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Our First Date

Many people know this story, but as I add things to this blog I realize that I need to share some of my stories. I won’t be here forever and they may mean something to someone when I’m gone.

Aug. 7, 2015 is the 40th anniversary of our first date. Fred took me out to the Cheerio Restaurant in Santa Monica, Ca. While we waited at the bar for our table, I discovered a best friend that I didn’t know I had. We had a lifetime to catch up on. We talked for hours. We didn’t hear them calling his name for a table. We did finally remember we were hungry about 10:00 pm and there was no shortage of tables then. I still remember what we ate. He had Bombay beef curry and I had steamed clams. I kept the shells, much to his chagrin, because I wanted to clean them up for a macramé plant hanger. Well, he can’t say he wasn’t warned.

After dinner, we picked my kids up from my friend Debi and we went back my place where we continued with the single most magical day of my life. It was one of those “too good to be true” moments that can be very frightening. Especially if one has been wounded in past relationships. We were both a little shaken by the experience and we both had to go to work the next morning on 3 hours of sleep. We both spent the following weekend in a sort of daze. Half stunned and half scared. But it had really happened. In hindsight, that night is the anniversary that means the most to us. That was the night that bound us together for this lifetime. We have other anniversaries. He moved in with us on Oct. 10th. We were married May 11, 1977. Those dates are a good excuse to go out to dinner or have a get together. But August 7th is ours.

Back then, I worked on the order desk of a large automotive parts wholesaler in downtown Los Angeles. Fred worked for an auto parts store as a driver/counter person. I met him at the catering truck on my first day on the job. We had a friendly relationship right from the start, but it was all business.

It must have been the night of Aug. 3rd that I was visiting Debi and she brought out her tarot deck. I had never seen a tarot card before and I was interested when she offered to read my cards. My recollection of the reading is not very good 40 years later, but I remember that there were some really good cards, major arcana cards that impressed the shit out of me. The Wheel of Fortune & The Magician stick in my head but there were several.

The next morning at work I mentioned the tarot reading to Gus who was one of my customers. I knew he was into such things and wanted his take on all of those major arcana cards. It was just a conversation in passing. Nothing memorable about it other than he thought it was cool. A couple of hours later there stands Fred and he’s saying “So tell me about this tarot spread.” I was fairly dumbfounded. How the hell did he know about my tarot reading? Well, it turns out that he was the person who was teaching the tarot to Gus. They were friends. So I told him about the spread and he said something like “I wish I got tarot spreads like that”. And since I did nothing but shuffle the cards I couldn’t very well do more than shrug.

After Fred left, my co-worker started teasing me that he was going to ask me out. Again, I was a little bewildered by that. I was a woman working in the automotive industry, which wasn’t very common in 1975. I got asked out (or propositioned) a half a dozen times a day. And I wasn’t having any of it. Later that day, Fred did call and asked me out and I was astonished to hear myself say “Yeah sure. When?” He was equally startled. I guess there is some sort of game woman play that I didn’t know. So we agreed on Thurs. night since he was going camping over the weekend.

I was a little nervous over the next couple of days. I hadn’t dated anyone in a very long time.

I was recovering from a bad marriage and a series of bad relationships with men, including my birth father and grandfather. I’d started to believe that all men were assholes to be honest. I had to spend some time on myself fixing that attitude. Because you get what you expect. It’s that plain and simple. If you want more you have to be ready to have more.

By Friday the 8th, I realized that Fred and I had been crossing paths for over 2 years. My friend Karen had tried to get me to take a job where she worked. It paid more but the drive was just too much for my little 1957 VW. I couldn’t take it on the freeway because it wouldn’t do 65 mph. (I’m the only person I know who was happy when they lowered the speed limit to 55). Well, it turns out that Fred worked with her. So we could have met then.

Later he changed jobs and came into the auto supplier where I’d worked previously, in the office and later on the billing desk. He must have just been feet from me several times a week for a year. Yet we didn’t meet. Neither of us was ready. We were working through our own issues.

But by August 7, 1975 we were ready and it was a helluva night!