Saturday, February 13, 2010

Worth the Wait

Hey Everybody!  I'm going to do something dramatic today that I've never done before.  Ready?  I'm going to (gasp!) RE-POST!!  Wait, wait!! Don't go away, I can explain!  I wanted to write something about love and sweethearts and rainbows in honor of Valentine's Day, and then I realized I had already done that, back when I first started this blog.

Trouble is, back then, I was just starting out and the only people that read my writing were my siblings and a few very, very supportive friends! So, I figure this will appear fresh and new to the majority of you!  It obviously involves a topic that's very dear to me, and I sincerely hope you like it.  It's a bit long, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that you'll find it's worth the effort!  Here it is, from September:

My High School Sweetheart

I told my husband this morning that I was going to write about him, and asked if he was hurt that I wrote about our dog Trixie before I told his story. He said no, but that he'd really appreciate it if I mentioned in my writing today how intensely buff he is. I told him I could absolutely do that. Here goes...

Whenever anyone asks me how my stupendously muscular husband Alan and I met, I tell them we were high school sweethearts. "Wow," they respond, "how long have you been married?" "Fifteen glorious years!" I reply. Then I watch with delight as my inquisitor tries without luck to do the mental math. "Yeah, it doesn't add up, does it?" I usually say, then add, "It's a really great story, wanna hear it?"

Alan's family moved from Birmingham, Alabama to Macedonia, Ohio the summer before his junior year in high school. We met in August of 1979, one month before school started, because we were both in Nordonia High School's seriously awesome marching band. He played the flugabone, I was on the drill team. Alan remembers much more about our first meeting than I do. I remember being introduced to him and being told that he was from Alabama. I had never met anyone from the South. I asked him if my Northern accent sounded funny to him (smooth!). I don't remember his response, I was too busy drowning in embarrassment to hear. Alan remembers that I was wearing yellow satin disco shorts, saddle shoes (drill team required), and was sporting a hairstyle attempting to mimic Farrah Fawcett's. Yikes.

We didn't start dating right away. I was in love with another boy who was unaware of my existence (he apparently never saw me in my awesome yellow satin disco shorts), and Alan was busy becoming very popular even though he was "The New Kid." But somewhere along the way Alan decided he wanted me, and he set-out to win me over. It's important to note here that Alan was going through some pretty intense rebelling at this time. His family had just moved him from a place he loved to dreaded "Yankee Country," in the middle of his high school years. He was understandably angry. He grew his hair longer, wore nothing but black concert t-shirts and carried around an enormous chip on his shoulder. I never saw this side of him, however, because Alan treated me like a princess. He held doors for me and would meet me outside of one class to walk me to the next. He passed notes to me down the row in concert band that read, "You're such a FOX!!"  Ladies, I ask you, how could I resist this boy?

Then came the icing on the cake: Everyone knew how much Alan loved (and STILL loves) Rush, the amazing progressive rock band that performs loud, intense songs containing poetically intricate lyrics. I'm using the word LOVE here. Alan LOVED this band. I was more of a Barry Manilow girl. Actually, I was a HUGE Barry Manilow fan. I had all of his albums and could sing all of his music by heart (I know. Sooo cool.). So, Barry was coming to town. Alan skipped school (he later had to serve detention for his truancy), walked several miles to Blossom Music Center's box office and bought tickets to see BARRY MANILOW. They were tremendous seats, too: Ninth row, center. This amazing boy took me to dinner, bought me a concert t-shirt (white with black 3/4 length sleeves, classic!), and sat next to me as I squeezed his hand and completely IGNORED him the entire concert. Hey, I was swooning over Barry's awesomeness!! But when the concert fog lifted and we were driving home, I remember thinking to myself that this was the single, most unselfish, thoughtful thing that anyone had ever done for me. He had officially won me over.

I'd love to tell you that the rest is history and here we are, all these years later, married and blissfully happy. But we were very young, and we loved and fought like teenagers do.  We broke-up and reunited so many times that our mothers, who were co-workers at the local bank, would ask each other periodically, "Are our kids together this week, or did they have another fight?" We have very few pictures from that time, because we were constantly tearing them up in enraged moments of drama, tossing the remaining pieces into the air like confetti!

We did end on a good note, though. Alan joined the Marine Corps and was headed off to Camp Lejeune, I was accepted at Syracuse University and was going to begin my Broadway Stardom Pursuit. We wished each other luck and went our separate ways. He even came to visit me once after completing boot camp. All the girls in my dorm swooned over his buzz-cut and crisp military dress uniform. They told me I was crazy to let him go. I assured them we were both moving on. And move on we did.

I met my future husband in the drama department at SU. We fell madly in love and married just months after graduation. I had heard through the grapevine that Alan, too, had married and was happily living the post-marine life, going to school and working hard. One day, nearly four years later, my husband arrived home and announced that he didn't think he loved me anymore and that he was very sure he didn't want to be married. He quietly packed a bag and left, while I stood in the middle of our apartment, still too much in shock to properly react. I'll devote another day to telling the story about the months that followed. For now suffice it to say that I was completely flattened. Divorce is a horrible, nasty thing. It rocks you to your core and leaves nothing but emotional rubble in it's wake. It's been several years since that time and my wounds have healed, but the remaining scar tissue runs thick and deep. It sucked.

So skip ahead a few years later when I arrived home from work and saw my message light blinking. "Um, Hi. My name is Alan Emery. I'm looking for a girl named Joan Donnelly, we went to Nordonia High School together. If this is you, give me a call back. I'd love to get caught up." Rewind...play...rewind. It had been ten years! Turns out Alan had been through his own divorce. He asked his mom, now living in Nashville, TN, if she knew how to get in touch with me. She told him all she knew was that I was living in Syracuse, NY. This was before the internet, so this sweet man called Syracuse Information and asked for the listings for every version of my name; maiden, married, first initials, etc., and called them ALL. One girl actually phoned back saying, "I'm not the girl you're looking for, but if it doesn't work out, give me a ring!"

It did work out. I called Alan back and we talked for hours. The years melted away as we reminisced about times during high school, but there was also this new understanding and compassion for the divorces we had both just endured. We talked and talked, every night, for hours. Looking back, I can honestly say that I knew before we met again in person that I was already deeply in love and wanted to marry him.

We were married four years later in an outdoor garden gazebo at Disney's Yacht Club Resort. We actually were able to find ONE wallet sized, 1980 Christmas Dance photo that was spared from becoming "break up confetti" (owned by his MOM!). We had it enlarged and placed on an easel near the entrance table. We both stood looking at it that morning, shaking our heads in disbelief.

Recently, while attending the closing of our home here in York, we sat across the table from the previous owners. They had built the house themselves just a few years prior, but now they needed to sell it. They were getting a divorce. I couldn't help staring at their tired, pain-filled faces as we signed paper after paper. I wanted to reach across the table, grab both of their hands and tell them them that it was all going to be OK. I wanted to tell them that they'd survive this and move on and find someone glorious and wonderful and perfect.

Because it happened to me. I met the man of my dreams when I was sixteen. He was wearing a black Van Halen t-shirt and had hair that closely resembled Jimmy from Puff-n-Stuff. I married him when I was thirty. He makes me happier than I know I deserve. I look at Alan now as we sit together and watch the evening news. I'm still shocked by the intensity with which I love this man. I love the nostalgic history we share, and I love thinking about how much fun growing old with him will be. I'm so grateful that he left a message on my machine that day. I'm so glad I chose to wear those yellow satin disco shorts to band practice back in '79. But more than anything, I'm so happy that he has such an amazingly buff body with rippling muscles and zero-percent body fat. I'm such a lucky girl!!

Thanks for reading!!

65 comments:

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I love it!!
Amazing how similiar our stories are.

Know what I really love? That you have a marriage that is so terrific. Seldom do you see that anymore. Do you ever wonder if the reason we have these great guys is because we picked better the 2nd time around? I always wonder about that.

you got me thinking - I may have to steal your idea and tell my story now. :-)

Great Valentine Story!

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I hit post too quickly - I LOVED that he took you to Barry Manilow when he loved Rush. That was number 3 on my list Friday! Done completely for your happiness knowing full well this was sooo not his thing. That alone means he's a keeper in my mind.

RN Mama said...

What a beautiful story, it brought tears to me eyes!

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Alan said...

Thanks Baby! I love you too - this is #19 in a row. Probably like 21 or so if you add the early years.

KathyB said...

It was just as awesome to read this the second time. Love you guys so much!

Kellyansapansa said...

What a sweet story, thank you so much for reposting it.

My fiance has been divorced and I had just come out of a seven year relationship when we met. We often talk about how the pain and misery we went through makes us appreciate each other so much more than if we had met when we were much younger. We will certainly never take each other for granted.

It sounds like you and Alan have a wonderful thing together. xx

Bossy Betty said...

Sweet, sweet story! Happy Valentine's Day!

TechnoBabe said...

Wonderful story and storybook ending. This is real life and you learned so much in the years you were apart. Happy Valentines to you!!

citymouse said...

I am such a sucker for a love story and yours is definitely a good one! I managed to get it right the first time. (God knows how, since we were both so young.) We've been together for almost 29 years. One of our first dates was to a Foreigner concert (his choice not mind... but Rush would have beat them out any day). We actually slow danced to "Waiting For a Girl Like You" right in the aisle. Part of me hates that it's our song, but part of me loves the sweet memory. Sounds like you guys have a long list of good memories. Happy Valentine's Day!

THE OLD GEEZER said...

Thanks for sharing your life on the www
I love reading your stories.

I hope you have Happy Valentine's Day.

I'm praying Mrs. Geezer will take me out to a nice restaurant for dinner.

I'm hoping for Taco bell or Jack in the Box, but maybe I have set my sites to high.

God bless you, Ron

Monique said...

Thanks Joan! For all the years and for sharing your story at a time that I really needed something positive in my life! I'll love you guys always!

Eva Gallant said...

What a wonderful story. I loved reading it. Thanks for visiting my blog, or I might never have found you.

***Amy*** said...

What a wonderful story. Thanks for re-posting, I would have never gone back to find that one and would have missed out on a beautiful love story.

Happy Valentines Day!

GregoryJ said...

Every one is saying wonderful story.
I hate to repeat it, but that's my feeling also.
It's a beautiful story. I'm very happy for you.

Kakka said...

Thanks so much for re-posting this beautiful love story. I am so glad you found each other again and can we have a pic of his rippling buff body - LOL. Hugs from Perth xxx

rxBambi said...

I love this story. I'll tell you all about mine someday... but for now lets focus on you and this wonderful story. Very cool. And happy valentines day. And oh yeah, I wanted to marry david lee roth and I've never dated a guy that even owned a van halen t-shirt. I'm jealous.

Krista said...

What a lovely story. As a side note, there is no wikipedia entry for flugabone....your hubby should get on that.

Tgoette said...

Great story and very appropriate for Valentine's Day! Well done!

Kat said...

Oh for God's sake! WE went to the same SCHOOL! And not only THAT...we GRADUATED TOGETHER! Can you believe that? How odd is that here on blogger? You are my newest follower and you are a schoolmate! I am (was) Kathee Hegidus. I dated Ken DeRuyter at one time...you might remember me from that. I was somewhat into my own little group and not into making friends. I really wasn't outgoing. Now? Well if I were in high school now, I would probably have NO friends because I am TOO outspoken...probably from all those years of keeping my mouth shut! :) Anyhow, it's good to find a classmate here among blog-land!

Kat said...

Oh yeah, and this was a great story :)

Shan said...

Oh how I love happy tears!

Thanks for your kind comments on my blog, and for following!

PinkPatentMaryJanes said...

Now that's one helluva story. Thank you so much for sharing - it's just utterly beautiful and inspirational.

Christine said...

Your name was drawn as the winner for Project 4! I'll be sending you an email shortly!! YAY!!

Anonymous said...

lOVE YOUR STORY !!! BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN !

Darlene said...

Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting me.

I absolutely LOVE your love story. It is beautiful and how wonderful that you ended up together. Hope you and your love have a perfect Valentine's Day.♥

lagirl said...

Your Love story makes me think of the song, "Broken Road" by Rascal Flatts. What a journey with a sweet on-going end. Congrats.
I'm Deb, from NW Louisiana. I told my Love story in my current post. Please drop by to say "Hi"!

"Sweet Tea"
http://lagirlsweetea.blogspot.com/2010/02/old-boyfriends.html

Stacie said...

What an absolutely beautiful post, I loved reading this! Thanks for sharing; it's so well-written and absolutely heartwarming!

JennyMac said...

Love your love story...and your man has quite the outstanding sunglasses collection! :)

Pearl said...

Woman, that is hands down the best damn story I've read today. And I've read a LOT today.

You are one lucky person. Wow.

Your friend in MN,

Pearl

Being Me said...

I can't see the screen for tears. What a magnificent story! You are lucky, lucky people :) I have to admit, when I read that you let this one go, I was like "noooooo but he walked miles! For Barry Manilow tickets!" (I saw him too, when he came to Melbourne about 15yrs ago - awesome show!)

Thank you for moving me to tears. I feel all warm and gooey inside now!

Christine said...

Thank you for visiting my new blog. I will have to come back and read more at a later time. Just wanted to say hello. :o)

blueviolet said...

It just warms my heart to know that you found each other after all those years!!

I love reading wonderful love stories like this one!

Happy Valentine's Day to you and your love!

lifeshighway said...

I loved your story. I love anyone who would take detention for Barry Manilow tickets.

Happy Valentine's Day.

kim Clayton said...

great story! I love happy endings. Thanks for sharing it with us. And thanks for following my blog.

Wacie's Way said...

What a great story!! Thanks for checking out my little blog . . can't wait to learn more about you!

rinniez said...

awwwww sweet.
thanks for dropping by blog, commenting and following!
really appreciate it!
xx

Jaime said...

great story. happy valentines day

Ottavia said...

Thanks for stopping by..i don't like mama..Happy Valentine's day!

Caffeine Court said...

This is too weird. We are exactly the same age, we were both actresses and we both went to SU in 1983. (I transferred out after sophomore year!)

And now we meet on our blogs!!

LOVE the story of how you met your husband. It was truly meant to be!

Mercy said...

Loved your story. There is just something about being with the person you are meant to be with. No matter what happens, you both know you are in it for the long haul and you will do whatever it takes to make it work.

Tammie said...

i love this. what a great story!

Tammie said...

oh, and isnt barry manilow just the best? im still cursing my mother for not having named me Mandy.

"And so our stories go..." said...

How romantic. I love your story and the pictures.
Mary

"And so our stories go..." said...

You would make a great Sensational Woman for our blog, Writing Without Periods. Would you consider it? If so e-mail me.
Mary

Miss Fanny said...

What a beautiful story! I am so glad you re-posted it for those of us who just started following you.

Heather said...

Wonderful story. Thanks for sharing :)

Underfundedheiress.blogspot.com

SPEAKING FROM THE CRIB said...

i am a fellow ohioan as well and had a very similar story with my HS sweetheart. Broke up in HS, reunited late in our college years. married. divorced a few years later. so it didn't end as well as yours, but i still enjoyed reading the story.

Rachel said...

I read every word and chuckled throughout! What an amazing love story! If that isn't fate, I don't know what is :)

Heatherlyn said...

That was beautiful, seriously. Thank you for reposting!

Sinful Southern Sweets said...

Girl! You got yourself a southern gentleman!?!? Rare, rare find outside the heart of dixie:) I loved this story. Thank you so much for reposting. I'm new to your blog and now I'm a follower.

Terry said...

Wait, wait, WAIT one freaking minute!!! I went to Nordonia!! and IIIII live in Macedonia...still!!! What the hell?? I graduated in '85.....too weird too weird....Loved this story....!!!

Delana said...

my first question is also...what is a flugaphone? I LOVE your love story. Your observations about divorce are so real and your love story even more so...because it's now! Happy belated Valentine's Day to you both. I'm reading your old stories but haven't come close to this post last year so I'm so glad you shared it again. Thank you.

kelly@TearingUpHouses said...

the fox note had me cracking up! this is such a sweet post. i love the old photos of you two. especially your wedding picture!

kelly

Laurie said...

Awww ....I lurrvv this story! He's lucky too Anything!! Tell it again!

Samantha said...

I loooove this story!

& you described divorce so perfectly.

Melissa @ Cellulite Investigation said...

So glad you found me! I couldn't stop reading your V-day post. What a wonderful love story. My Valentine and I went through something similar. We went to the same college at the same time, studying the same subject, but we didn't meet until 6 years later when we ended up working in adjoining cubicles on the other side of the country. Thanks for stopping by the Cellulite Investigation. I'm your newest follower. Can't wait to read what other great stories you've got coming up...

Getting My Words Out said...

I loved it as much, if not more, the second time around. :D

Linda @ My Trendy Tykes said...

Aww! What a great story you guys have.
I enjoyed reading it.


A great Vday post indeed!
I kind of feel bad....all I posted was a picture of my hubby's bum. hmmmm

Holly Ann said...

What a great story... a great love story... thanks for reposting... you look so very happy in your pic and it comes through with your words...

Tater Tot Mom said...

That's an awesome story!

Rhiannon said...

This is a beautiful entry. It glows with happiness.

:)

Rianna said...

This is so gorgeous!!

Organic Meatbag said...

Barry Manilow... is there any unsuspecting couple that he hasn't seduced?? If he had his way, he'd be right there in the back seat with ya!

Ian said...

WOW....blog posts just DON'T get alot better than this!!!

Hey you mind checking out my friend as well? She did something similar to this :)

http://thedomesticationofapartygirl.blogspot.com/2010/02/my-fairy-tale.html

Helena said...

Just entering the party and love the story. Isn't it funny how people grow and mature over the years? You both grew to realize that your true love was right where you started. You just had to go full circle to realize it! Wonderful, thanks for the post!

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