Thursday, June 9, 2011

Finding "The One"

I first met the young woman who would become my wife on paper. Actually, on two pieces of paper.

During the Christmas break of my senior year in college, I spent the holidays with my family and then went back to school two weeks early. I was the new managing editor for the college newspaper, and I had a ton of work facing me – assigning reporters to beats, organizing editors, laying our plans for a new arts and entertainment section, figuring out photographer assignments – all the usual stuff.

A professor whose insight I valued had given me a list of five people whom he thought were the top reporters/writers in the class: Tom, Mary, Jeff, John and Janet. I had never met any of them. I had to assign the five and some 50 others to beats. Each soon-to-be reporter had submitted desired areas to cover for the paper.

Fifty-five people said they wanted to cover student government. Well, sure. I needed two. I had covered student government as a reporter, and it was the plum assignment, because it was almost a full-time job for two people (who also happened to have classes to attend).

So I looked at the five to determine which two would get the student government beat.

Janet’s requested beats caught my attention. She had asked for student government. And she asked for the religion beat. She was the only person who asked for the religion beat. No one in their mind asked for that. It might result in one story a semester. It never had news.

But if she wanted it, it was going to be hers. I was relieved that I wouldn’t have to browbeat some unwilling reporter into accepting it. (Why she wanted it is another story.)

And I gave her one of the two positions for student government.

Shortly before classes began, the new reporters started drifting into the editorial office, introducing themselves, finding out their beats, asking if I had anything for them to do. And I did, since the paper resumed publication before classes started.

Her first words to me were this: “Hi. I’m Janet Lowrey. Do you have anything for me to do?”

And my first words to her were: “Yes. I need a story on the new chemistry building.”

She went out and did the story.

The student government beat included covering meetings of the student assembly on Wednesday nights. She and the other student government reporter alternated each week. The meetings would be over by 9 or 9:30 p.m. Then the reporter would return to the editorial office to write the story.

Janet wasn’t a slow writer. But she was a painstaking, perfectionist writer. It became something of a ritual. At 11:45 p.m., I would walk into the typing lab and ask her for whatever she had. “I’m almost finished.” I’d nod. “It doesn’t have to be perfect,” I’d say. “It won’t be,” she’d reply. After getting her story, I’d edit it, write the headline and fit it all into the layout, and then deliver all of the copy, headlines and photographs to the back shop for typesetting. I’d get to bed about 1:30 or 2.

In theory, the managing editor usually went home about 7 p.m., and the copy editors managed the editing, design and layout of the paper. But that semester was the semester of the great flu, and all the copy editors got it – and for weeks. Three of us escaped the illness – the editor, who focused on his editorial page and left the rest of the paper to me; the sport editor; and me. So I’d work to 1 or 1:30 in the morning, and then get up at 4:30 to get to the back shop to do the paper’s “paste-up.” It was a long semester. I was paid the princely sum of $10 an issue, which worked out to about 75 cents an hour.

But somewhere in there something happened. Three weeks after our initial conversation about the chemistry building, we were dating, and dating seriously. In fact, it was so serious that we were already talking about getting married. Yes, that was three weeks after we had met. It seemed way too fast, but it didn’t. It was as we both knew, if not from the first meeting, then not too long after that.

We met in Janaury and were married in August. That was 38 years ago.

And she’s still “the one.”

She’s also still a perfectionist.

This post is part of the blog carnival on “finding the one,” hosted by Bonnie Gray. To see more posts on the subject, please visit Faith Barista.

Top photograph: The One. Bottom photograph: The One with the grandson.


Bill (cycleguy) said...

Well Glynn...I thought i was "the old guy around these here parts." But it looks like you might have me beat. We celebrate 38 years June 16th. I am a "young" 58. she is...well...older than me. See? All those years made me smarter also. Congrats to you and janet. Hope you have a great day.

Karen Kyle Ericson said...

That's such a great story. I'm so glad you found each other. Congrats! I really liked her just by hearing your description. God bless you guys.

Louise Gallagher said...

Oh Glynn, what a wonderful story -- and what a wonderful life the two of you have built together.

Many blessings.

Maureen said...

Even though I know this story already, I always find it romantic in that hope-filled way we all have in longing to "find the one". Congratulations to you and Janet on 38 years.

That's a great pic of Janet with Cameron.

Megan Willome said...

I love this insight into your life. And I love that Janet is in many ways the same person that you met so many years ago. I find that comforting, especially today.
Blessings to the both of you!

katdish said...

(Smiles) Sometimes you just know, don't you?

dunlizzie said...

Lovely story. Thanks for sharing.

nance marie said...

i like this post focusing on Janet as well as what was happening in your world at the time that the two of you met. By being involved in something that was so much a part of you, the writing and reporting, you met someone with similar interests.

every time you dip into this time and place, you reveal a few more tidbits that make the story seem new.

S. Etole said...

what a great story the two of you have together ...

H. Gillham said...

I love this story about how you two got together -- especially about it being in the discussion about the chemistry building.

Chemistry ended up being yours.

That's how I roll.

Love these stories, and I love the picture of her and THE GRANDSON in his diaper.


Michelle DeRusha@Graceful said...

Glynn, this is so sweet. I love getting to know you and Janet this way -- you are a romantic at heart, yes?

And the picture of her laughing with Cameron -- so beautiful.

Jennifer said...

What a beautiful story!

Bonnie Gray said...

Glynn, you know you had us writerly types ooing and aaahing throughout this post, now right? So romantic both writing into the night -- one crossing all the t's, the other noticing the girl.LOL. So sweet.