we met in Ohio at the College of Wooster, a small (1500 students), self-contained liberal arts college. Ergo, it was no surprise that many of us first-year students were in the same classes. In our case, I sat as close as I could, but not creepily so, to Hannah in Sociology 101 and French 103. We also played on the tennis teams.
During our first year, Hannah, quite understandably, was hotly pursued by first-year guys as well upperclassmen. Me? Pursued? Not so much. My shyness and horned rim glasses might have had something to do with that.
I was biding my time, hoping the meteors at Wooster would flame out.
Zion National Park, Observation Point Trail overlooking the Virgin River Valley (Btw, my favorite all-time picture)
Out of the blue, the summer after our first year at Wooster, I received a post card from Hannah while she was a counselor at a summer camp at Moss Lake near Old Forge, NY.
To say the least, I was pumped to return to Wooster for our sophomore year and ask Hannah out. By that fall as nineteen year-olds, we were dating. For one who didn’t date in high school, it was the time of my life. We’d go to the TUB (Temporary Union Building) for cake topped with soft serve ice cream for 25 cents. We’d play honeymoon bridge in the common area of her Wagner Hall dorm.
Later that fall, we went to the Homecoming Dance at Severance Gym. The home to varsity basketball and dances, Severance Gym was so small that students sitting on the lowest of the six rows of bleachers had their feet on the basketball court during the game. That night with the lights low, we slow danced all night long.
Later that night, we walked around campus, holding hands, and eventually found ourselves slipping into the empty chapel on campus. Without much subtly, I lead Hannah to the balcony in the back of the church; we kissed for the first time.
Taughannock Falls, Ithaca, NY, circa 2019
That sophomore year was life at its best. Junior year not so much. Our relationship faltered and we became “friends,” a détente that was not of my choosing.
After our junior year, I took my broken heart out West by transferring to Arizona State University. Hannah stayed at Wooster, graduating with honors in 1970.
During the following school year, I taught fifth and sixth graders social studies, science, and Spanish at Patrick Henry School in Anaheim, California while Hannah taught elementary physical education at Thornell Road Elementary in Pittsford, New York. We wrote letters to stay in some touch. Phone calls were few and far between as the price of a call was $30 per hour back in the day.
In an effort to see what magic we might have, Hannah moved to Arizona in October of 1971 where I soon had a job teaching fourth graders at Holdemann Elementary School in Tempe, Arizona. Time together in the desert climate worked for we married on July 1, 1972 on a Penfield, New York hill where her dad grew Christmas trees.
Our “kids” [Tip, Molly, Will, Laurel, and Robyn] circa 2016
Molly (1979) and Robyn (1981) were born at Desert Samaritan Hospital in Mesa, Arizona. In 1982, we moved to New England to raise our family in a small town (York). Once Will came (1983), we wrote and still write our love story on the coast of Maine for now 37 years.
With all the errors and bumps in the road in our life, we had some Ws based on…
Buttermilk Falls, Ithaca, New York, circa 2019
Hannah’s belief in me that allowed my confidence to grow. My encouragement of her to let her true self shine through. We valued experiences over things. We sat and talked most evenings in front of the fireplace when cold and on our deck when warmer. We celebrated each other’s small victories.
Point Reyes National Seashore (California coast north of San Francisco), circa 2016
I developed a voice such that I had the confidence to become a university professor at the age of 51. With courage, she at 55, pursued her dream job – cutting hair in a nursing home and in the homes of the housebound. She willingly came along on my wanderlust travels throughout the United States when home was her journey of choice.
I hit the jackpot going to the College of Wooster where I met the girl of my dreams who turned into the love of my life.