Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Thursday, July 3, 2014

My 'When Harry Met Sally' Story

Today I got word that Yahoo Contributor Network is closing in a month and all the content I wrote for them---32 pieces---is reverting back to me. YCN owned the rights and I got paid according to the number of clicks each article received. A few of those 32 pieces were actually entries into their contests and below is one of them. It was written in 2007 for a writing contest on how you met your spouse. Over the next month may be moving 4-5 other pieces over here. So please indulge me if they don't relate to my post-widowhood life....

My 'When Harry Met Sally' Story

If my life in the late 1960s had its own theme song it would have been ALFIE. When I close my eyes I can almost see a younger version of myself running around with my arms spread wide open, long flowing skirts giving me grace, and with a voice coming out of me that sounds like Dionne Warwick singing: "What's it all about, Alfie? Is it just for the moment we live?" I see myself leaping and strutting around a city park belting out line after line. "Are we meant to take more than we give or are we meant to be kind?" I see the orchestra of Burt Bacharach running along behind me, trying to keep up with the pace that I set while still playing their instruments. Those piano movers are really working up a sweat. "As sure as I believe there's a heaven above, Alfie, I know there's something much more, something even non-believers can believe in. I believe in love, Alfie."

That's the Walt Disney version. During my "what's-it-all-about" era I was actually a dating machine, searching for love and the meaning of life in all the wrong places. It's funny how the passing of time can make you forget a thing like that about yourself. I've been looking at old diaries today and when read 1969 I was actually shocked to see that so many guys' names had filled up page after page. Ten of them! All those guys were trading places back and forth as if they were race horses going around and around on a track. First one guy would be my favorite, then another. Break ups and makes ups and near-fist fights. One guy even turned out to be an undercover cop working on a case involving a shirt-tail friend of mine. As I read those diary entries I couldn't believe I was reading about my own life. I wanted to break out the popcorn and get a score card.

My power dating era was winding down by March of 1970 when Don entered the pages of my diaries. We met at a bowling alley that had an adjacent pub with live music and dancing. It was the local hunting ground for singles. I was on a lady's league on Friday nights and when Don and I met it was far from love at first sight---at least not for me. Oh, Don was good looking enough to curl a girl's toes and lord knows conversation never lagged when he was around. But I met him along with a friend of his who looked like he shared the same gene pool as Tom Jones. He even had the same weighty voice in an era when Tom Jones was red hot on the charts. Of course I wanted the other guy, not Don.

For the next six months I dated them of both frequently, on different nights of course, but the three of us often found ourselves hanging out together on Fridays after bowling. All that time Don kept telling me that his friend was a one-night stand and if I went out him again, he (Don) would stop asking me out. The friend did turn out to be an irresponsible loser, but Don turned out to be a liar because in spite the fact that I kept dating his friend, he hung right in there date for date. I couldn't quite figure these two guys out. I was guessing they had some kind of contest or bet going, so I didn't trust either one of them. Finally six months out, the log jam broke when Mr. T.J.-Look-a-Like started dating a woman he later married. It was in that same time frame when Don first declared that he loved me and wanted us to get married. It took us thirty-one years and a severe stroke for us to follow up on that idea. And in those thirty-one years we spent more time together than most married people do.

It's weird how your memory can play tricks on you. Before I cracked open my old diaries today I had already written the story of how Don and I met. I couldn't believe how far off from the truth that first draft was. I had to scrap it and start all over. I'd completely forgotten about my marathon dating in 1969 and about the triangle dating thing we had going for the six months after Don, his friend and I all met. I had given that whole period the Walt Disney, this-is-the-version-you'd-tell-your-grandkids spin.

Off and on all afternoon I was reading to Don from the pages of my diaries and I told him that I wish I could figure out how I could hold on to these books until twenty minutes before I die when I'd like to burn them. Every ten years or so I get them out and give myself a good laugh. It's also cathartic to watch yourself grow in spirit and wisdom over the years as you turn those yellowed pages. Don and I remembered another afternoon years ago when we sat reading and laughing over my old diaries. We stopped laughing, though, when we came across an entry about a chance meeting on cruise night at a local drive-in restaurant, circa 1958. We're 99% sure it was us and our two best friends I had written about who passed jokes back and forth while sitting on the hoods of our cars. (How many other Ron, Don, Nancy and Jean combinations could there have been in my hometown back then?) So, I guess you could say that we've actually got two "When Harry Met Sally" stories to tell. ©

10 comments:

  1. EVERYTHING relates to your post widowhood life! This IS your life! Thanks for sharing it with us. Life is just pretty darned interesting. Every day presents its own compliments and complaints. So glad I found your blog!!

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    1. I never thought about it like that, thanks! LIfe being interesting is something that gets easier and easier to appreciate the older we get, in my opinion. We're not so busy just living and making a living that we have time to see the past and present in better focus.

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  2. love this post Jean, its funny how our memory erases the truth sometimes, if I think back hard enough I remember not being 100% convinced that Nick was a good match for me, but now I see how lucky I was to have had him and how right we were for each other

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    1. Same here, I know Don and I were a good match but I wasn't sure of that in the beginning. I guess the power of hindsight is it lets us blur out the parts that don't fit the end results. LOL

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  3. Fascinating. Those were the days, the Alfie days when men fluttered about us like we were the only nectar in the garden. You must have been especially sweet in 1969, and I'm glad you held out for the man who didn't spin your head around with his dark hair and sexy voice. It's also very interesting that decades passed before you officially tied the knot. You were/ are most unconventional, a free thinker. That's what I love about you!

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    1. I wasn't that sweet. In 1969 I was on a mission to find a husband much like the mission I'm on now to find gal pals. I became a joiner and a doer to get out and meet people. A lot of the guys I dated that year were just one or two dates.

      As for being a "free thinker" it was more like being an immature thinker with bad ovaries. LOL

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    2. This was so great. I have to find my box of letters from the sixties. It's a good thing Don hung in there. You could be married to Tom Jones. My mother-in-law didn't have a diary but she kept all of her letters, and there were a lot. A couple of months before she died, she told me they were hidden in the rafters of a storage shed on their farm, and that I should get them if anything happened to her. They were letters that she and H's father had written to each other during WWII. Great stuff.

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    3. Oh my gosh, what a great find...those letters. You really need to consider transcribing them into a vanity press type book so you can get copies to all of H's siblings. The more people who have copies, the more likely the family history will be preserved and that's part of their personal history that should be passed down through a couple of generations. WWII museums might even be interested in the originals. I have a box of letters that came from soldiers in Vietnam. I kept carbon copies of my letters to them, too, and one winter when I'm bored I'm going to put them into a book format. The winter after I do the same with the best of the best from my diaries.

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  4. I have diaries--from 1971 on. I am amazed when I read about the woman I was right after my divorce. I was kind of slutty--dating many and sleeping with most. Making up for being with the same guy from the time I was 15. I sure did learn a lot in those years however. Now--I don't write too much in my diary--just the price I paid for gas, or that I attended an open house--whatever. Pretty boring stuff compared to the decade of the 80's. HAH!

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    1. I think your 1971 and my 1969 had a lot in common. I was coming out of relationship that hurt me deeply and one so painful I have yet to write or talk about it to anyone. My diary, now is my blog...the good, bad and the ugly.

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