I met my ex-wife
while I was still in school at the University. I spent a weekend at my parents house in southern Minnesota. I had my first car, a 1974 Nova hatchback. My friend Greg also had an old Nova, and I drove over to his house to do some work on my car. N*O*V*A* stood for Chevy (N)ova, Oldsmobile (O)mega, Pontiac (V)entura, and Buick (A)pollo. All these four makes used the same X-body. Greg had been going out off and on with a younger woman named Joy. He wanted me to go uptown to the bars that night to accompany him while he sought her out. To entice me, he told me about Joy's pretty friend, who would most likely be with her. She was Joy's age, had two small children, and was divorcing.

We ran into Joy and Margaret at Margaritaville, a local watering hole. Yes, Margaret was very pretty I thought, but we didn't seem to be hitting it off. Standing around talking in the bar, I offered to hold Joy's coat. Margaret asked me to hold her coat too. Then we began to talk to one another. I found out later that Margaret and Joy were kind of mad that we didn't buy them drinks, but they still hung out with us. But I was very poor, just about done with my second engineering degree, and only had about $10 on me total - plus I was never much of a drink buyer. No wonder I was girlfriend-less having just reached the age of 27 ....

We left Margaritaville and went down the block to a basement level bar called the First National Bank or something like that. Somehow Greg didn't make the trip with us. Instead, Phil, another mutual friend of ours, did. By coincidence, Phil had also been dating Joy. It was here that I blew my money and bought a round of Long Island Iced Teas. Margaret and I were now connecting pretty well. I remember she and Joy telling us that they had told some guy some other night that they were both models who sometimes modeled together. Okay - they were pulling our legs but Margaret could very easily have been a model ;).

The girls excused themselves and went to the bathroom. Margaret told me years later Joy wanted to, "Slam these drinks and ditch these guys", but Margaret kind of liked me and wanted to stay. Then Joy warned Margaret that we were "a lot" older than them. Margaret was not quite 21, and like I said had just turned 27. But the girls didn't ditch us. Phil saw how Margaret and I were getting along, and I think he thought the act of buying the drinks would work for him too. So Phil began to buy more rounds, for which I am everlastingly grateful.

I had a nice time talking to Margaret, and dancing with her a little. I never had that teen-age girlfriend that teaches you to dance without looking like an idiot. Oh well. All the while, I considered her situation: "two kids, very pretty, two kids, nice personality, two kids, seems very smart...". I don't want this to seem like I thought anything was wrong with her situation. I did feel it would be wrong to act interested in a young woman with children if I wasn't interested in her children too. Finally, Margaret must have figured it was time to clue me in to her situation and see how I would react. She told me, "I have two kids", and then looked at me. Well, I knew that. I always wanted to have kids - if I couldn't be around them when I was 27, when would I be able? So in reply, without missing a beat, I just said, "So when do I get to meet them?"

Perhaps in the past I had been a bit timid. I made up my mind this night that I was going to risk rejection and make sure she knew I liked her a lot. I was having trouble with my back, so partly because I wasn't bending so well, I knelt in front of her, put my hand on her waist, drew in close between her knees, and kissed her while she sat on her chair. I think we kissed a lot. Later, back at Greg's "after-the-bars-close-party-house", I did the same thing. I remember Joy walking by the sofa Margaret was sitting on and smooshing our faces, which by the way were already smooshed together, together a bit more. I guess the lesson is don't be shy if you think really like someone. You won't remember the other 99 rejections ...

I got Margaret to write her phone number on my U of M student fee statement. She wrote "Maggie" because she told me later Joy was getting her to experiment with using this name. I came back to town a few weeks later and Margaret and I went out on a date. I carried her daughter across the street from her mom's house just as she turned one year old. I liked her kids. We began to write letters back and forth and I called her every Wednesday night long distance on the phone. One time she screamed and dropped the phone because she saw a mouse. Margaret was a very good mom and I liked that about her. Years and years later, she told me the whole thing blossomed because (1) How I kissed her (2) I was persistant.

You never know where you will find your mate. We had two kids of our own together - even though eventually we divorced. I still think it was worth it -


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