Thursday, July 03, 2008

Romance at Twin Pines

If this were a movie, or maybe even a Nancy Drew book (not a Hardy Boys), it would be titled "Romance at Twin Pines."

Since I promised, in my last blog, here's the story of how my husband and I met.

It was the summer of 1965. I had just completed my junior year in college; my parents had returned from Africa--having been gone for 5 years. And I was looking for a summer job. My parents were planning to go around the U.S. giving missionary talks at churches. So I needed a job where I would be able to live and work. I am not sure exactly how I learned about this job, but I heard that a local church camp needed a craft teacher. Well, I can do that--I thought. So I applied.

As it happens, this church camp had been founded, in part, by my husband's grandfather, and father, and was sponsored by the church my husband attended as a youth. And, as it happens, he was a counselor for the first week of boys' camp. So that is how we met.

Oh, but there's so much more to this story. You see, even though we knew each other's names--after all, we were co-workers, we really didn't click. In addition to being the craft teacher, I also helped lead the singing at the chapel services. The camp had a lovely outdoor chapel, so all the morning worship times were held outdoors. I had picked a song that involved some motions--singers standing when it was their turn. I divided the group into two segments--and when it came time for the side where the counselors were sitting to sing--they produced a paltry sound. I mentioned that--maybe, if the counselors would sing up, that side would do better.

S-l-o-w burn. The counselors, led by my husband, decided to get even with me. He went out to a local store, and bought a cardboard plaque. This isn't the same plaque--but the words are EXACTLY what that one said.


I was incensed, non-plused, and speechless. Fume, fume. I don't know if the battle escalated, but I was really mad. So, we had this low-grade rivalry going.

Then came game night--Thursday night. We were playing Cabin Hunt--the point of the game was for one cabin to hide, the other to hunt. But this time, it was counselors against campers, and that's how my husband and I ended up on the same team. And, for some unknown reason, we decided to hide so well that the campers wouldn't find us. A particular detail my husband recalls is that we decided to wear dark clothing, but I didn't have a suitable dark shirt, so he loaned me one of his. This detail will become important later in the story. On the camp grounds were many lovely tall pine trees, including twin pines, their branches within ten feet of each other, reaching majestically toward the sky. Up we climbed. All the way to the top. Each in our own tree. Completely out of sight of campers below.

We watched the campers scamper back and forth, unable to find us. And, after a bit, we got to talking. We talked, and talked. Finally, by game's end--we had not been found, climbed down, raced to the base victoriously. And we had ended our rivalry.

The next night was Sleep Out. Campers and counselors trooped out to the ball field with their sleeping bags. First, there was a campfire service, and then the non-counselor staff was to return to the main camp. I stayed behind, sitting with my former rival, talking some more. And, after campers had fallen asleep, I sang to him--the song "There is a Ship" which was popular at the time, sung by Mary of Peter, Paul and Mary. (And that's why he gave me the first gift he ever gave me--the album by Peter, Paul and Mary which included that song.)

Finally, one of the adults--I mean a real adult--came out and shooed me back to my cabin.

The next morning, Saturday, campers and counselors left for home, including my new found love. I got in the shower that morning, and stood there and bawled my eyes out, convinced I would never see him again. And then on Saturday evening, the one free time before new campers came in, he showed up. He asked me--what would your boyfriend say if I asked you out. (At the time, I was "dating"--nothing serious--someone else.) My answer--why don't you ask me what I would say?

I said YES. We went to Twin Kiss and got icecream sundaes.

The next date we went to Mt. Gretna and saw a performance of "The Sound of Music."

And, as they say, the rest is history!

Oh, the shirt? Well, I was wearing the perfume I wore at the time--"Blue Grass"--and the scent lingered on it. That particular detail my husband remembered--and had to remind me of, as I tell this story.


Lynne said...

I've always loved "How We Met" stories and yours is a terrific one!

NCmountainwoman said...

Great story. Interesting how rocky beginnings often make for stronger marriages. My first gift from my now-husband was "Whales and Nightingales" by Judy Collins.

Five years ago, Judy Collins autographed my album cover at a book signing, delighted to see that someone held on to it for so long.

JeanMac said...

Love your story.

Beth said...

What a sweet story--I love that you were up in the pines when you started talking. I wore bluegrass perfume too--by Elizabeth Arden--when I was a teenager and starting to date. and 43 years later you are still happy and still going to Mt. Gretna. Thanks for sharing that memory.

mon@rch said...

Thanks for sharing this special time with us!

LauraHinNJ said...

Oh sweet! Congrats on so many years of togetherness.

Ginger said...

What a cool story! I remember well the "in love at camp" experience. It's rather magical. :)

Thanks for sharing it here.

Anvilcloud said...

Misreading: at first I thought you wrote that he loaned you one of his dark skirts.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely story! Amazing how something so HUGE can start so small, isn't it?

Climenheise said...

I'm sure I have heard this story, but I had forgotten it. It all rings true -- the perceived snubs -- the hiding in inaccessible places. All the campers needed was a Lenora to tell them where you had hidden and spoil your fun. But then, you needed that time in the trees more than the campers needed to find you.

Mary C said...

That was really neat to hear how the two of you met. 1965 was the same year I had met my husband. I guess I'll have to tell my story some day, too -- especially since our 41st anniversary is coming up next week. Thanks for sharing such a delightful story, Donna.

RuthieJ said...

...and he remembered the perfume you were wearing?? An amazing man, Donna! I'm glad you've hung on to him all these years!

Island Rambles Blog said...

I love stories on how people met as I am so curious, this is a great one...cheers.

Laurie said...

How brought tears to my eyes.

thank you,

Beverly said...

I love your story!

The Broken Man said...

How fantastic! My wife and I were "slow-burn" too - we dated when we were 16, split up, and finally found each other again and married at 26!

The Broken Man