The Moment I Met My Wife

When I saw my wife for the first time, I leaned against a wall for support. She had just turned in my direction after stepping off the elevator at the far end of the otherwise unoccupied dorm floor hallway in which I was standing like the Scarecrow with dropsy.

I was twenty years old, and drunk. It was 1979. I had come to San Francisco State University after a year of working the graveyard shift at the Wrigley’s Gum Factory in Santa Cruz, California.

The second I saw her I thought, “The wall! I should lean against the wall! I’ll look cool and stabilize!” So I jammed my hands into my jeans pockets, and with all the nonchalance I could muster let myself casually slump to the right.

About half-way into my lean I became aware of how long it was taking me to actually reach the wall.

Too far away!

I crashed against the painted brick wall so hard I practically popped a clavicle.

By way of recovery I quickly assumed a posture that I desperately hoped would at least impress this exquisitely beautiful girl coming towards me with how cavalierly I dared to test the very limits of gravity.

And then she was before me.

And then I wasn’t drunk any more.

Turns out you sober right up when find the future you’ve always wondered about standing right in front of you, wearing a tan overcoat, and ever so slightly smiling.

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  • Zoomer

    That is WONDERFUL! I love those moments that are seared into the memory. God-lit moments.

  • Jerri Harrington

    That's a tribute! :) I'm glad you found each other! Jerri

  • Dennis Dawson

    In an unrelated note, but I thought I'd share, tonight is my 26th anniversary (the Juicy Fruit anniversary, according to my complementary Hallmark Calendar/Day timer). I am officially married more years than not (married at 25).

    My wife still has a couple of years to go on that, though. I'll keep you posted.


  • Matthew Tweedell

    If you could find a way to bottle that sort of instant sobriety (or whatever body chemistry induced it), you could make a ton of money off college students and alcoholics; plus, you'd provide a new solution to drunk driving besides designated drivers and taxis.

    BTW, happy anniversary, Dennis!

  • John Shore

    Plus tequila. (No–that was obnoxious of me to say. Thank you, Zoomer.)

  • John Shore


  • John Shore

    Not unrelated! Congratulations on anniversary! It IS weird, isn't it, to realize you've now been married longer than you lived BEFORE you married. I remember having that same time in my life. It's weird, yeah? Anyway, happy anniversary, Dennis. God bless you, your wife, and the drugs on which I'm guessing your wife depends pretty heavily. (Har! People: I went to HIGH SCHOOL with Mr. Dawson. He had a crush on me. It was pretty awkward. For him. I was used to it.)

  • http://none Don Rappe

    Good stuff.

  • Diane Bourg

    Woo Hoo! 31 years today for us. Been married 10 years longer than not. Also met my hubbie in the dorm at college.

  • Beth Luwandi

    Just delightfully classic!

    It's the epic Romantic archetype: Boy sees girl. Girl sees boy seeing girl. Boy meets girl.

    What a nice way to get her to notice you noticing her.

    And how did you know at this precise time that all your readers are just dying to know this?! Perfect timing after four Old Testament heroes. Nice.

  • awalkwiththee

    I saw him. In his purple scrubs. I thought "yep, he's gay." Now we have been married for seven years. Turns our he's not – well yet, anyway. Stranger things have happened :)

    Thanks for sharing, I'm sure you looked really cool slamming into a wall.

  • Dennis Dawson

    Everyone had a crush on John. It was the 70s. I knew him before the nose job.

  • Sandy

    I wasn't drunk when I met my husband, but I sure had that timeless moment when I looked in his eyes, and the only thing I could think was, "Oh, THERE you are!" We've been blissfully happy ever since. He is my safe harbor.

  • Latoya

    Love is such a wonderful blessing!! Met my hubby in college too..we were in the same class :) Just celebrated 2 yrs in april

  • mark

    WOW!!! I'd love to celebrate being married longer than I was alive before, but my name isn't Methusaleh and I waited for the right woman for 57yr-2mo-6da…..and I smoke—tobacco!

  • David

    Your first line reminds me of what my father used to say to me, hoping to keep me a good pure missionary's kid: "I didn't kiss or even touch my wife until the day we were married," he'd say.

    I was impressed for years until one day it dawned on me. She wasn't his wife until the day they were married.

  • Redlefty

    We were at a furry swinger party, me in my usual Tigger outfit but with leather chaps over it, and then I saw in my peripheral a glimpse of an angelic teletubby cavorting with two care bears…


    We met at college too. But I was sober, since it was a dry county and still is. Not kidding.

  • Ellen (Armstrong) Wr

    So – I've known John since the 4th grade. When I was at a slumber party in 6th grade, a Ouija Board told me that I would marry John Shore! It was never quite determined if the spirits were actually present or if Karla Wong was pushing the Ouija thingy around. Hmmmmm . . . lol

    Anyway, John, thanks for a fun post. That is so cool that you remember the first moment you two met!

  • John Shore

    Well, Ellen, I DID pick you to star in the play I wrote, right? So, you know.

    Then again, that Karla Wong WAS mighy crafty!

    Dennis: I can't believe that you remember when I got my nose fixed. Man, that was awful. But that's right! You used to keep that scrapbook all about me! I forgot about that. I thought it was a little scary, but … I appreciated it.

  • dreamphemera

    God! I loved this post — absolutely beautiful. Amazing how coming face to face with fate just stops you in your tracks, isn’t it?