No Regrets

Twenty-five years ago yesterday I got engaged.  August 9, 1985 at 6:40 p.m. at 1010 W. Upsal Street in Philadelphia. 

The Timeline:

June 1, 1985 – met at a party in Devon, Pennsylvania.  I was 24 and none of my girlfriends wanted to go to this party, so my parents drove me.  After we stopped at a McDonald’s they said jokingly, “Go find yourself a husband.”  I promised I would do my best.  The party was hosted by a man I didn’t know.  We were talking on the phone and realized we thought we were talking to other people.  This did not stop a forthcoming invitation.  Directions to the party were delivered to my office.  I summoned the courage to attend alone – after all, I was a sorority girl – a Lafayette College graduate – I could handle this situation.  Upon entering the house, which was empty, I came to learn that it was occupied by four attorneys who were moving out, and this was their swan song gig.  A yellow lab in a bandana pranced about, and I was the first to arrive.  At this point I whipped out the cigarettes and started to smoke.  Paul, who was the one who invited me, was a really nice guy.  We chatted and I waited patiently for another warm body to arrive.  Finally, people started showing up and I began mingling with a bunch of unknowns.  At one point I turned to flick my cigarette ashes in the sink (no ashtrays available – everything had been packed) when I turned around and a voice said “Do you have any good drugs?” to which I replied “I don’t do drugs.  I’m on a natural high.”  Of course I was thinking “Who is this guy with the drug questions?”  He was wearing a pair of ripped jeans, an old shirt and had not shaved.  Totally unimpressed, we chatted and I felt very comfortable because I had no interest whatsoever in this fellow.  I whipped out my best stories and we laughed it up for the better part of an hour.  He introduced me to some of his friends.  Eventually the phone rang.  This was the dark age of communication (the Pre-Cell Era).  I knew it was my parents.  I said “I think that’s for me” and answered the phone.  Sure enough, it was mom and dad.  I said “Pick me up down the block.  I don’t want anyone seeing me get picked up by my parents.”  I turned to the scrungy guy and said “My driver’s en route.  I have to go.”  He asked for my number. 

June 8, 1985 – First date.  He pulled a Woody Allen move and kissed me well before the meal.  Might as well get that out of the way.  Impressed by the kiss.  Less impressed by the 1967 Buick GS with the 455 engine named Betty Lou.  Not quite sure if he’s on the up and up or a serial killer.  Risky, but worth a shot.

June 9, 1985-August 8, 1985 – 7 dates in this time period.  Realize the skanky guy who fixes cars is actually an Ivy League educated person whose father is a professor and mother has a master’s degree.  Pedigree improving.  Mom and dad approve. 

August 9, 1985 – Going to his parents’ house to meet him and go out to dinner with friends.  Start discussing random things, and worm my way around to “What are your intentions?”  He states “If I had any money I’d ask you to marry me” and I reply “Let’s worry about the money later” and he says “Will you marry me?” 

Case closed.  Married September 20, 1986 in New Hope, Pennsylvania before 72 friends and family.  No regrets!

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3 Responses to No Regrets

  1. Karen Lynch-Schirra says:

    Wonderful hearing your courtship again! However, you didn’t include what you had to eat at each meal. ONLY YOU, would ever remember in great detail the meals that you shared!

    Happy Upcoming 25th Anniversary!!!

  2. Janet says:

    Aww, that is so sweet! I never heard the story of your courtship. You got a prince!!!

  3. Colleen Cuba says:

    Hi Ellen – I am so enjoying reading your posts!!! This is my first time to visit your site – I love it! I had to post because the story about meeting your husband brought tears to my eyes – what a wonderful story and a wonderful couple!! Looks like it will be 24 years for you next month. Hope you are well. In the meantime, I will enjoy reading your posts:) Love, Colleen xoxo

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