September 8, 2009
Our favorite blogger, June Gardens, recently told the story of her courtship with Marvin, her husband. It was an interesting story that will be made into a movie someday. While I do not think the story of Beth and Steve will be nearly as romantic, entertaining, or emotionally riveting, I did think it would be a good idea to get it down in writing for Beth to see my side of the story.
First, before I forget, there are options for the actors that will play us. As you read the story you can picture the younger me played by Erik Estrada and the older me played by George Clooney. I was called "Ponch" by some people in my high school days due to my hair and the way I looked in a California Highway Patrol Officers uniform. Beth never saw me in high school, or she would have come after me sooner I reckon. Currently, I think George Clooney would be the best option as he has the dark circles under his eyes, the five o'clock shadow, and the big smile that lights up his face. He is also from Kentucky, as am I.
Beth has been said to either look like Geena Davis (not Bette Davis!) or Julia Roberts. I don't see Geena Davis because I always picture her in the movie "Fletch", and she is all lips and eyes. Beth's beauty is more like Julia Roberts to me with the soft brown hair, the big eyes, and the big, warm, friendly smile. Younger or older, let's go with Julia for Beth.
That takes us to the actual story. The background is that we were both living in Cincinnati. I was finishing my last year at Xavier University, and Beth was working on her stenography degree at the University of Cincinnati. That is probably not what you call the degree, but that is how I remember it. She was studying to be a court reporter. To pay our way through college, we were both working at a department store called McAlpins. It is currently called Dillards, but will always be McAlpins to us. The store was in Kenwood Mall, and we both lived fairly close. I lived in an apartment building called Kenwood Towers with a couple guys from school, Steve and Brian. Beth lived at home with her parents as she is from Cincinnati and was paying her own way through school.
I ended up at McAlpins since my mother worked at the Louisville, Ky. version, Bacons. She convinced me that retail was a good way to go for someone still in school. I got the job and was placed in the Young Men's department.
Let me digress for a moment to my dating history in college. I had not dated much during high school as I went to an all male high school in Louisville, and I wasn't especially outgoing back then (as opposed to now??). I had a wonderfully severe case of acne and no social skills to speak of. Therefore, when I got to college, I was looking for love. What I found was beer, but I did love beer, if that counts. Actually, I did date 3 girls while I was in college, one for my Freshman, Sophomore and start of my Junior years, another for the first couple of months of Junior year, and a third from the beginning of Junior year through most of Senior year. For those of you with a keen sense of the obvious, yes, I was dating three girls at the same time. The first girl had left Xavier for a nursing school in Cincinnati, so we started to not find time to spend together. At the start of each year, Xavier has an orientation program called Manresa that I was involved with as a small group leader. When men open up about themselves in a non-macho way (and look like Ponch Clooney), women are attracted to them. Therefore, I found myself dating one girl I met during a Manresa mixer, and starting to date a girl who was in my small group. The girl from the small group was apparently impressed with my ability to play the drinking game, "quarters", as I can very skillfully shoot with my mouth using the gap in between my front teeth. Don't be jealous. This was all while the other relationship was winding down. It was a weird time for a homely redneck from Louisville. Anyway, long story short (too late), I ended up dating one of the girls for the last two years of college.
We broke up in January of my Senior year on the weekend of Martin Luther King's holiday. I remember since it was a three-day weekend during which I went home to visit my parents. I lived in an off-campus house at the time with 5 other guys. My girlfriend hooked up with one of these guys that weekend and this seemed like a good reason to break up. I am not bitter about it at all, but sometimes when I think about it, the bile rises in my throat until I can taste it in my mouth. Well, maybe I am a wee bit bitter.
After this incident, having a relationship did not seem like a good idea, so I decided to just try to hook up with girls for a while. As it turns outs, my "hook up" skills were not only out of practice, but I forgot that I lacked social skills and looked like George Estrada.
Then I moved away from Xavier's campus with the aforementioned roommates, and starting working at McAlpins while I finished my last semester of college. I was on the 4 1/2 year plan, which parents sending their children to expensive colleges really enjoy. Therefore, student loans galore, a car payment, and rent payments forced me into the workplace.
Whenever I mention my early days at McAlpins, Beth remembers me trying to date a girl named Michelle Frost. I remember her name because she and I were in a cashier training class together and the fake American Express they used had the name Robert Frost on it, which was her brother's name. Yes, she was cute, but made it rather clear she did not date boys that looked like Erik Ocean (too abstract?).
Then one day...