…here’s a real love story (as told by my daughter Grace).
Although we first met in our freshman year of college, we discovered a long line of incidents where we should have met or almost met, but didn’t! Our fathers are both professors at Lehigh (Dan’s dad is in math, Grace’s dad is in biology) and actually met at a university function when we were only a few months old. We grew up only about 20 minutes away from each other and both hung out at the same library all the time in grade school (we’re still waiting for a picture of us reading side by side in the Bethlehem Public Library stacks to crop up). In eighth grade, we narrowly missed each other when Grace went to the Pennsylvania State Geography Bee – Dan didn’t go because he lost out on the school level to our best man! Finally, Grace actually spotted and remembered Dan on their very first day of college. Although we wouldn’t formally meet until March of our freshman year, Dan had a class immediately after Grace on that first day of college. Grace clearly remembers walking past Dan out of the room and thinking that he was wearing one weird yet totally awesome jacket.
In March of our freshman year, Grace had something of an internal crisis and decided to go take a walk in lieu of going to class. By the end of the day, she had walked a total of 14 miles on a whim, something which she has never done again. That evening, ever the good student, Grace deeply regretted missing her lecture and emailed the class to see if anyone could send her some class notes. Out of the forty students in the class, only one was nice enough to respond and nerdy enough to actually have taken notes. Thus, Grace’s first encounter with Dan was by email. She emailed him back to thank him for the notes. He emailed her back to thank me for the thank you note. She emailed him back to thank him for thanking her about the thank you note. We repeated this pattern ad nauseum for the next few weeks. A few weeks after that, when we both arrived to class way too early and were the only two people in the room together, Dan said hello to Grace. We hung out during class after that and sat side by side throughout the lectures. Grace appreciated Dan’s obvious intelligence and quick wit, and Dan thought Grace was cute (although exactly why he thought that remains a mystery!) We continued emailing each other daily throughout the summer and ate lunch together on the first day back to school in our sophomore year. Pretty soon we were best friends and eventually spent most of our college years together. It was a progression of love that was glacially slow, to say the least, but six years after we first met, Dan proposed!
Now I go to Dan’s house for dinner almost every Friday night. On that Friday he told me that he needed to go do some work first at the IMRC, which is a computer and technology resource classroom in Maginnes Hall at Lehigh. I had an inkling that something fishy was up at that point, since Dan usually has all of the tech he needs at his fingertips in the comfort of his own home and doesn’t usually need to get outside help. Plus, the lady who runs the IMRC is seriously nasty and we try to avoid her whenever possible. However, I went with the flow and showed up at Maginnes a few minutes before 5. Dan was not in the IMRC, but he was next door in the classroom where we met in freshman year. He asked me to come with him into the classroom. At this point I knew what was happening. First, he gave me a lily (which he had gleaned from the secretary of the History Department’s Secretary’s Day bouquet apparently), and then got down on one knee and said something that I don’t quite remember about us meeting in that room six years ago. I also wasn’t having quite the emotional reaction I thought I would have – I wasn’t crying, smiling, or what have you – instead I was choking. Yep, choking. But then Dan asked me to be his classmate for life, and I said that I would, and then he asked me to marry him, and I said no, but you can give me the ring anyway because I want to pawn it (a long-running joke we have). But then I rescinded my pawning offer and just consented to marriage.
Afterwards we took a lot of pictures with my phone which Dan insisted on uploading to Facebook then and there and then went to look at a house that Dan’s parents are considering. To celebrate, we went to the Marblehead Chowderhouse in Easton. I had tuna and Dan had fish and chips. The horrible reality of the situation was only beginning to hit poor Dan at that point, so he spent most of the meal gazing into space and being very ADD. More hugs and kisses happened. Then we went to Dan’s house to fill in his parents and they were very nice about it (in fact, Dan’s dad gave me a hug to welcome me into the family, which was probably the most awkward experience I have had all year). Finally, we went to my house where we ate cheesecake and hashed out wedding party details with my family.