How I Met My Wife
(or, If She Lets You Hurl on your Second Date, She’s A Keeper)
Many of you who know me have heard bits and pieces of the truly bizarre story of finding the lady who would be my wife. Having just celebrated our 20th Anniversary, and with my shiny new blog needing a good story, I present here, for the first time, the complete story of How I Met My Wife.
Back in 1988, I was single, working for Ameritech, living at home (a sci-fi fan living with his
folks? NO!), and crossing the country attending science fiction conventions. Early in 1988, I had met Grace Lee Whitney, the lovely lady who played Yeoman Janice Rand on the original Star Trek series, and had become a groupee, following her from convention to convention. She was due to attend a con in Houston in June, and the weekend before, a friend of mine was helping run a con in Dallas, so I decided to do a double-header.
While I was wandering around the Dallas convention, I met a lady named Tamy, who was selling some fannish stuff in the Dealer’s Room (I don’t recall what she was selling). Somehow, in the course of a brief chat, I mentioned that I was from Chicago, and she said she had lived in South Bend (Indiana) before moving to Dallas. We parted company, and I didn’t think anything unusual of the meeting.
The next day, my friend was supposed to take me sightseeing, but had to attend to some problem with the convention. She instead foisted me off on a guy, Bobb (yes, a twin “B”), and Tamy. Well, it was an interesting evening, with we two guys trying to out-do the other to impress our female companion. We even went up on the observation deck of Reunion Tower – an open deck, high up in the air, and (I later found out) all three of us scared of heights! Later on, riding back to the hotel in the back seat, I had leaned forward while talking to Bobb, when Tamy reached back and stroked my hand. In the interests of keeping my PG-13 rating, let’s just say that I had a physical reaction, convincing me I had found a VERY special lady. Bobb dropped her off at her apartment, and then took
me back to the con hotel. He stated he was going to pursue Tamy, and I told him I envied him, having the home court advantage. And thus I gave up on (yet another) failed attempt at gaining a girlfriend.
Next day, my friend who was running the convention invited me out to dinner with her and a number of friends. Little did I know, but this restaurant had a huge reputation for inflicting a variation of “Montezuma’s Revenge” on out-of-towners. It took about 5 hours, then it hit me HARD. I was throwing up and having “the trots” all night long. Not a pretty sight at all – and I was supposed to fly out the next morning. Well, Tamy and a friend of hers picked me up to take me to the airport – but that was NOT gonna happen. 10 minutes from the hotel, I got sick again. And again. We finally ended up back at her apartment (hers was the closest residence), and while I “prayed to her porcelain god”, she contacted the airline and got my reservation pushed back. I finally got into Houston around 6 pm, over 5 hours late and totally wiped.
The rest of the weekend went better. I got to spend some time with Grace, and I ended up flying home, tired and a tad bit depressed that I would probably never see Tamy again.
A couple days after I got back, I decided to call Tamy, just to say “thank you” again for taking care of me. I mentioned something about Bobb, whereupon she stated she hadn’t seen nor heard from him since the convention! I immediately swore to myself that this one was NOT getting away.
Well, as summer passed into fall, I flew her into St. Louis in August for a convention – where we spent the weekend together – and to another convention over Thanksgiving weekend in a suburb outside Chicago. And in between June and November, I regularly called her for a couple hours almost every day. I joke that when Ameritech built a new HQ building in downtown Chicago, I ended up paying for two floors with those phone bills – regularly in the 3 digit range!
By the end of the November con, I was fully convinced. I told my folks that I wanted to propose to her. They thought I was nuts – we had spent less 3 weeks’ time in each
other’s company, and Tamy was just scraping by, while I had saved a fair amount of money by living at home.
But I wasn’t backing down, so I flew down by her for a week at the end of December, 1988. On New Year’s Eve, in the middle of the largest mall in Dallas, I got down on one knee and proposed with the ring we had just bought.
She moved back up to her folks in February of 1989. I bought a house in the suburbs just west of O’Hare, and on April Fool’s Day (SO appropriate), Tamy and I moved in together. We’ve been together ever since, having married in September of 1992. We’ve gone through her almost-fatal battle with endometriosis, through all my health problems, through being fairly well-off, flat broke and on the road back again.
Next year, I’ll have known her for a quarter of a century, half of my life.
And I count myself the luckiest man on the planet.