It seems throughout this process of remembering, its been all about the guys in my life. From the death of my grandfather and cousin when I was very young, to my first male teacher whom I couldn't stand, to my friend Chris, and then last week my first boyfriend, Steve. So this week I will just stick with that theme (and in the next session I will share more about some of my best girl friends). Get ready, this one is pretty long, I remember very vividly much from certain things this year!
Senior year started out rough. I had a falling out with one of my best friends. Victoria, within weeks of school starting. We didn't speak for months. During that time I became closer to another friend of mine, Josh. He was the ex-boyfriend of another close friend, Erin. They had dated a long time and while he was upset about the breakup, and one of the only classmates I knew in my physics class (lots of labs that you need partners for- and I think he understood more of it then I did- gotta love teachers who grade on the curve!!). So Josh became one of the people I leaned on and hung out with for much of the year, as I was dealing with losing the friendship with Victoria. He was always very kind to me, and though we weren't as close as I was with Chris, I was so grateful for his friendship senior year.
By the middle of the year, February, things began looking up, as Victoria and I began speaking again, and shortly after that I met the man who would become my husband.
I was at church early one Sunday morning, going over the worship songs for the service. Roy, who had been my youth leader, was now the interim pastor as well as the only person who could play piano in our church. So he played (and sang) and I sang with him. I remember my friend Timothy, who was then the youth leader, pulling into the wet parking lot. Watching from the sanctuary window, Jon, dressed in a dark blue turtle neck sweater with an orange stripe around the middle, and dark denim jeans, with a nice leather jacket on, stepped out of the passenger side back door holding a box of donuts for our Sunday School class. I just thought "Boy, he sure is cute, I wonder how old he is..." I was still quite boy crazy at this age, always looking for that potential guy God had for me (remember I knew I wanted to marry young, and I was ready for commitment- which is what scared most of the boys away of course!). Timothy was in the Navy, so I guessed this cute boy was probably someone he invited from his boat. I was 18, so I hoped he wasn't too much younger, though I figured he probably wouldn't be interested in me since I was still in high school.
Roy and I had pretty much finished up practicing, so I headed for the building our Sunday school class was in, just sort of kiddie corner to the sanctuary doors (separate buildings). At this point, Jon says he remembers seeing me get out of my car the first time he saw me, I don't remember going back to it for anything, but maybe I did. During Sunday school, Jon was actually more involved then I was in the discussions. He even shared a prayer request that his grandma had recently had a stroke. (If you know him now you wouldn't be surprised at all by this, but back then, me being super shy, even around this group of adults I had known for years, I was pretty quiet and rarely shared much even for prayer requests, so I was surprised this stranger was so involved!)
Well this Sunday just happened to also be Timothy's birthday (at least I am pretty sure it was his- might have been Debby, his wife's though). So after church, most of the youth group went out to eat at Godfather's pizza. Well I was growing seriously curious about this boy, by this point all I knew was his name, John (didn't find out it was Jon for Jonathan until a little later) and that he was on Timothy's boat, so he was in the Navy. I jumped at the chance to ask Timothy more questions, and when he got up to get a refill, I followed him to ask my questions. I don't remember what I asked, but my biggest question was how old is Jon? I knew in the Navy he would be in trouble for being with someone too young- if he was older- since I was actually still in school. Well it turned out Jon was only a year or so older then me (actually only a week short of a full year older).
(This was while we were away at the competition, in the bus finishing up getting ready for the performance. I do miss this sort of stuff the most of all my high school experiences!)
From there I don't really remember when we exchanged number or whatnot, but Jon continued coming to youth group with Timothy, and sometimes (eventually always) I gave him a ride to and from the Navy shipyard about 20-30 minutes away from my house & from church. We talked on the phone and we chatted through AOL a lot.
One time we went mini-golfing with a group of friends. I got to be one of the drivers, and the ride was more fun then the actual game, that was until my other friend who also drove, insisted Jon ride with her (later I found out she liked him- though supposedly she was trying to help me get up the courage to ask him out! Oh teenage drama- how I DON'T miss it!!). I was worried though, because she was much more popular, especially among the guys, completely the opposite of me! But I truly enjoyed being with Jon so I endeavored to find out if he liked me. Once we established our friendship, I felt like I could be myself with him, and he made me laugh a lot.
Finally after talking to Timothy and checking with him about whether or not it would be appropriate, I got up the courage to ask Jon to go with me to my senior prom. I was so nervous! Anytime I had ever asked a guy before I had either gotten I flat out no, or been laughed at, but as much as I wanted to be- I just wasn't the 'sit-and-wait-patiently-for-the-boy-to-take-initiative' type of girl. Then I found out later, Timothy had somewhat misunderstood his role in my concerns, and told Jon I would be asking!! I was embarrassed more then angry by this. I am not one to hold a grudge, and Timothy is just not the kind of person it is easy to be really mad at! Either way, Jon said yes! I think it was the next week when I took him home, as I pulled into the street to drop him off outside the gate, he very shyly and sweetly asked if he could kiss me. I will always remember that! Jon says he was afraid to just try because he could tell I was the goody-two-shoes church girl, and he didn't want to offend me. Well I didn't want to say no, but I barely knew him still, so I offered him my cheek for a quick peck. He is still to this day embarrassed a little by that whole situation! But I think its absolutely sweet.
By the end of April, I had to go away for an extended weekend because our concert choir always went to a certain competition each year (more then one actually- but this one we did all 3 yrs I was in choir, while the others varied). It was across the state, about a 4-6 hr drive through mountains part of the way. I loved going on the bus tours! Our director always managed to get us nice tour buses instead of the uncomfortable yellow ones, especially if we were going somewhere more then an hour away! On the ride there, I was on the phone with Jon for a bit. I don't remember who called who, but Jon eventually got to his point. Very hesitantly but sweetly, he asked it we could be 'boyfriend/girlfriend' (he didn't ask to 'go out' like any boys in my school would've) and he sort of stumbled over the words like he was embarrassed and not sure how to exactly phrase his words. I was absolutely giddy as I said yes! We ended our call shortly after this though because we were approaching a tunnel. But I quickly told my friend Bethany who was sitting beside me, and before I knew it all the girls on the bus were giggling over my phone call!
(One of our 6 prom photos, and my absolute favorite! My sister was so angry that I got this dress because she wanted it for the next dance she went too, but she didn't like hand-me-downs and I wasn't the same size anyway.)
Then it was time for my prom. May 10th, just a month before graduation. I was so excited to officially have a date to this major event. We made reservations to go out to eat at a nice restaurant with Josh and some of my other friends. We had a group of just over 10. Jon was a perfect gentleman! Even though I drove, he opened doors for me and even paid (another something fairly new- I was usually the one who paid for things even with just friends since I was the one with a job!).
Then we went to the dance, which was okay in terms of a dance, like I said, what made it really great was that I actually had a date! Oh and our teachers were our valets for the evening (nothing like that for any of the other dances). I believe it was my physics teacher, Mr. N, who took my car. Jon and I spent the evening hanging out and talking when there wasn't a slow song on. We got 2 packages of photos done- I wanted plenty of documents of my big night with him! And he very kindly danced with my friend Shannon at my prompting. She didn't have a date, but had come with our group, and I remembered how much I hated sitting out all the slow dances with all the guys taken, I didn't want her to feel like that all night. (And she didn't, between all the guys in our group, I don't think she sat out any dances though she was the only one dateless!) Eventually the evening ended and I took Jon home.
I know people assume teenagers don't really fall in love, but instead lust. But I knew very early I loved Jon. Despite all my boy craziness, I just knew (and so far I am not wrong!!). Later that month we said I love you and kissed for the first time.
Jon was there for my graduation, he bought me a pair of gold angel earrings because he said I was his angel (though I never wore them because they weren't my style- he still struggles with finding jewelry I will actually wear).
About a month and half after graduation, on our 3 month 'anniversary', Jon ended up having to work, despite date plans with me. So the next night I planned a big night for us. We started with miniature golfing, then we went to a movie- only there wasn't anything romantic playing, so we saw Tomb Raider. Afterwards we drove down to the waterfront. It was dark and deserted but nice and quiet- small town so we weren't worried or anything. I had a picnic packed of some sandwiches, sparkling cider and strawberries with whipped cream. We had previously talked about marriage, he even asked sort of playfully once before, but we decided that wasn't the 'real' way he wanted to ask. But being the girl I was, I was impatient. I knew what I wanted!! So I stood up and asked him to get on his knees, which he did. And then I told him to just do it, and he did, he asked me to marry him, though he was upset to be prompted and not ready with a ring to give me then. Of course, after all of that, I said YES! And on the way home he called his mom to tell her. Back at home (by this point he was regularly sleeping on our couch, with my mother's not to thrilled approval- and no we never snuck him into my room, I was a good girl after all, since it was getting expensive to drive back and forth so much each day- I drove him to work each morning, I worked in the same direction, and then picked him up afterwards- note to my own children- this mama won't ever allow that, so don't bother ever asking!!), I had set up on the downstair patio, a radio with some romantic CDs, and I had wrapped purple lights up around the posts, and we danced under the stars. My mom cried tears of joy (and sadness that her oldest would be out of the nest soon) when I told her the good news the next day.
Well the months flew by, and Jon and I were married just before Christmas of that same year! Actually I found out on my wedding day that it was my grandparents (Dad's side) 45th wedding anniversary!! Though it wasn't planned that way, and I wasn't particularly close to that side of the family, I like how the timing was just perfect like that. And they were able to drive to be at the wedding from 2 states away (though they arrived that day and left the next- so I didn't get to visit with them really). We had an evening wedding, themed for my favorite holiday, we even had a Christmas tree up on our 'dance floor', and up until about 2 years ago, used the same tree and some of the same decorations every year. We will be celebrating 7 wonderful years of marriage this December.
This post is the 14th in a series of 15 I am doing to record my youth with other women at
It is also linked to Favorite Memories Friday at Mom's Toolbox.