Tuesday, June 24, 2008

20 Years Ago... Part IV

Part I
Part II
Part III

Finally, after Suzy and I became exhausted from our frenzy of conversation, some of the other gang from Indiana began to arrive home. Next, I met another life-long dear friend, future post-collegiate roommate, and hospital recovery driver (more on that another time, I assure you), Miss Jill W.

First of all, Jill encompasses so much that is good and light. And I mean that. Jill, who is known for her "Jan Brady style" long hair, her love of rainbows and all things Precious Moments, seems at first too "nice" to be real. Is she perfectly nice and happy all the time? Well, are any of us?
But to me, Jill has always been much closer to continuous joy than I can ever be. Meeting Jill that first time was like meeting a ray of sunshine. Seriously. An elbow pinching, adding the syllable "-ba" to the end of your name, ray of sunshine. She was fun and goofy and we became fast friends, especially when we realized that we had so much in common.

We are both 3rd daughters out of 5 children, with the youngest being the only boy. We understood our role in the birth order. We were the family cheerleaders. We wanted to keep the peace and get the attention we so desired. And given that, Jill and I were able to understand, more than most, how important it was to be able to have a "down" day.

You see, when you are the upbeat one, the happy one, the glass half full one all the time, it can get exhausting. I think Jill and I felt safe to let our lower emotions show with each other more so than we did with others. When we wanted to be in a bad mood, we would just let each other be in a bad mood. Man, that is something that is nice to have. And, typical to our personalities, it did not last long. So Jill and I basically had a really fun summer being happy and "rarely" grumpy together!


So then I met Monte T. (aka Mr. Suave) , George D. (aka: golden boy), and Jason S. (aka: flaming liberal - yeah, Jason and I got along great...NOT!) all from Indiana as well. Of course, there was no sign of this Scott guy, but I guess I did not need to find him after all, since the rest of the gang had already given me the ok!

Fast forward a few days, Holly and Dara, my Carolina cohorts that I had also just met, arrived from NC and it was move in day for me. There were 2 apartments side-by-side, thus they shared a common wall. I walked into the girls apartment and began to find places to stash my meager belongings. Recall that I did not have a bedroom, just a non-fold out couch on which to sleep. There was a bathroom in each of the bedrooms, however, so I picked one to use for the remainder of the summer and went to put my toiletries away.
My humble abode on Villa de Costa Drive
(yes, that is my stuffed whale)

As I entered the bedroom, I came upon an strange site. There, sprawled on the floor between the two single beds was a very long pair of skinny, hairy legs. I could see the owner of the legs was digging a hole into the wall, the same wall that attached to the boys apartment. I sort of cleared my throat and said, "Just what are you doing? You know we will have to pay for any damage to this apartment." But he just keep doing what he was doing, not really bothering to reply. When he was finished with his task, he stood up and kind of smiled, but just then Holly walked in to explain that he was putting a hole between the apartments to run an extra long phone line so we could share one phone line between the apartments, instead of paying for two. 

I was sort of impressed.
(Note for the younger generations: this was pre-cell phones, so way back in the dark ages your phone had to be connected to the wall with all kinds of telephone company fees and regulations!)

And who was our handy man whom I just encountered on the floor? 

This was the elusive Mr. Scott Hughes. I think we said a quick hello and then he asked if anyone want to go out for a beer. When no one took him up on it, he said, "Ok, I'll go by myself."

My first thought? Honestly? Odd. He seemed a little odd. But not in bad kind of way, just, I don't know, different.

So, being that I am over 40 and have gone through 2 pregnancies, my memory is not the sharpest, but as I recall we all spent the next couple of hours just getting to know one another and generally settling in. My buddy John came over to meet the gang as well and we all got along famously.

Scott reappeared a while later for a group dinner and then as we all sat around chatting, I found myself sitting next to Scott. He looked at me and said his first real sentence, which I remember quite clearly. He said, "You 21 yet?"

Well, in fact I was. Apparently, he was still in need of a drinking buddy. I thought, "well, they all know him, he seems pretty harmless, so what the heck." Despite the fact that he was 6'4" I very likely outweighed him, so I figured I was safe enough.

And just like that, we became friends. That's it. Just friends. I had an instant appreciation for his very dry humor and his seemingly inability to let things upset him. Like the time he asked a girl out and they met us all for drinks after work. And then she ended up continuing the date with someone else from our gang. I was completely indignant on his behalf but he appeared completely unfazed. I asked him why he was not upset. He just smiled and said, "it happens sometimes."

I loved that about him. He was the most even keel person I think I had ever met. Truly my opposite in so many ways. Which is why I guess I never thought about him in any real romantic way that summer.
But, then again, perhaps in the back of my mind, I did. Because, as cliche as it sounds, we actually made the "if neither one of us is married by 30, we will marry each other" pact that summer. I am not kidding. It is really weird. And we both thought it quite the little joke.

Until later that fall...

Scottie regaling a canoe load of Japanese tourists with corny Disney jokes

(Yeah, that's right...there is a part V!)

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