Twenty two years ago I was in the middle of my junior year at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. I have a few specific memories, including the cold and fog that settled in on the valley that month. It was particularly cold in the old lecture hall I frequented. I can remember the large radiator heating pipes groaning and ticking as steam pushed through to warm up the huge room. I vividly remember a very tragic school shooting that took place just down the street from the UOP campus. At the time, there had been no "school shootings" and it was very new and very fresh and very close to home.
I also remember a very cute freshman girl whom I had met the semester before. From my perspective, she was way out of my league. To begin with, she attended the conservatory of music as a voice major (read: culture). She was also beautiful. I was in a fraternity, my clothing drawer consisted of sweat pants and jeans, and my love for music began and ended with Jimmy Buffett. Needless to say, it took me a few weeks to work up the courage, but I remember visiting her on a Friday afternoon and finally getting around to ask if she would like to go out together on Saturday night. Much to my surprise, she said yes (I really thought she had her eyes on another guy...which turns out I was right).
I picked her up in my old '67 Mustang and the whole date consisted of two sandwiches and sodas at TOGOs. We walked around campus and then back to her dorm. I remember we had to keep it to an early night because she had to get up the next day and drive home to Fresno for some event. That's it. Just a sandwich, soda and a walk around school. It was very simple.
If I could travel through time and meet that young couple and tell them how that evening would eventually lead to dating and marriage and then to having eight children and thousands of new memories together, I wonder what their response would be. Kendra says that she was ready for marriage before I even showed up. I would probably agree, but at the time...I'm sure I was probably happy to just get a date with the beautiful girl with green eyes and long brown hair.
That was twenty two years ago tonight. I'm home writing this blog post while three of our children are sleeping upstairs. Oddly enough, Kendra drove through the cold and the fog with the rest of our children to attend a piano concert back on the UOP campus. I kind of hope she remembered that first evening together as she drove around the campus with the kids tonight. As for me, I'm glad she said yes.
Quietly making noise,