In the early 90s, I worked in a large organization that had its own print facility. The manager's name was John. He was a pleasant fellow, but he had an odd stutter, unlike anyone else's I'd ever heard - he repeated every word twice. So, for example, I would arrive at the Dutch Door for their department and he would smile his way over and say, "hello hello Jean Jean how how are are you you today today?"
I was at a point in my life where I was wearing an engagement ring but ... it was to Mr Hem and Haw and geee I don't know ... and would you believe, we got into a big fight over John! Because I walked down to the Print Shop one day and there was a big party going on - John was getting married!
John was getting married?! The geeky guy with the double-word stutter was getting married, while the handsome, well-spoken, athletic, ok slightly quirky but so am I and how he loved my daughter!, I was engaged to, couldn't move past the ring?!!
Needless to say, my engagement ring was broken within about six months or so, if I remember right ...
A few years pass by; a world passes by, in my own life; I've changed jobs, for one - oh, there are constants, certainly - one of which was that I always worked as an election poll clerk ... This year, we are shorthanded, ergo, they are sending someone in from another district ...
In walks a woman whose appearance screams I AM A DYKE WHO BELONGS AT THE NEAREST GAY PRIDE PARADE - in fact, some people actually didn't even think Kay was a woman ;- However, as the long day went by, even the slightly suspicious older ladies melted, when they heard Kay talk endlessly about her baby boy, even showing his first professional portrait she just so happened to carry in her wallet (well - of course she had a WALLET!) ... In the ebb and flow of conversation, we learn that she is one of the only female prison guards in a notoriously tough mens prison - well, gee whiz! that wasn't any shock to me personally! ... Now, this was circa 1991-ish, and times were different than they are today, and I figured to myself, 'Ok ... so she married a guy because she wanted a baby. I get that - somewhat. I mean - why MARRY?! Or maybe its compromise on both sides?!' My mind went spinning and spinning with questions that not even I - as tacky as I can be at times! - could just pop right out and ask the woman with the Marine Drill Sgt. haircut.
AND THEN HER HUSBAND CAME IN WITH THE BABY, AND I WAS LITERALLY FALLING BACKWARDS INTO MY CHAIR, AS HER HUSBAND SMILED DIRECTLY AT ME AND SAID - JEAN JEAN IT IT IS IS SO SO GOOD GOOD TO TO SEE SEE YOU YOU AGAIN AGAIN!
I knew John enough to know - nooo, this wasn't a compromise marriage; the man was as straight as a plumb line. But - how? and how did this baby --? and why? -- my poor head just wouldn't stop! but thank God my mouth was stopped-up, because Kay actually worked for us several other times ... once she told a marital story - the kind bored women with no voters share - about how John had been distracted in traffic and bumped the car in front of him ... and she put her hand on his arm, and said, "Let ME take care of THIS." We all tittered away in girly giggles, with knowing glances at one another ... We also learned that John's parents - two hardworking, middle-class souls - honestly never thought there son would get married, and so - "but - we INSIST!": wedding present: they bought them a new house!
Oh boy, I remember thinking to myself - this is going to go like a lead balloon at divorce time .... because - how else could this story end, right?!
So I was just sitting here and guess who came to my mind???
Ahhh, in the age of Google and social media, you know ....
I was sad that Kay had passed away at age 62 of heart disease, after a distinguished career as a sports official (no word on her former employment), but what stopped me completely and made me re-read was - one of the survivors is HER HUSBAND OF 26 YEARS, JOHN
There were TWO children listed, and they were far much more easier to locate, being of the technology age ... both are or have been, college students of the highest order, community-spirited - the whole list of things that would make any parent burst with pride! The daughter - well, she reminds me of another couple I knew, where both husband and wife fell in the homely as a holler-creek hen house category, yet there only daughter was beauty queen gorgeous! -- same here. The son looks like a younger version of his dad, without the glasses.
26 YEARS?! How -- and how did they -- and how did they even meet?! I'm a writer, and as the late, great Ann Landers always said - folks, I can't even make this stuff up!