It was in late August of 1999 that Meredith and I met for the first time. Our first ever meeting took place in the chorus room at Rutland High School (in Rutland, VT). Meredith was a new teacher to the Rutland City Public Schools and she was meeting with the high school chorus teacher, Jennifer Hart. There were many people who take credit for getting us “together”, but in terms of actually facilitating a meeting, that credit should probably go to Mrs. Hart. We would have met sooner or later because we were both members of the fine arts staff at Rutland, but this meeting took place well before our first fine arts meeting.
Leading up to that first encounter I was of course interested in meeting a single woman my age (there didn’t appear to be many of those in or around Rutland). The fact that we would be colleagues was a plus because then I wouldn’t have to manufacture ways of getting to know her. I’ve never asked her, but I don’t think she was aware that she would be “meeting” me. So, it isn’t likely that she was having the same sort of thoughts about meeting eligible single men.
Well, we were introduced and I promptly tried to show of my conversational skills by saying something profound like, “So, you went to IU (Indiana University)? I spent a summer in Bloomington.”
Yeah, that was about it. I honestly don’t remember much else about the meeting except for one exchange. In an effort to see if this girl was interested and available to go out on dates, I cleverly asked, “So, what do you do for fun around here?”
Meredith’s reply, “I hang out with my parents.”
That pretty much ended the conversation. She was mortified that she said something as lame as that, and I just didn’t know what to say (note the aforementioned conversational skills).
The next time we would get together in a setting other than school was also a little dubious (all of my doing). For a few years I had been hosting a sleep-in for some of my band students at the high school. The event was a community building effort that coincided with going to the UMass Band Day early the following morning. Well, that event was coming up again and I needed a female chaperone. Yup, you guessed it. Full of charm and ignorance, I asked Meredith if she would be the female chaperone for the kids. In an effort to say thank you, we had our first “date”. I took her to Ted’s Pizza (where I knew the owner and I hoped that relationship might make a good impression on my date).
There is still some controversy about whether or not that date was indeed our first date, but that is definitely the first time that we did anything together outside of our (limited) relationship at school. After the pizza and the sleep-in, I didn’t talk to Meredith for months. Some charmer I was.
More to follow…