Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Our First Date


June 8, 1969 was our first official date … and our first kiss. I can still remember the butterflies in my stomach. He picked me up in his silver Corvette and we went to a restaurant in Saline.  I think it was called Leithauser’s, but it’s no longer there.  It was very fancy by my standards and I worried that I’d use the wrong utensil as my family never ate in places like that. Add to that my nerves that I was on a date with “Mr. West”!!  OMG … it didn’t seem real.  It was magical, but I had absolutely no idea on that night that we would marry just 2-1/2 months later.

For those who don’t know our story, Vern was one of my high school teachers. No, we didn’t date while I was a student (in fact, I was engaged to someone else my senior year). My senior trip to NYC was a huge turning point in my life.  I was having doubts about whether I should be getting married; was questioning the relationship; thinking I should go college to become a teacher. I can remember sitting on a curb at a rest stop along the highway coming back from NYC having a conversation with my friend, Kenny, about all of this.  He didn’t think I should marry Phil and helped me recognize that I didn’t think I should either. I returned to Sand Creek, broke off the engagement (that’s a story for another time) and headed into the school to see if it was too late to get into college.  I told “Mr. West” first and he took me over to the school guidance counselor, Mrs. Porter. I don’t recall the specifics – and I know my parents didn’t have the money to send me to school – but I was accepted at Grand Valley State College and began making plans to head to Grand Rapids

I had to make a speech at graduation. Who did I turn to for help? Yep, you guessed it … Mr. West.  He suggested I use Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a dream”. I liked how my speech turned out, but he didn’t attend the graduation ceremony to hear it. I saw him at a couple of my friend’s graduation parties and then saw him again when I returned to school to help the teachers with their end-of-year tasks. I was assigned to his classroom to pack up books and supplies, etc. As a thank-you for my help, he took me to Big Boy for lunch.  And so it began.  A spark.  A love that was meant to be.  A love that defined me.  A love I will carry with me forever.

I haven’t thought about this before … but I owe Kenny a really huge debt of gratitude. I had always been a pretty straight arrow, wouldn't think of doing anything ‘wrong’ or controversial, so I seriously doubt I would have had the strength to break off my engagement if it hadn’t been for that one conversation. Wow. One little conversation that changed my life.  Thank you, Kenny.

8 comments:

Miss. Him said...

What a neat story! Yay for Kenny!

Kerrie said...

Thanks so much for sharing, beautiful!♥

jaloysisus said...

What a great story, Dianne; I didn't know that about Vern. When I took my first job as a school counselor in Reedsville, Wisconsin, Gwen and I were best friends with an English teacher who worked with me and his wife. He too had been her teacher in high school, and they had a very loving marriage. We've eaten at Leuthiser's Restaurant, it really was a nice place. I hope you'll keep telling these stories about your early love.

Am I Truly A Widow? said...

Diane what a great memory. Thanks for sharing it for us to read also. Its weird how little special memories suddenly mean so very much! Very precious.

Sandy said...

That was a treat, to read about your start with Vern, and I am sure remembering it was good for you, as well. Thank you so much for sharing it.

Jill Schacter said...

Always love hearing your story and the way you tell it Dianne.
xx

Patience said...

Love this story, Dianne! You and Vern were meant to be! You had to make a speech?....were you Validictorian?

A Myeloma Widow's Journey said...

Patience - Yes, I really do believe we were meant to be. Not Valedictorian; I was Senior Class President and Salutatorian.