It was the summer of 1993 — right before my senior year in college. I stayed in the area for a summer job. Three friends and I agreed to go in together on an apartment for the summer. We thought we had one lined up, but a week before we were to move in, it fell through.
So we were scrambling.
For the few weeks until we could find another place, I negotiated with a few families to trade my babysitting services for room and board. During that time, one of our roommates dropped out.
Bear with me here. These details DO pertain to the story, I promise!
So we found a sublease on an apartment at the nearby seminary, and we moved in, but we still needed another roommate to help make the rent. We advertised in a local paper, and there was just one response, a girl whose boyfriend lived at the seminary.
She said she thought it would be fun to live close by him for the summer. She was a college grad living in the area, and I still have no idea why she was interested in a two-month rental arrangement. It seemed strange.
But, like I said, she was the only person who answered the ad. So she moved in.
Her boyfriend was in and out some, and after a few weeks, they started telling me that I should date this guy’s roommate. I pretty much ignored their attempts to set us up, but evidently they were bugging him about me too.
At the beginning of August, I got a phone call.
“Um. This is your roommate’s boyfriend’s roommate,” said a male voice on the other end of the line.
“I guess that would be Paul,” I said.
“Yeah.” Swallow. “So. I was wondering if you’d like to go out to dinner this weekend.”
I figured, what do I have to lose? I didn’t exactly have men beating down my door. So I said, “sure”, and we set a time.
My roommate was ecstatic. She assured me he was good-looking and nice and fun, but I refused to get excited.
The night of the date arrived. He would pick me up at six. I rushed home from my babysitting job, arriving home at 5:30 after a day at the beach. I jumped in the shower and got ready in less than 30 minutes. I remember what I wore — a white t-shirt and my favorite red gingham miniskirt. I thought it was adorable, but years later, my husband would tell me all he could think of when he looked at it was a picnic tablecloth.
Fortunately for him, he waited until after we were married to make this pronouncement.
When he knocked at the door that night, my roommate introduced us. He was a welcome surprise — tall, dark and handsome and not a bit awkward.
We went to dinner. Afterwards, I guess things were going well because he asked if I wanted to see a movie. There was some time before the next showing so we walked around the mall and talked. He called the next day, and from that point on, we were in a relationship. We never really discussed it; it just was.
We continued dating throughout my senior year of college, which was also his final year of seminary. When it came time to graduate, I wasn’t sure I was ready for marriage, so we went to our respective homes — him to Pennsylvania and me to Virginia. After being apart for a month, I knew I didn’t want to live another minute without him. We got engaged in September and married the following August. And here we are, eleven years and three kids later!
Thank God for the apartment that fell through, the first roommate who dissed us, and that single response to the newspaper ad.
NOTE: My husband would tell you that his two roommates had been bugging him all summer to call me, and he wasn’t interested in dating anyone. He was immersed in his seminary studies and working full-time as a security officer. When he finally made the call, he said it was basically to get them off his back. So I’m also thankful that he had two really annoying roommates who basically goaded him into calling this mystery girl.
ANOTHER NOTE: Our roommates got married as well. We still hear from them occasionally.