Meeting my Soulmate
I loved the story and photos Barb Cabot posted on her blog, of how she and her husband Mike met. They've been together over 30 years, and it was fun to see the "then" and "now" photos. I also loved the romantic story shared by Palma, and the photo of her with Brad in their early days. They inspired me today-- Valentine's Day-- to share the story of how Charley and I met and share a couple of our old photos too.
Charley and I found each other later in life. We met in August 1991 when he was 46 and just before I turned 36. He had been divorced about five years after a 20-year marriage to his college girlfriend, and had two daughters, age 16 and 21.
I was a very driven career woman and had never been married. I was engaged briefly when I was only 18 to my high school boyfriend (thank goodness that didn't work out!) and lived with my college boyfriend while we were in graduate school together in Philadelphia. We didn't end up taking jobs in the same city and drifted apart. Later I had a couple of relationships with older men, one of which lasted on-and-off for maybe eight years until finally he married someone else, a woman his own age. As I approached my 36th birthday, I had many close friends, a loving family (all 500 miles away), a great job, decent money, a nice home, but not that special person to love.
I decided to buy a brand-new BMW and worked with a salesman named Dan to make the purchase. The car I ordered was being shipped in from another state, and I made an appointment with Dan to go and pick it up. When I arrived at the dealership, Dan was waiting for me. "I have another appointment," he said. "But Charley will go over the car with you."
I didin't understand why Dan would make an appointment with me and then make another appointment at the same time, but I was very excited about this fancy car. So I shook hands with Charley and got in the car while he spent at least 30 minutes showing how everything worked. When I got out of the car, there was Dan.
"Well, what did you think?!" he asked. He was very excited.
"I love the car. It's great," I said.
"No, no! Not the car! Charley! What did you think about Charley??!"
Dan told me that Charley had seen me visiting the dealership and wanted to ask me out. Could he give Charley my phone number? (There was no other appointment...)
"Is he single?" I asked, a little bit wary based on past experience.
Yes, Charley was single, divorced for several years. The whole idea of a car salesman was a little concerning to me, but I thought back to a conversation I had with a friend just a few weeks ago. "You need to be more open to different sorts of men," she told me. "Everyone isn't defined by their job."
So I told Dan to give Charley my phone number. We had dinner a few weeks later and about six-and-a-half weeks after that we were engaged. My friends couldn't believe that I was marrying a man I had only known six weeks, and a car salesman too! The reality was that Charley was (and is) a very special man, with unusual talents and so many interests. He had spent most of his career in chemical sales and took the job selling BMWs as an interim job to get away from a job that involved 100% travel. Who would have ever thought I would find my soulmate while buying a BMW?! Neither of us were really looking for love just then, but we sure did find it.
I drove that BMW for 12 years. It had such a strong sentimental value to me, plus it was a very good car. And I still drive a BMW today.
We met in August 1991, had our first date in September, got engaged in November. We got married in May 1992 and had Kelly in July 1993. In less than two years my life really changed-- a husband, a roommate, a baby, a family. We went to London on our honeymoon, and that was the beginning of another new passion for both of us. We never would have dreamed the life that we've had together the past (almost) 17 years.
Here are a couple of old photos from our early years:
November 1991. A first photo so my parents could see their future son-in-law.
May 2, 1992. The first dance at our wedding.
September 18, 1993 (my 38th birthday). With baby Kelly, 8 weeks old.
May 2007 in Provence