I adore my parents. We've had our share of bad days, for sure, but when it comes down to it, they're great. They did their very best in raising my sister and I, so for that I remain forever grateful.
When I saw this week's prompt for “Share how your patents met,” I knew what I had to do. I dashed off a couple of quick emails and gave my mom and dad some homework.
Now here's the thing: my parents have been together for 47 years in May, married for 44.5 if them.
And they couldn't be more different.
My dad's a writer; he is where I got my passion for words and the ability to string them together into pretty sentences. My mon's less “artiste” and more of a list maker. She's the organized one (a characteristic I wish I'd gotten more of!)
And so, I present, in several versions, the story of how Joe and Nancy met, all those years ago…
The set-up: My dad went to Brown, my mom was a “Townie” who lived and worked in Providence. They were 21 and 22 years old. The Roger in this story is my godfather.
My Mom's Version
Some of the facts as remembered are:
- A friend from work Barbara Dube had nothing to do on a Friday night.
- We both knew a couple of people that went to Brown so we decided to go look for them. The college was always a good place for a party especially in Spring!
- I was driving my father's Navy Blue Dodge Dart. I was a vision of mid-sixties glamour in celery green slim pants with MATCHING sweater.
- We were driving around looking for a parking place, when we stopped at a red light at the corner of Angel & Waterman Streets. Two guys yelled from the curb and approached the car. “Wanna go to a party”?
- The rest is history…
- Paul White was the other guy.
- We went to the package store probably “Tully’s” the guys bought some Malt Liquor, a first for me.
- Maybe the gate to the quad was locked so someone climbed the fence… or that may have been some other night!
- We went to their fraternity house, Zeta Psi, and hung out both in the living room, the bar and Joe’s room (which was a mess).
- I had to put my contact lens in the toe of my shoe because my eyes were hurting. I ended up breaking one of them, so at the point the “date/pick up” had cost me $100.
- I got home way way too late and it was quite a while before my father warmed up to Joe!
My Dad's Version
It was a quiet Friday night on the Brown Campus—Friday, May 13, 1966, to be exact. My fraternity house, Zeta Psi, was dark that night, since no one had thought to order beer or book a band.
I went for a walk with one of my fraternity brothers, Paul, hoping we might run into some loose Pembrokers (then the women’s part of Brown). We turned off Thayer, the main street through the campus, walking to Brook, which runs parallel to Thayer. Paul had crossed to the opposite side of the street before the light changed. As I was about to cross over to join him, a white Dodge Dart with two girls aboard stopped at the light. The windows were down.
I walked up to the driver, Paul to the passenger. It was almost as though we had choreographed it (we hadn’t).
I could hear Paul making his pitch as I made mine. “How would you like to go to a party at Zeta Psi?” we both asked, almost in unison. The driver looked at her friend, hesitating.
“That sounds fun!” the passenger said. “Hop in!” I could feel the driver’s reluctance, but her friend had already committed them to this adventure. We introduced ourselves like the proper gentlemen we hoped we were not. The girls were Barbara and Nancy.
We drove down to Tully’s Liquor, a couple of blocks down Brook Street, to buy some Guinness Stout, then went to Zeta Psi, which was dark and quiet. We feigned surprise. “I could have SWORN we had a party scheduled tonight!” I said. “It would be a shame to let this beer go to waste, though. Would you like to see my room?” Paul had already left with Barbara, taking half the six pack with him. It was past nine o’clock as we went upstairs to my room.
I turned on the light and saw a large lump on one one of the two beds. It was Roger, my roommate, who had gone to bed early.
“Roger!” I whispered loudly, shaking him (Nancy was waiting outside the door). “You gotta get out! I have a date!” He muttered something indeciperable, but finally got out of bed, wrapped himself in his blanket and stalked out of the room with the great dignity of his 5 feet 3 inches.
I was alone in my room with Nancy. We drank the Guinness and talked (honest!) until around 3:30 in the morning, when I drove her back to West Warwick. Her father was waiting up for her.
Thankfully, we had exchanged phone numbers; I never would have found my way back.
How could I have known where we would be, nearly half a century later?
They met on a street corner in Providence.
Girl drives past slowly
Boy and friend extend invite
Rest is history