Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The First Decade

Ten years ago today, I was substitute teaching at an elementary school in my home town.  It was winter break, my senior year of college.  I was twenty-one years old.  I was filling in for a second grade teacher and I had just lined up my students at the doorway of the classroom so they'd be ready when the PE teacher showed up to take them to PE.

The PE teacher was known as Coach Duck.  I'd seen him earlier that morning in the hallway.  He was cute.  He had boy-band hair and a really nice smile.  My heart kind of fluttered when he said hi to me.

I was wearing a jean skirt and a gray turtleneck and gray tights.  He was wearing Adidas pants and a Nevada Tigers t-shirt.  And tennis shoes.

When he got to the classroom, he said hello to me, told the kids to stand in line quietly, and then, with more cocky self-assurance than I could stomach, he strutted over to my desk and set down a small, folded piece of paper.  "Why don't you call me sometime?" he said.

Then he left, and I slumped back in the teacher-chair.  Did that just happen?  Did Coach Duck just pick up my students and drop off his phone number?  I was flattered, sure.  But I was not about to call him.  First of all, if you want to talk to me, ask for MY number, you arrogant jerk.  Also you wear sweatpants to work and you're athletic, which is pretty much grounds for immediate disqualification from my pool of suitors.  And I'd just gotten out of an intense and unhappy relationship, and I had been on a couple of dates with two different guys, both of whom were really cute and sweet and nice (although one reminded me of my high school boyfriend so much that it was a little bit eerie (I always wanted to call him Matt instead of Ryan) and the other one was too tall--I still refer to him as Too Tall John).

Anyway, I was home in Nevada for another week or so before going back to Columbia, and the last thing I needed was a date with some dumb PE coach (seriously, this was my judgmental attitude).  So I put the number in my purse, knowing I would never call him, and figured I had a good story to tell the girls when I got back to school.

A couple nights later, I was exhausted from substituting for a kindergarten classroom. (Newsflash:  Kindergarteners are super cute but totally incompetent.  These kids had to be reminded to blow their noses when snot was like dripping into their mouths, and they sometimes needed help zipping their jackets--and their pants.  I really thought children were more self-reliant by the time they got shipped off to school, but evidently not.  I knew it would be a rough day for me when the teacher's friendly notes to the sub suggested that I use her magical fairy wand if I needed to get the kids to settle down.  And THAT is why I teach college students.).  Anyway, the phone rang at my parents' house, and it was for me.


It was Coach Duck.


He had asked around, found out my mom worked at another school, and gotten my parents' number from the school directory.  So he called me and asked if I wanted to go out on Friday.

I mean, after all that effort, how could I resist?

Plus, you guys, he was (is) really cute.

He drove me to the Olive Garden, and proceeded to be so cute and charming and just so freaking nice that I had to see him again.  And again.  And again.

We did the long distance thing for a semester, spent all our time together the summer after I graduated, did the long distance thing for another school year (brutal!) when I left for grad school in St. Louis, and then he moved to St. Louis, we got engaged, and ten years later, here we are.

Brokenhearted, yes, but more in love than ever.  Here's to many more decades with the best guy I know.

And for your viewing pleasure:  A couple snapshots (don't adjust your monitor--they are slightly blurry) of us ten years ago.  Which do you love more?  David's floppy hair cut or his earring?  I can't decide.  I found them equally irresistible.  Obviously...


  1. Awesome! Great story. So glad he tracked down your phone #. Jocks aren't my style and I'm married to one too. Go figure!


    And Olive Garden! Classy.

    Here's to several more decades together...


  3. Awwwww!! You two were (are) just too cute. : ) The (gulp) 30th anniversary of our official first date is coming up shortly. We went to see "Altered States" with William Hurt at the student union building -- which is one of the weirder movies I think I've ever been to, but I still went out with him again (I don't think either of us were paying much attention to the movie anyway, lol). Happy anniversary, with many more to come!

  4. What a great story! I hope this next decade is filled with even more love (and much less broken-heartedness) for both of you.

  5. Gorgeous! We will chalk up 13 years together this year and we just had our seven year wedding anniversary Wishing for the same as you - many more happy years together, sans heartbreak.

  6. Awwww!

    Such a great story and you two are so stinking cute, then and now!

    (Joe had an earring once upon a time too.)

  7. haircut. Totally the haircut. Although with the earring, he looks like he would have done well in a boy band. So maybe the earring.

    Great story. So glad you have each other.

  8. I love this story!! Sly move with the phone number on the desk! Happy anniversary!

  9. Adorable, so glad you two have each other! Congrats on the first of many decades together!

  10. Ah, old photos really are awesome. :)

    Olive Garden is super classy. Even though I will fully admit that I still think the breadsticks and salad are delicious and totally, incredibly bad for you.

    I. cannot. believe the way he asked you out with that note! But, major bonus points for really making a full-on effort to stalk you.

    Love these stories. Keep em' coming!

  11. Can I just throw in another AWWWWWWW!!!! So freaking cute!

  12. I am so happy to know I was a little part of this!!!!

    I love you both, as does my entire family.