Tuesday Tale - Annie

Someone - I don't remember who - but I'm willing to bet it was Hyphen Mama - asked me a short time ago if I would tell the story of how Annie and I met. Read on.

It was October 8th, 1976. One month to the day after my 31st birthday. It had been a bit more than a year since the very painful and subsequently unpleasant breakup of my marriage. But by this time I had written a lot of really bad poetry and eased my pain, somewhat, and there were three of four girls I was seeing who seemed willing to help ease the pain, from time to time, as well. Of course, if any of them had known about any of the others, there might have been a whole new reason to write some really bad poetry, but I was rescued from my state of sin with the appearance, in my life, of Annie.

I was driving a bus for a living. I had been driving a bus for a little over a year. It was the longest I had held a job since coming home from Viet Nan in 1966. I didn't know it then, but that period of time, starting with the breakup, marked a turning point in my life, and all of that really bad poetry marked a turning point in my mental life, as well. I was getting well, from a problem I didn't even know I had until much later. And the day Annie stepped onto my bus was the last day I suffered from PTSD. Not many people can point to an event or a day or a time that marked the end of a mental issue; one usually gets better gradually. And getting better was gradual for me, too. It's just that I finished getting better in one day.

She got on the bus at the east end of the run. She had been to see the Orthodontist at Rush Presbyterian, and was on her way home. She had come out from the city on the 'EL' train, and transferred to my bus, which would take her the rest of the way home.

The bus was mostly empty. Middle of the day riders, my 'usuals', little old ladies with black leather shopping bags, on their way home from cruising the bakeries and the banks along Cermak Road in Cicero and Berwyn. So we chatted. She was home from school to visit the Orthodontist. University of Minnesota at Winona. Her home was in Brookfield. She would be home the rest of the week. She was going back up to school on Sunday.

As she was stepping off the bus I asked her if she would like to go to a Paul Stukey (Paul, of Peter, Paul & Mary)concert at Concordia College the coming Saturday night. She said "Yes". She resumed her seat and wrote down her information and we talked a bit more as the end of the line was nearby and she rode through and came back to her stop.

That was Thursday. Friday was interminable. Saturday wasn't any quicker. I blew off the dates I had for Friday evening and night (Yes, two dates. Yes, I'm a pig.). I couldn't help it. All I could think of was Annie. But finally, it was Saturday night.

I drove to her home and picked her up and as we were driving the 20 miles or so to the Campus of Concordia College, I asked, thinking "Well, she's in college, she looks like she's about 21", "How old are you?"
She asked, "Why, how old are you?"
I thought, "No, I'm not going to play this game', so I said, "I'm 31".
And she said, "I'm 16".
...."Homina,Homina,Homina,homina", I said, channeling a speechless Jackie Gleason.
Visions of the Cook County lockup danced through my head.
We drove for a while in silence. I was stunned. I was tempted to turn around and drive her home.
Then she asked, "Why, how old did you think I am?"
"21", I said.
"Well," she said, "then just treat me like I'm 21."
She was wise beyond her years even then.
We had a lovely time at the concert, followed by hot apple pie with cinnamon ice cream on top, and coffee, at a nearby Ice Cream Shoppe.

I never saw any of those other girls again.

November 17th is her birthday. In January of the following year, I asked her father for his permission to marry his then 17 year old daughter. I got permission. And in June we got married.
And for any one who might be curious, she didn't get pregnant the first time until well into 1980, almost three years after we were married.

I'm not that much of a pig. Just a little.


Theresa said...

I love that you remembered all those little details. A beautiful story :)

Jientje said...

What a sweet story Lou.
I can see why you cancelled two dates for her, 31 years later you're still happy together!
Of course,if you conclude a first date with hot apple pie and cinnamon ice cream, I don't think you can go wrong any more!

Nicole said...

Totally awesome :D
Thanks for sharing this part of your Life!
Lovely & a lovely wife you have!

Karen said...

Sometimes we just know when we meet the right person. I'm glad for you that Annie got on your bus.

Myst_72 said...

That's such a nice story Lou, when it's meant to be it's meant to be regardless of age!


Shadow said...

that's a heart-lifting story, this story of your love. look after her. btw, i don't think you're a pig, i think you're a treasure...

Michael said...

Is that autobiographical or is it a story you made up?
Its a nice story anyway, you are a excellent writer

Bama Cheryl said...

Nice recollections about your Annie. Thanks for sharing your memories. Amazing how those details stand out in such bold relief against your 31 years together. Congratulations!

Myst_72 said...

p.s. I wouldn't ever think you were a pig, a normal guy from the sounds of that story


Melissa said...

That is a sweet story. And I do like the fact you asked her dad first. I wish my spouse had done that. Although my dad probably would have said no, so maybe that's a good thing...:)

moneythoughts said...

That is a beautiful story. Nothing more needs to be said. I may want to come back and read that again. That is a beautiful story!

Employee No. 3699 said...

"She was wise beyond her years even then." Well yeah, she was in college at age 16! Wow.

"...."Homina,Homina,Homina,homina", I said, channeling a speechless Jackie Gleason." Haha, he was a bus driver too.

Lovely story. I'm glad you have your Annie.

Ash said...

Aw, I LOOOOVE this story! Makes me love you guys! Love is wonderful! Hooray!!!!!!

www.ayewonder.com said...

I was thinking the same exact thoughts as employee 3699. Funny stuff and congrats on 31 years.

Tash said...

So glad you found happiness Lou...so glad Annie got on your bus


witchypoo said...

I knew there was an age difference, but at that age, it is very significant. Homina, homina, homina, indeed. Were you thinking jail? Because I would not have given my 17 year old daughter permission to marry a man almost twice her age. In your case, I would have been wrong, but imagine if you had a daughter. What would you do?

Honeybell said...

I believe in fate, sounds like that's exactly what happened between you and Annie.

'Then just treat me like I'm 21'

I adore her!

hockeychic said...

What an amazing story. A little moment in life (Annie getting on your bus) and look what happened!

Christy said...

Whew. Given that I have a 17 year old.....

Heck, you have to give the heart what it wants!

(It's that kind of parenting that keeps me out of the PTA, btw....)

Hyphen Mama said...

Do you believe it was destiny? Fate? Your souls recognized each other and did not care about age and life experience?

I, too, love that you remember the dates and all the little details. That means tomorrow is the anniversary that you met.

Once upon a time when I was 17-18 seeing a thirtysomething man, my dad threatened to kill him. More than once. It didn't last. Never would have. There was no destiny there.

Momisodes said...

I am such a sucker for love stories :) I loved reading your story, Lou. So serendipitous!

The fact that you remember so much of when you first met is a testament to your love and how sweet you truly are.

Joyce-Anne said...

That was a very sweet story. It's impressive you can remember little details and dates. And, I don't think you're a pig for dating more than one girl at a time. What's important is you didn't see them again after you met "Miss Right" a/k/a Annie or SWMBO. Thanks for sharing your story.

maggie's mind said...

Oh, Lou. Wow. That is so very sweet. What I lack in belief in other areas, I believe in love. Yes, huge age difference that in general I would think could lead to disaster, but sometimes the heart really does just know, and sometimes it really does just work out beautifully. Everything you have ever said about Annie makes me think that you are perfect for one another, and I am so thrilled for you and so touched by your story.

Patsy said...

So, Annie found true love at age 16 while already in college. I would really like to sit down and visit with her sometime. She sounds like an amazing woman.
Her dad must have seen something special in you for his daughter and you proved him right. Yours is one of the great love stories with all the happy ending and all the rough spots. Thanks for share some of the things that have made you you. :)

Nan said...

Sweeeet! Marriage is not easy, and it really helps if there's true love, destiny and all that. Lucky you guys, and all right Annie!

redchair said...

Oh, you cradle robber you!! (Just kidding.) That was really the sweetest story, Lou.
I love that you remember the moments with such detail.

OHmommy said...

Wise beyond her years indeed. That was a beautiful story. I always wondered who drove buses through the streets of Chicago. I once rode with my friend's father in the EL, it was really cool.

On a personal note. I love love love your comments and can never respond to them because your blogger ID doesn't include an email. It drives me crazy because you have the time to leave behind witty comments and I can never respond. And I always respond to everyone, on most days. Bet you didn't know that. Please, please, please leave me an email on your blogger ID?

Eric S. said...

Ahh Lou, you share the most beautiful of your memories. Your Annie sounds like a wonderful person, and obviously "smarter than her years". It is fun to remember those initial moments when you recognize a soul mate. Thank you.

Tara R. said...

Such a lovely story. I glad you found Annie, or rather she found you.

anglophilefootballfanatic.com said...

I love that you shared the whole story - you've given snippets...her age & your reaction, how you'd met on the bus, how you asked her dad & got married before she was 18 BUT, that is so sweet. You're very lucky you know!

LceeL said...

Theresa: Thank you, Theresa.

Jientje: Yeah. That was good Ice Cream.

Nicole: Thank you, Nicole. She'll do.

Karen: Yeah, lucky for me.

myst_72: Meant to be meant. Yup.

Shadow: It takes one to know one.

Michael: It's as real as it gets. And thank you.

Bama Cheryl: Thank you, Bama. You're sweet.

Myst_72: Hmmm. Annie calls me a pig all the time. Although she usually mentions 'Horny Bastard' in the same breath.

Melissa: Hah! I thought he would have killed me. He totally surprised me. He said - with his very heavy Spanish accent, "You don't know how happy you have made me."

Moneythoughts: Thank you, Fred.

Employee: Yeah, she's smart.

Ash: Thank you, ma'am.

Ayewonder: Thanks, Mike. 31? Yeah - time flies.

Tash: Thanks, Tash. I hope you can find yours, too.

Witchypoo: I TOLD you I was a pig. What do you THINK I had been thinking?

Honeybell: Me, too.

Hockeychic: Yeah. Look what happened.

Christy: You ARE my kind of woman.

Hyphen Mama: Yup. Tomorrow is the day.

Momisodes: Awwww, shucks. Thanks, Sandy.

Joyce-Anne: You're more tolerant than those women would have been. I like you.

Maggies Mind: I went through hell to find her. But she saved me.

Patsy: When I think of some of the things we have been through together - I wouldn't have been able to do many of those things without her - but in a way, I'm sorry she has had to see so much pain.

Nan: Thank you, Nan.

Redchair: Thank you, Vikki. The facts are burned into my brain.

OHmommy: It was me driving all those busses.

Eric S: Thanks, Eric. You're a gentleman.

Tara R: Yeah, we kind of found each other.

Lola said...

Oh, Lou, I love that story!

Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

What a fun story, Lou! Back when you were taking questions, I asked how you met and/or fell in love with the people in your life. I knew you had to have a good story -- and you sure do.

I love cinnamon ice cream.

Jennifer said...

that is so sweet. I love, love stories and yours is a true story of love and fate and how it brought you and Annie together. What an amazing story, and I love that you remember all the dates and details.

you are a total sweetheart and gentleman! who cares about the other girls before Annie that was just a stepping stone to the man you are today! :)

i dated a guy that was 10 1/2 yrs my senior... he was great, my parents like him and didn't mind us dating at all, I was 18 and he was 29, but for some reason I was wayyy more mature than he was (even at my immature 18-22 yr old phase) I wanted something serious and he couldn't get rid of the other girls he had on the side... too bad he wasn't more of a man like you. I loved him and would have stayed for always... but fate & destiny wouldn't have it that way... thankfully so though. I meet Bryan (although we knew each other in HS) at a funeral the day I walked out on him, when he answered the phone to talk to "her". things have a funny way of working out don't they??

Congrats on a great relationship all these years later! you are one hell of a good man, and I know that Annie has to be a very special lady!

lots of love!

Lady Language said...

A man after my own heart - I can't say my husband recalls the first time we met :-) Lovely story!

warriorwoman said...

That's cute.