Donna O'Boyle tagged me on her "Embracing Motherhood" blog the other day, and while I don't think I'll tag anyone (all the usual suspects have been "tagged" recently), I can never resist an opportunity to brag about my sweetheart. And so ... without further ado, everything you ever wanted to know (and then some) about our love story.
Where did you meet your husband?
We met at the University of Michigan Ballroom Dance Club. I’d joined the club a few months before to get ready for my best friend’s wedding – and because I had recently moved into the area and was having difficulty meeting people. My life had become too predictable routine of work/church/eat and sleep in front of the TV. Shortly after I met him for the first time, Craig and I both (independently) joined a committee to write the club bylaws. I had the group over to my house for lunch, and Craig gobbled up three of my lemon tarts! The rest, as they say, is history.
What was the first thing you said to your husband?
”I’d love to!” (He had just asked me to dance.)
Where was the first kiss? first date?
Our first official date was when he invited me and my border collie, Missy, on a picnic at Gallup Park. The park is split down the middle by the Huron River, and we sat beside the water and ate our sandwiches, with Craig stopping periodically to toss Missy’s favorite pink ball into the river for her to retrieve. One toss landed in deeper water than she could reach, and she looked at us plaintively … Craig stripped off his shoes and waded into the mucky river to get her toy. Later, when she spit her ball off on the bridge, he won my heart by bringing her a replacement on our next date.
To Craig’s great consternation, we didn’t kiss on the first date. He tried, but I had a policy against it, so all he got was my cheek. On the second date, though … well, what can I say? The way to a girl’s heart is through her dog.
Did you have a long or short courtship/engagement?
We got engaged four months after our first date. Married about nine months after that. It was just right.
Where did you get engaged?
He created a website for me to broach the subject. But he actually gave me the ring at the top of the Renaissance Center in Detroit. At the time I think it was called the “Western.” It revolved and gave us a spectacular view of the city. The whole restaurant clapped when he got down on his knee!
Where did you get married?
St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Ann Arbor, MI. It was a steamy day … July 31, 1999. I don’t remember much but the music … friends played cello, flute, piano (my cousin), and my favorite cantor sang “Be Thou My Vision” as I walked down the aisle. I was a week shy of my 35th birthday, Craig was 45. Definitely worth the wait.
How did the reception go?
Great. We had one of our ballroom friends DJ the event, and teach the guests how to swing dance. Fifties theme … we gave prizes for the best poodle skirt. No wedding cake, but Barbie-and-Ken in wedding gear atop a hastily purchased Kroger cake (long story); instead we had mugs made up with our name and date, and had guests make their own sundaes. Kids had their own reception, complete with heart-shaped piñata. It was hot … but at least we had air conditioning in the church hall!
How was the honeymoon?
Two weeks after our wedding (another long story), we left for Italy. I wore my dress, and we were presented at John Paul II’s Wednesday audience. I’ll never forget how blue his eyes were, how fatherly. After a few days in Rome, we started a bus tour that took us to twelve venues in ten days: Florence, Milan, Assisi, Capri, Venice, Sienna, Genoa, Pisa, Sorento, Pompeii, Verona and Lake Maggiore. Next time, we’ll skip Capri and Venice and spend a bit more time in the Lake region. Went to Assisi and saw Francis, but couldn’t get in to see Clare (the chapel was under construction).
In retrospect, it wasn’t the most relaxing way to spend a honeymoon, but it was an unforgettable trip! (Our guide always made sure Craig and I got the “honeymoon suite” at the hotels we stayed in. Everyone else got twin beds!