I have had a goal since high school, to attempt or learn at least two new things a year. While working, I took classes at the local community college, in diverse subjects like law enforcement, the music industry, photography, and commercial art. There was an audition for a host of a cable television show for the college. I won a slot, I cross-country and downhill skied, even invited to join the ski patrol. Figure skating earned me patches up to intermediate-level, and I was invited to join a precision skating team. I took lessons in French and Arabic. Belly dance lessons led to a second career. I also took my mother shopping … a lot. She loved shopping malls.
“You will never meet a husband shopping in the mall with your other,” she would lament.
My husband and I had our own romance-novel “cute meet.”
He was an architectural photographer on assignment at Church’s Chicken at Randall Park Mall , now demolished, and a fortress-like Amazon warehouse. He was getting paid to wait around, while the restaurant was being prepared for the photo shoot. I happened to walk by with my mother.
“With hands like yours, you should be in the movies,” he shouted to me. I had really long, red fingernails, and this was before acrylics.
I thought that he was nuts, just another “mall masher.” My mother had visions of me being like Lana Turner, who was supposedly discovered in a malt shop. We stopped and chatted. It turned out that my favorite college professor, the same one from the business communications “jock” class happened to be good friends of his family’s. He wanted my phone number, in case he came upon some hand-modeling assignments. I scoffed. My mother insisted, so I wrote my first name and phone number on a postage-sized piece of paper and handed it to him. I figured that he’d lose it.
He telephoned me that night, and the next day. I did not answer the phone. My mother offered excuses, before telling me that I had to talk to him because he wasn’t giving up. I told her that I had nothing to talk to him about. I finally talked to him … for three hours. He was interesting.
We chatted on the phone a lot before I finally agreed to meet him for lunch to discuss the modeling profession. I actually forgot what he looked like, as I sat at the table in the restaurant. I looked at my watch. He was late.
“Nancy,” a voice said. I looked up. A handsome man in a navy pinstripe suit and black overcoat hovered over the table. He was trim, and the colors accented his salt and pepper hair. This guy surely couldn’t be the one from the mall? He reminded me a Cary Grant-type romance movie hero.
Needless to say, five years after meeting, we were married. After 33 years of marriage, our story reads like a strange romance novel.
As you can tell, I’ve had a lot of experience for novel writing.