Nov. 30, 1999

How We Met

"Do you know what today is?"

That question strikes fear into the hearts of men.

Before I learned better, I was really big on anniversaries.. and there were lots of them. First meeting, first date, first kiss, um, etc. Last Saturday was the 29th anniversary of the day Hubby and I met.

I was in the third year of undergraduate science at McGill. He was in another local university doing postgraduate work. Since the beginning of that school year I had been hanging out at "Hillel House", a center for Jewish students. It was a fairly successful attempt to reinvent myself (yet again, and not for the last time) after a very messy break-up. As it turned out, my new gang of friends were Hubby's old gang of friends but he didn't appear until that November Friday.

Hillel House

The above is a drawing of the actual "Hillel House" "as it appeared in the early '60's" and exactly as I remember it. I swiped it from the McGill-Hillel website.

The house is a beautiful old three story home, decorated to look like.. a home. You walked up a few outdoor steps on the side and through the door into a warm, safe atmosphere. The living room was my favourite.. long and narrow with large round tables set for eating. There was a bay window overlooking the street, and a juke box with never-changing music. I remember "Black Magic Woman" by Santana, and "In the Year 2525". Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" was there too, to the perverse delight of the Jewish students.

Off the living room was a kitchen where a little old man cooked kosher hot lunches. Up the heavy wooden stairs was the second floor, which housed a chapel room, a library, and offices. We skipped that floor, usually. The third floor had a lounge with necking sofas, and, the piece-de-resistance, an oversize ping pong table! I was easily the best female player (that doesn't say much) and spent way too many hours there.

On the day in question, I remember taking a place at a table seating eight or ten. It would become crowded, so I went to get lunch, leaving my purse hanging on the chair to keep my place. When I returned, there was a MAN in my chair. A STRANGE man. I told him in no uncertain terms that the chair was mine, and he quickly moved. He wasn't too impressive.. chubby, fairly unkempt (although that was the norm in 1970) and wearing a dreadful grey sweater which it turned out had been a gift from his brother and was old at the time. (I used to sleep in that sweater, years later.) The meeting would probably have ended there if it hadn't been for the grape jelly man. (I'm not making the following up. I don't have that good an imagination!)

He was another stranger, probably early 20's, very well dressed in a navy blazer, who came in and joined our group. He passed out small packets of grape jelly, and after awhile looked at future-hubby and me, who up to that point hadn't said more than ten words to each other, and abruptly declared, "You two should get married." Just like that. Picked us right out of the crowd. We eyed each other again and I'm sure we both said "nahhhhhhh" to ourselves.

After about a month we began dating. The rest isn't exactly a smooth history, but we did get married five years later.

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