I was 21. Footloose and fancy free. I got my DD214 (Honorable Discharge from the US Army) and I was back to part time college at Nassau Community College.
I had an old friend who invited me to share his Artist’s Loft above a movie theatre. He was subletting for some guy I never met. It was cheap (about $85 a month each). This was a really unusual space. The ceiling was easily 18 feet tall. There was a bathroom and a kitchen (which we never used because of the rodent situation – but, who cared? We didn’t bother them and they didn’t bother us).. There was a stairway that divided the loft space and reached up to two opposing lofts. There was a decent diner downstairs where you could get a good tuna on toasted rye with French Fries for under 5 bucks.
I had a car and a stupid daytime job working for an insurance investigation company. And, I drove to school a few days a week.
Nassau Community College was a commuter college. Nobody lived on campus. So, if you wanted to make friends, you needed to hang out at the Student Lounge between classes.
Now, here I was a 6’2” skinny (yeah, I was once skinny) part time college kid who had curly hair down to his shoulders and a big bushy blonde-ish beard. I was wearing my favorite red, white and blue striped jeans and, I’m sure, a completely non-matching shirt. Not exactly the fella your parents would want your daughter to meet at college.
On one, not so particular day, I was just hanging out there talking with my friends about nothing in particular. A cute girl walks in. I’m sure I glanced at her and she glanced at me. But, that was about it. UNTIL, she approached me and started some small talk. Being a very shy fellow, I was enamoured with the idea of being “picked up”. I dunno. We talked for 10, 20 or 30 minutes. And, then it was time for me to head to my Geology Class. I asked her if she would like to come. She declined. Then, I told her I had to go and said goodbye.
It was a cold night on campus. The buildings were spread out like it was designed as a WWII airport (which it originally was). I didn’t ask for her phone number and so, I figured that was that. But, alas ….that was not the case. Apparently, she asked her friends in the Student Lounge if it would seem too forward to wait for me after my class got out. (How she knew where my class was occuring is still amazing to me). In any case, the class ended. I walked out of the building and there she was. Holy cow! This kind of thing never happened to me. I thought it was a movie scene.
Well, the rest of the story is pretty predictable. We dated. We moved in together. We moved to a friend’s hippy commune for a while. Then, she got her first job as a Nurse at a Manhattan Hospital. I won a few big Off-Track Betting bets. She was amazed. (Of course, I gave back the winnings over the next year of betting. We first moved in with two of her nurse friends. Tight quarters. So, we moved into our own apartment. And then we moved to Staten Island- where I went to college. Two kids came along.
Off to Richmond, VA for 31 years. Back to NYC. Four grandkids came along. And, now we’re soon to celebrate our 49th Anniversary.