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How I Met My Wife

It was a good life. I was a department head in Snohomish County, renting - for peanuts - a new home with an indoor swimming pool and jacuzzi from my buddy. Making good money and being single with the above accommodations, never wanting for companionship. But after a year or so it was time to retire from the gummint and move to the Methow to my hand built log cabin. Even skinny-dipping can get old.

No computers in those late ‘70s days. Personal ads were in the newspaper and elsewhere and I was a subscriber to Mother Earth News, then a pulp publication fraught with women and men looking for the good life of rural America away from the cities. I contacted several ladies who were looking for that life, met with one who was a Hollywood scriptwriter and after a San Francisco rendezvous, brought her here. It was early May and on Sunday morning St. Helens erupted. It was maybe an omen (my mother was big on omens) for we ended up friendly but not partner material. (Not my mother.)

My meanderings through the publication drew me to minority females, especially several who proclaimed themselves as Indian Princesses, unlike Jewish-American Princesses. Traded letters with a couple of the former, and nothing happened. Then I spotted an add that began, “ San Francisco Japanese-American Computer Programmer . . .” and I responded to it. She wrote back and said she was on her way to Kansas City or somewhere to a cat show or craft show and would answer my letter when she returned. I wrote her off and kept shopping.

About two weeks later the letter came. I was intrigued and wrote back. Next thing I remember she telephoned. You probably have to be a Depression-Era person to understand that a long distance phone call was not only a big deal itself, but a costly one at that. Now I was impressed. We liked music, reading, gardening, camping, rafting, canoeing and many other things including train travel. We made a date to meet in person, swapped photos, and I hopped a train to Oakland. If we hit it off, we’d both take the train back to Seattle to see if she liked the Methow. In particular I wanted her to see my outfit here - the Lazy SOB Ranch. I even had my own branding iron with the S lying down atop the OB. I got it at Neiman Marcus, custom made. That would surely impress her.

So I’m on the train from Seattle to Oakland and there is an unscheduled stop outside Weed, California. After a long wait the conductor announced there had been a minor earthquake down the line and some track had to be replaced. Oh shite, I thought, another omen.

After a couple of hours the journey resumed. Gloria and I had arranged it so that I’d be recognizable wearing electric blue Reeboks and carrying a back pack. The train pulled into the depot and I sought an Asian woman with long black hair. She was not on the platform. I went into the vast terminal and walked all through it. No luck. Out the door and into the parking lot, I knew she had a VW. From the far end of the parking lot I spotted, from the rear, a short woman with curly dark hair conversing with a guy with a backpack and blue tennies. I walked over to them, she turned around and was Asian and we had our first conversation that went, “Gloria? - - Bob?”

So we met at last. She took me to her home and a couple dozen Himalayan cats she was breeding, out to dinner, then a tour of the Bay area, met some of her friends and hopped the train back to Seattle and then out here.

Suffice to say she liked me, liked the property and cabin and we decided to hook up on a hopefully permanent arrangement.

A few months later, as 1981 arrived, I retired. Gloria was flying in on Western Airlines and I was to meet her at Sea Tac. It was a mid-evening flight. I am not fond of flying, especially the creepy people that hung out at airports. But this was special. Special too was the retirement bash my staff and other friends from the County put on for me at an Everett restaurant. So special that amidst too many cognacs I remembered her flight. I raced to the airport, parked the truck and entered the old terminal. I was a tad late and as I walked to where her flight was disgorging passengers, this weird bearded guy in a mackinaw, sitting on a bench gave me the eye. Another creep.

As the last passenger departed, I went into the people-eater where the flight crew was departing. All the passengers were off, I was told and no, they did not remember if there was an Asian woman aboard. Now I was really dismayed, so I walked to the baggage pickup, and no Gloria there either. Maybe she was getting a taxi, I thought and proceeded to the exit. The bearded creep was still there and as I passed, he asked, “Bob?”

It was Gloria, whose flight had arrived early. When the plane was descending she had ducked down in her seat and put on a false beard and plaid mackinaw shirt she had in her bag. She said that the guy sitting next to her on the plane did several double-takes when she sat up again, having changed sexes as well as apparel.

And all that was how I met my wife, 32 years ago.


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