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How My Father Met My Mother

April 16, 2008

Every couple has Their Story. The story they tell when they meet each other’s families and friends for the first time, the story they tell their children and their grandchildren, they story they whisper to each other during romantic moments

Do you remember when…”

Every couple has Their Story of how they got together. Some stories are simple, some stories are complicated. Some stories are funny, some stories are serious. All stories are wonderful and have a happy ending.


It was October 1981. My father had moved to California after losing his job and had decided to live at his parents house while they were living in Europe. It was a few weeks before my grandparents actually left and it was the weekend of his tenth high school reunion. My grandmother brought in some of his old high school yearbooks and they were reminiscing about people he went to school with. My grandmother pointed out people she was curious about and my dad promised to let her know what they were all doing. He also recognized someone in the yearbook as someone he had been working with at his new job, but didn’t remember from high school.

The next day, my dad went to the reunion. When my dad was in high school, he was, well, kind of dorky. He was short and bit overweight, and now that he was in his late twenties, he was much taller (having had his growth spurt during his senior year in high school) and had lost weight. Having visions of having the entire high school class be amazed at his transformation, his illusions were quickly broken when most people didn’t remember how he looked at all.

After a couple hours of meandering around the reunion and meeting people, my dad was bored. A woman named Betsy happened to recognized my dad and called him over.

Betsy asked, “Hey, do you know Caren?” (This would be my mom.)

“No, should I?” my dad asked.

“Probably not,” my mom replied.

My mom was working and living as a ESL teacher in the North Monterrey area of California, in a town called Castroville (the artichoke capitol of the world, or so my dad tells me). My mom says that because it was during the school year and she was working, she almost didn’t go to the reunion. Obviously she changed her mind or there would be no story (or a me to tell it!).

My dad and my mom spent all night talking to each other. But towards the end of the night, they briefly separated (my mom thinks one of them went to get something to drink, but she couldn’t remember specifically what happened). Meanwhile, some guy came up to my mom and asked her to dance. Since my dad wasn’t around, she said yes.

And off she went.

When my dad finally came back, my mom was gone. He waited around for her, but after awhile, my dad figured he wasn’t going to see her again. Disappointed and little pissed, he decided to leave without saying good-bye.

After my mom finished dancing with the other guy, she looked around for my dad. She looked and looked, but finally someone told her that he had already left. A little annoyed, my mom left the reunion.


The next morning, my maternal grandmother asked my mom how the reunion went. My mom said that it was good and that she had met a guy, but that he had left.

“Oh well,” she said. “His loss.”


On Monday, when my dad was at work, he saw Cathy, the woman that he recognized from the yearbook.

“Hey, where were you on Saturday night?” he asked.

“Why do you want to know?” Cathy asked.

My dad explained that he recognized her from the yearbook and hadn’t seen her at the reunion. “So, who did you hang out with in high school?”

“Oh, my very best friend was Caren G—-” Cathy replied. (That would be my mom.)

My dad, surprised, said, “Huh. Guess who I hung out with for most of Saturday night?”

Cathy asked my dad if he was planning on seeing her again.

“Nah, I don’t think so.”

“Oh go on!” she insisted. My dad was hesitant but after a little more pushing from Cathy, he finally relented.

My dad, knowing that my mom was a teacher, looked her up at the school district and gave her a call.

That Saturday, they had their first official date.

While they were on their date, my dad told her about seeing Cathy at work and how she encouraged him to call.

My mom replied, “I haven’t seen Cathy since we graduated from high school.”


They got married on April 16, 1983.

And the rest, as they say, is history…


Happy 25th Anniversary Mom and Dad!


Allison and Eric

My parents

My parents. Christmas 2007.


Weddings are certainly in the air with the impending nuptials of Gina and Kerri, but even if you aren’t married or engaged, I would love to hear how you and your significant other got together, or about your parents or friends if you’re not with anyone.

  1. April 16, 2008 1:27 PM

    What a cool story! It’s amazing how chance our meetings are…my mom & dad had a similar experience at a friend’s wedding (my dad nearly didn’t go, had to be coerced!).

    My husband and I met through a mutual friend, but we nearly missed out on meeting entirely. We’d chatted on e-mail a few times and finally arranged to talk; he was out of town that night, and when the time came round for him to call, nothing happened. I waited for the phone to ring as the moments went by. Apparently he had tried calling my number a couple of times at that point, and kept getting the wrong person because he didn’t include the area code. (Later he told me he assumed I was playing games, and never intended to try again!) At the same time I remember thinking, “You should try calling him, Kathy, just give it one more try.” After another attempt we finally connected. The rest is history 🙂

  2. April 16, 2008 2:41 PM

    What a great story, and what a lovely daughter they created! Happy Anniversary!

    I don’t have all of the details of my parent’s story. I know that they met when my dad was a sophomore in college and my mom was a freshman in 1972. She was a cheerleader and he was one of the stars on the basketball team. My mom thought my dad was cute, and at some point a mutual friend dared him to kiss her. There is also a story about a laundry room, and my mom ironing my dad’s clothes because he didn’t know how. My dad said he spent the next 3 years by my mom’s side, rarely leaving campus to go back home which was only an hour away. When my mom graduated in 1976 they moved in together, and got married in 1980. I should mention that there were issues surrounding the fact that my dad is black and my mom is white, but I don’t really know how to fit it in because it didn’t matter to them just those around them.

  3. April 16, 2008 2:52 PM

    My husband and I met on a social networking(Christian) website. It was odd, because someone else (who fancied himself God’s greatest gift to women) told me about the site. That relationship went nowhere fast but the person I met on the website did. That website is no longer in existence but I’ll always remember it. First date: we watched Troy…(we dated 3 years)

    My mom and dad met at a chess tournament, he beat her and a couple of years later they got married..almost 34 years ago.

    Happy 25th Anniversary to your parents:-)

  4. April 16, 2008 7:46 PM

    Your parents have such a cool story! Happy anniversary to them!

    My husband & I have known each other since I was about a year and a half old & he was 3. Of course, I don’t remember anything before I knew him. We fought all throughout our childhoods & then, surprisingly, got married on July 19, 1980. Now I feel really old. We got married 3 years earlier than your parents. But that’s okay. What’s really cool is that they are still together & so are we.

    Thanks for sharing their story. It gave me goosebumps.

  5. April 16, 2008 8:41 PM

    Thanks for sharing all your stories. They are really cool!

    Jillian: I had to talk to my parents multiple times over the past week to get the story straight again… they’ve told it to me before but I just couldn’t remember it all. So they definitely knew about this post ahead of time – they practically helped me write it.

    Donna: Yes, in this day and age with divorce rates so high, I feel very lucky that my parents are still together.

  6. Jenny permalink
    April 18, 2008 11:50 AM

    My husband and I dated off and on for 5 years before I finally saw the light and fell in love. He liked me, a lot, and kept doing incredibly romantic things, like leaving flowers in my car for me as a suprise, and I kept finding reasons why I could never be in love with him, and then…my father was in the hospital, and was having emergency surgery, and the one person I wished to have with me, beside me, to comfort me, was him. And then I knew, finally, that he was THE ONE. And he is the best thing that ever happened to me. (A neat post-This reminds me of those little interviews of couples throughout the movie “When Harry Met Sally”.)

  7. Cathy permalink
    December 6, 2008 3:27 AM

    Hi Allison, what a great story! I’m especially intrigued because I’m the “Cathy” who is mentioned in your blog!

    I hope your parents are doing well and that you all have a wonderful holiday.

    Cathy (Dyer) Kennedy
    Carlmont Class of ’71

  8. Moira permalink
    April 16, 2009 12:54 PM

    Well my 25th wedding anniversary is coming up this July. I know. That means I was 14 and a half when I got married. But whatever. I met my husband when I was 17 and he was 18. I was a waitress and he was a cook at a then-famous restaurant on the shore south of Boston called Hugo’s Lighthouse. I asked Sean out to make my annoying, inattentive, lousy boyfriend jealous. We went out once and Sean said “that was really fun and I really like you, but I have a girlfriend and it is serious.” I said that was fine and good night. I was a little disappointed as I realized he was MUCH better than the bad boyfriend. The next day I got flowers from Sean with a note that said simply “I changed my mind.” We’ve been together since.


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