Oh boy! This one is a big deal. Marcia – still a nameless college coed – had two classes in the same building at the same time as me, and I began to see her frequently during the week at 9 and again at 11 in the morning, going to class and getting out. She always walked with someone, and I started feeling like a stalker, because I really wanted to follow her and find out more. She dressed a bit provocatively like most of the girls, with ridiculously high shoes (called stacks), and she nearly always had her hair wrapped in a bandana.

Clearly class was not socially important enough to actually “fix her hair,” so the bandana was a temporary cover.

I am sure that I wore blue jeans and a flannel shirt, like 99% of the rest of the students at that time. I am sure today I would laugh at my look, but at the time, I was one of the guys, blending in but trying hard to radiate cool. She worked in the library, which proved to be my road to meet her and assert my charm. I worked in a bar, and that was my standard approach to girls and anyone else. “Come see me at Jim’s. I’ll buy you a beer.” Marcia, on the other hand, was the butterfly of the library, extremely social, and I can’t tell you how many times I heard her supervisor say, “Marcia, you’ll have to tell your friend to leave now.” She sometimes checked out books, sometimes checked bags to make sure you weren’t smuggling books or documents out, and sometimes she helped you fix your library fines. A good girl to know. After visiting the library too many times, I managed to get her attention when I checked out twenty or thirty books at a time for my Elementary Literature Class. She made jokes about that, and I did my best to demonstrate my wit, and to charm her out from behind that counter and into my arms. It took some doing. She was dating some motorcycle guy at the time, who I hated without ever having met him. I had double duty, to win her heart and rid that same heart of this guy named Greg, who I heard years later married some local girl, had babies, got divorced, and was miserable.

Could have been worse. Could have been me.

So I convinced her to come out and play. On the night of the big date, I arrived on time. It was winter. I wore a long olive green army coat, which I believed made me look very cutting edge. I arrived at her off-campus apartment. I don’t recall who let me in, but Marcia was no where to be seen. I was told she was getting ready, but more and more time passed, and she didn’t come out. I was left talking to no one, with nothing to do, wondering if this was the tone being set for the night. Not good.

Finally, about 40 minutes later, she appeared, looking great, but acting very sheepish. She apologized immediately saying she could not remember my name. I couldn’t believe it. I was not upset that she didn’t remember my name so much (though that too was not a great sign of her devotion to me) but that she made me wait forever until she got the courage to come out. So out we went to Jim’s Pizza Palace to get something to eat and of course drink. We sat in a booth, and things started to pick up, and before long … well… that’s another story, but the ending is happy, and we continue to live happily ever after. We had much in common, farm background from Illinois, big family, liked to party, liked music, and quickly made some common friends. We lived together for a few years, quit school together, later finished school together, shared hard times, got married reluctantly (we wanted to be together but weren’t ready to get married. We did it out of convenience.) We moved to Argentina together, moved to Portland together, bought a house, and then got married in a real church in her hometown of Breese. The wedding was the most fun I ever had.