The blog today is about Rosemarie. That’s her in the pink dress a few years ago, and then in the picture farther down the page on the right, dressed in white just last month. We met when I was a freshman in college; she was a senior in high school. In fact, I was her prom date that year (yep, that’s me in the tux).
I saw Rosemarie for the first time in late May of 1963. The scene is embedded in my brain forever. I came into her house with a friend of mine who was about to marry her older sister. I was to be in the wedding party. Rosemarie, as I first laid eyes on her, was just a lightning streak as she darted halfway across the room and crawled behind the couch, as if no one had seen her. She had two huge curlers dangling down each side of her face and she was totally embarrassed and caught off guard by our coming into the room.
During the next two weeks between the wedding rehearsal and the event itself, Rosemarie and I exchanged maybe a total of two or three sentences. That was all. But I could not keep my eyes off her. She had an incredible personality and a smile to match. The cliché “she would light up the room when she came in” was never more fitting. I felt a connection with all this that I had never experienced before. The week after the wedding I couldn’t stand it anymore. This love-at-first-sight had me concentrating on nothing else but Rosemarie. This never happened to me before. I always had more interest in my ’53 Chevy and my bowling score than I ever had about a girl…hadn’t met one that made me feel otherwise…until now. So I finally got up the nerve to call her. You have to put this in context to realize how monumental of an event this was. You see, when I called her on the telephone, it was the first time ever—EVER—I had called a girl to ask for a date. I was a nervous wreck and spent most of the morning rehearsing exactly what I was going to say. I was a real low-profile geeky kind of kid then…still am. I never had enough self-esteem to get up the gumption to ask a girl out. Rosemarie, on the other hand, was a real hottie, the kind who hung with the quarterback and was voted Miss Everything in the yearbook. There was no way in hell she was going to go out with me. Guess what? She said yes. If I was nervous making that first phone call, imagine how I was on the first date! But there’s more to the story.
At the time, Rosemarie was sort of what was called “going steady” with Pete. Her mother was very concerned. The relationship, she thought, was moving along a little more quickly than she was comfortable with—she being a second generation mother of good Polish stock and unbroken attendance at St. Hedwig’s Church for Sunday mass. The pressure was on. Rosemarie was getting a lot of heat from her mother to break it off with Pete.
My call was very timely, though I did not know it at the time. I fell right into Rosemarie’s hands–well not literally…that would happen later. At the peak of this conflict she was having with her mother, ring ring goes the phone. It’s me asking her for a date. “God has answered my prayers,” Rosemarie thinks. She accepts the date—not because she wants to go out with ME, but because right now she’d go out with a moose just to get her mother off her back. So I happened to be the moose at the right place at the right time.
Actually, it was a win win win situation; a perfect trifecta. Mother was happy because her daughter was finally going out with a different boy. Rosemarie was happy because her mother was off her back and in due time she’d dump me and return to Pete…or even string me along for awhile as a good decoy. And, of course, I was happy because this unbelievably gorgeous girl had accepted a date with me…ME!
Now, just so you know I was maybe not as naive as you think, I was ultimately the BIG winner in all this. After one or two dates, Pete was history. Rosemarie and I would be “an item” for the next four years as we each finished school, got jobs and got married. We haven’t been apart since that first date.
I have lots of remarkable Rosemarie stories, mostly because she is a remarkable person. I will share them every now and then. In the meantime, enjoy the violets (they grow if you click on them). Rosemarie can’t raise orchids; she kills every orchid we’ve ever brought into the house. Violets, however, are a totally different story.
Books by Marc Kuhn. Information at http://www.marckuhn.com
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