We must have been idiots.
Feb. 14, 1973: We had known each other a little over a month. I gave her flowers. She gave me an album (back them it was a real album) – the soundtrack to Godspell, which had been on Broadway only a couple of years before. The flowers were red and white carnations, with one blue iris right in the middle. The blue iris was my fraternity’s flower.
How do I remember the flowers? She took a boatload of picture of them. We still have an old, faded photograph.
It was cold. Not long before, we had actually had snow, a massive half inch that had paralyzed Baton Rouge.
We had known each other a month, and we were what they called head over heels. Eight months after that, we would be married.
We had to be idiots.
When she took me home to Shreveport to meet her family, their first reaction was shock, and then relief. They were expecting a long-haired barefoot hippie. After all, I was from New Orleans, and everyone in Shreveport (my relatives included) knew exactly what New Orleans was about.
Instead, in walked Joe Frat. I was likely wearing my standard school uniform – white dress shirt, blue jeans, wing-tip dress shoes.
When I brought her home to meet my parents, she shocked my mother. She brought a hostess gift. I had brought girls home before, but none of them had brought a hostess gift.
My father knew this was the one.
I graduated in May. The day after graduation, I drove her to the Baton Rouge Greyhound bus station for the ride to Shreveport. I can remember us sitting on the curb across the street from the station.
Part of me was making the drive to Beaumont, Texas, to start my new job the next day with the Enterprise newspaper.
Part of me was getting ready to board a bus for Shreveport. We were going to be mostly apart for three months.
I learned the drive from Beaumont to Shreveport. I think I could still find the way. My first apartment was part of a large complex of apartment buildings. I called them the posh Northway-Gaylynn Luxury Apartments. They were neither posh nor luxury. But there were clean, if old. And furnished, since I couldn't afford to buy any furniture. The first piece of furniture I would buy was a Lane sweetheart chest, spending $98 plus tax. I was making $125 a week.
We still have the sweetheart chest.
We must have been idiots.
But I would do it all over again.
Over at Faith Barista, Bonnie Gray is hosting a blog link-up on “love.” To see other posts, please visit Faith Barista.
Photograph: The two idiots sometime after 1973, like 35 years after 1973 – at their oldest’s son wedding in 2008.