Twenty-five years ago I still lived at home with my Mom, and I believe she was starting to despair that I would ever find a husband. It was around this time 25 years ago that she started to encourage me to find my Prince Charming. I had tried barhopping – that didn’t work. I was too shy to talk to anyone. I had tried a dating agency – all that got me was a short term relationship with a married man with two kids.
Mom began to pester me to answer a personal ad in the newspaper. Back then the personal ads were a lot more innocent (and respectable) than they are today. This was was the late 80’s – before texting, skyping or emailing. People wrote letters or people picked up the telephone and called someone.
At Mom’s urging, I answered a couple of ads on May 24, 1988 (yes, I clipped the ad and saved it). I hand-wrote my responses and put them in the U.S.Mail. Postage was 25 cents then. I then forgot about them. A few days later I went out on a Friday night with a girlfriend after work to Happy Hour and came home miserable because yet again no one had noticed me, no one had talked to me, and no one had wanted any part of me.
When I got home, Mom was all a-flutter. Someone had called me back about the personal ad I answered! I was tired, I was miserable, and I was not interested. She showed me the scrap of paper where she’d scribbled, “Eric really deep voice” and a phone number. She insisted I had to call him back. I really didn’t want to, but she kept at me. So reluctantly, I called.
That phone call changed my life. He was funny and easy to talk to. When I got off of the phone (much later), my Mom was so excited. She said, “all you did was laugh”.
I was soon to find out that a co-worker and friend of Eric’s had talked him into placing the ad in the first place. He didn’t want to, but his friend, Debbie, insisted. He got a few responses, and he liked mine the best.
He called me again the next afternoon (a Saturday), and we decided to go to dinner that night. He said, “I’ll be right over” and then hung up. Of course, I wasn’t dressed in anything nice, and I had no makeup on. I also had no idea he was using a payphone just around the corner from my house. I raced around, changing my clothes and putting my face on. Meanwhile, my Mom was peeking out around the front curtain and saying, “he’s here.” When I asked what he looked like, she said, “oh, he’s okay.” I had no idea what to expect. In retrospect, it’s probably just as well he turned up that fast. I had no time to get nervous.
My Mom was sold when Eric came in and the dog (who didn’t like a lot of people) thought he was great. That was all Mom needed. I kept
hearing, “Bennie liked him.” Actually, I did, too. Our first date had a hiccup – the car died when we went for a ride after dinner. I was hoping at the time
that it wasn’t just a scam of some sort. He kept putting more oil in the car (it was an ancient old Buick), and we managed to get home again. He told me the next day or so that he had actually put too much oil in the car and that he must have been dazzled by my beauty.
25 years later and a 25 cent stamp. I always said it was the best quarter I ever spent.