In order for you to fully understand the story of our family I have to start at the very beginning…
The year was 1985…it was both a tumultuous year and a wonderful year all wrapped into one. It was my seventeenth year, and I was dating a guy who loved someone else. I had realized that very early into the relationship, but I was just excited that a guy wanted to date me at all. Playing second fiddle in his heart didn’t matter much at first, but it soon became a big drain on my self esteem. He wasn’t my first choice either. For two years I had had a crush on a guy who was a good friend, but we were both too shy to address our true feelings with each other. When it became apparent that he was never going to invite me on a date I moved on to the first person who paid me any attention. That’s how I ended up going steady with a guy who liked me but obviously had eyes for another girl.
Not that I was anywhere near ready to get married, but my plans for post-high school was to find “Mr. Right” settle down and get married. I didn’t aspire to a career or college, although I planned on some type of college just to meet the expectations thrust upon me by family, society, and the educational system. I also knew that I needed to have something to fall back on in case my plans didn’t pan out, but in reality all I wanted was to be a wife and a mom.
After eight months of emotional turmoil I ended the relationship. I had lost 30 pounds, was depressed, and one night I even considered suicide. That’s when I looked at myself and said, “This guy is not worth all this!” I look back now and say “how silly”, but at the time it was no laughing matter. I was trying to mold this person into being Mr. Right and trying to make him fall in love with me all the while losing myself in the process.
Fortunately, I was doing a very intensive Bible study in my youth group at that time and realized that I was looking for love in all the wrong places. One night shortly after the break-up I was feeling mighty down and alone. So, I asked God to send me the guy he wanted me to marry. I knew I wasn’t cut out for the world of dating. Some of my friends had “a guy of the week” but that just wasn’t my style. There was no way I could just casually date because I realized that once I gave my heart or affection to somebody I became too serious too quickly.
Interestingly enough I was hanging out with a new lunch crowd that year. Hardly any of my friends from the previous year were on the same lunch shift so I had started hanging out with a group that hung around the school auditorium. There was this quiet redheaded guy that hung out with the group. He was mysterious although I knew who he was. He had dated a friend of mine for a couple of years, and they had been one of the celebrity couples in school. Everybody knew they were going to graduate and get married; however, a few months before I started hanging out with the group we got wind that Eddie and Melissa had broken up. I attributed Eddie’s quietness to his recent heartbreak, and I knew what that felt like. My boyfriend broke my heart about every other day. Eddie and I would sometimes exchange a few words or laughs when the clown of the group would do something funny, but there wasn’t any deep conversation. My heart kind of went out to him, and his quietness intrigued me, but not in my wildest dreams did I think he liked me or even gave me a second thought.
I was in the marching band, and he was on the annual staff as a photographer. Every Friday night as I sat in the bleachers I would scour the sideline until I saw that familiar Member’s Only jacket…a constant fixture of his wardrobe. One night I even dreamed that he gave me that jacket and that we started dating. The next morning I woke up feeling that God was telling me something about Eddie but I didn’t know what. From that day forward I couldn’t stop thinking about him.
After my break up my good friend Kim said, “Girl, you’ve got to find somebody to go out with to get your mind off of ______.” We started talking about different guys, and eventually Eddie’s name came up. I told Kim that I was kinda interested in him, but I was sure that he didn’t have any interest in me. Now, Kim, never the one to be shy took it upon herself to ask him if he was interested in me. He said…loosely quoted…”Yeah, I thinks she’s cute.” Kim said, “Would you go out with her?” Eddie said, “Yeah.”
Well, Kim put her plan into motion, and a couple of days later Kim cornered me and said, “Expect a call from Eddie.” I was like, “What?!” She said, “He told me he was going to ask you out.” I just laughed it off and said, “Yeah, sure.” Friday night came around, and my ex called me and said that he needed a ride to the game (he was in the marching band too). I was trying to stay as far away from him as possible, but he lived in a challenging situation, and at the time I was his only back up for transportation as he didn’t have a car. So, I went and picked him and his sister up. Let’s just say he was being a royal jerk that night. He obviously wanted to get back together…by then I was smart enough to know it was because I had a car and he didn’t. When I wouldn’t respond to him he started being really mean telling me that no one would ever go out with me, and that I wouldn’t be able to live without him etc. etc. I stayed as cool as a cucumber and didn’t say a word. He was also very mean to his sister that night, and the night ended with me saying some very nasty things to him as I dropped him off at his house. His sister was in tears, and I talked to her for a long time that night. I went home emotionally exhausted and very down both for myself and my ex’s sister.
The next morning I was still in bad mood from the previous night, and I got up and took a long hot soaking bath. My Mom came into the bathroom with the portable phone and said, “You’ve got a call from Eddie.” At first I thought it was my friend Eddie, and was wondering why in the heck he was calling me on a Saturday morning. She passed me the phone and I was like, “Hey Eddie, what can I do for ya!” There was a silence on the other end, and then a hesitant voice said, “Hey Vicki. This is Eddie.” I’ll admit we were probably a full minute into our conversation before I realized this was not my friend Eddie. This was Member’s Only jacket Eddie! Once I realized that I nearly dropped the phone in the bathtub, because of the shock and because I was talking to him and I was naked! He asked me if I would like to ride with him to Asheville…an hour from Brevard…so he could drop off the film from the previous night’s game at the camera shop that always processed their film. I was like, “Sure.” We ended the phone call pretty fast, and he said he would be there to pick me up in about an hour. I let out a shriek that sent my mom running. I had to fill her in on the details while I was dressing, because I had not told her a thing about the “new Eddie” in my life. I could see the relief in her eyes that I was moving on. I had caused my parents a lot of concern that year. My weight loss and depression were so serious they were on the verge of getting me professional help.
So…to be completely honest Eddie was late picking me up, and I began to worry if he had gotten cold feet and/or I was being stood up. But finally he pulled up in my driveway. My dad was chopping wood at the time, and years later both of them admitted that they each intimidated each on upon their first meeting. The guy I had dated previously was short of stature, and Eddie was tall and stocky. My dad was shirtless and swinging an axe with a deadly precision that needless to say made Eddie a little leery.
Our first date was simple. A trip to Asheville and dinner at a Mexican Restaurant. I ended up paying for the meal, because Eddie realized sometime during the meal that all he had was a two-party check, and the restaurant wouldn’t accept it. That was kind of humorous and I know it embarassed Eddie. I didn’t care. It was the happiest day I’d had in a long time. He was sweet, kind, and very much a gentleman so different from what I was used to.
When we got to the camera shop he had a few pictures left on one of the film rolls, and so we have pictures of me on our first date:
After a little airplane watching at the regional airport he took me home. He didn’t call the next day, but we talked on and off at school the next week, and at the end week he invited me on another date. At the end of that date we shared our first kiss sitting on the sofa at his house watching an old re-run of the Carol Burnett Show. That day he let me wear his Member’s Only jacket when I got cold…very reminiscent of my dream just a few weeks earlier.
To be continued…