Twenty five years ago today, I went through a rite of passage. It was the start of an adventure with many ups and downs, and some unexpected twists. Looking back, though, there’s not a lot I would change, and I would definitely do it again. Twenty five years ago today, I married my husband.
We met in 1994 at ValleyCon, a science fiction convention in the Red River Valley (Fargo, ND, and Moorhead, MN). I was a university student, and it was one of my first times back to a convention I had gone to with my parents when I was young. It was also a great excuse to dress up in the costume I had purchased at the renaissance faire!
Love at First Sight
I can still vividly recall the first time I saw him. I was at the Saturday night dance for the convention, sitting with some of my (older) friends in order to avoid the attention of someone I was not interested in. He entered through a door across the darkened hotel ballroom, wearing an umpire jersey, talking with another person.
Just like in the movies, my vision narrowed, and my only thought was, “I need to meet him.”
He and the other person parted ways, and he came over to the table I was sitting at. Turns out, he knew my friends from when they had gone to a convention in Winnipeg. He invited them to a room party later that evening with the instruction to “bring a partner”. After he left, I turned to my friend who was there on his own and said, “Bring me.”
Not to Be… Yet
The party was wonderful, and we definitely had a connection. Sorry, folks, I don’t kiss and tell! Then, I learned he had a girlfriend. I was not interested in getting involved with someone who was in a relationship with someone else. We exchanged addresses though – remember, this is 1994, so email and cell phones weren’t a thing yet – and I went back to school.
About two months later, I received a letter from him. It was a bulk letter that he sent to many people, telling about his year. I learned that he was no longer in the relationship he was in when we met, and he invited me to come up to Winnipeg for his birthday party.
As interested as I was, I wasn’t really comfortable about driving four hours – in the winter in the prairies – to go to a party where I didn’t really know anyone, other than this man I had met once. Also, I was still a teenager, in college! And he was several years older than me, in the Canadian military. We did write some letters back and forth the next few months, and then I was off on an exchange to England for almost three months.
Coming back from that trip took some adjustment. My world view had changed, and the world I came back to wasn’t quite what I expected. I spent the first half of that summer in summer stock theater at my university, with no acting roles because my flight back from England arrived the day after auditions. That was pretty heartbreaking.
The second half of the summer I spent living with my grandmother and working on refinishing the house I grew up in. My mother had been transferred to another city, so my parents and sister had moved. They were slowly remodeling the old house before selling it, and offered me the chance to live there that year. I jumped at the chance to be in a house, and out of the dorms.
Towards the end of the summer, I received a phone call at my grandmother’s house. It was him! He had tracked me down and gotten my phone number through our mutual friends. He offered to drive down to see me, and I was ecstatic.
I spent most of the day getting ready. I was SO nervous! The time ticked by, and he still didn’t arrive. I didn’t have his phone number yet, so I couldn’t call to see when he was planning to arrive. Late in the day, I called our mutual friends, thinking maybe he had stopped in to visit them first. Nope. I did get his phone number, though.
Imagine my shock when I called his home, and not only did he answer (it’s a four hour drive), there were people in the background! JERK! Turns out his truck had broken down, so he wasn’t able to come, but he didn’t bother to call and tell me. JERK!
He did make it a couple of weeks later, and he was not a jerk. We had a wonderful date. I was smitten, and apparently so was he. We called each other often after that – my long distance phone bill the first month was over $300 (in 1995!) – and he came to visit when he had a free weekend. Over that winter, there were something like 11 major blizzards, and one of us (mostly him) was driving through 9 of them.
Over New Years, I flew out to the west coast to spend a week with him, and he took me on a “seduction tour” – letting the beauty of British Columbia seduce me. He asked me to move out with him in the spring, after he finished his contract with the military and I graduated college.
Not long after my birthday, I traveled to Winnipeg to visit him. One of the stops we made was at Immigration Canada, to see what we would need for me to be able to move across the border. We were already starting to make plans to move to Vancouver after my graduation and my friend’s wedding, in which I was to be the maid of honor.
The immigration officer was very frank, telling us that if we were planning to get married, it would be easier for immigration if we got married before we applied. We went down to a coffee shop to meet back up with the friends we were out with, and while we were waiting, he very unceremoniously asked, “So. Will you marry me?”
We found a date we were both free between then and when we planned to head out to Vancouver, BC, and started making plans. Six weeks later, we were married, and a few weeks after that, we were moving across the continent.
Twenty Five Years
Twenty five years later, we are still happily married. It hasn’t always been a Happily Ever After. There have been times that I have considered ending it, and he maybe has had similar thoughts now and then. We’ve managed to work through all the rough patches, though – raising three boys, financial challenges, work drying up, being on our own away from family supports.
I still love him very much, and I am so very grateful for all the support he has provided me throughout the years. Ten years ago we renewed our vows, and I would still say I do again today. I am very blessed.
Happy anniversary, my love!