Thursday, May 17, 2012

Twenty-six and Counting - In the Beginning

I was headed to St. Louis on a press check (when a book goes to press, someone has to approve every “signature” or set of pages, five 64 page-signatures in my case).  It was my first press check and I was flying halfway across the country to be picked up by someone I didn't know and stay in a motel steps away from the plant because every four hours I was going to be called to “okay” another signature.  

An RR Donnelly printing press

The plane was full of males in their pin-striped suits. It was 1980.  This was the time of life when women were more and more in the workplace but still trying to think like men, act like men, even dress like men — but with a feminine twist.   I was wearing a pale lavender herring bone suit with a blouse that had a built-in collar that tied in a soft bow, and an A-line skirt, carrying my big bulky briefcase with way too much paper.  I was trying to avoid eye contact, hoping no one would sit next to me, when surprisingly, another female sat down. The gate agent (God bless her) had seated us together.   We were the only two women on that whole 727!  Even more surprising — this woman was tall, blond, thin, and confident — the exact opposite of me in every way.

Turns out that self-possessed woman was headed the same place I was, for the same reason, being picked up by the exact same person, and she knew that I was going to be on that plane.   Quickly, she dove right in and put me at ease by talking shop.   Not only were we both in publishing and knew lots of the same people, we even lived within four blocks of each other!  By the time the plane landed, we were already friends.  We would spend the next two days eating every meal together and shuttling between the motel and the plant.  But before we embarked on that initial adventure, just before the plane landed, she asked:

                  “Are you seeing anybody?”
                  “Not seriously.”
                  “I have a brother I want you to meet.”

And meet him I did.  Shortly after we returned back to Manhattan, she and her husband threw a cocktail party at their apartment.  I walked over and when I rang the bell, the guy who answered the door said, “Hi, I’m Christopher, com’on in.”  Her brother seemed nice enough. But after the first hour of chatting some I thought, “He’s nice, but he’s not for me.”

I was in her small galley kitchen chatting when her brother came in and I turned and said, “Your brother told me…” and she turned around abruptly and said, “That’s not Chris.  That’s my husband Barry!”  Barry looked sheepish, I looked stunned, and she looked mad.  Real mad. Mad enough to take a frying pan (or was it only a dishtowel?) and swat him while chastising, “I can’t believe you did that!  WHY did you DO that?” But he was laughing and I was laughing and then the REAL Christopher came over to see what was going on.

It would be six years of on-and-off dating before we got married and my adventure would begin.


  1. Great story! I can't imagine how Christopher waited six years to propose! He was a lucky guy that you didn't get snatched up by another fellow with good taste in women:)

    1. Well thank you Margee but that wait was a two-way be explored in future!

  2. I had no idea this is how you met!!!!!!