I know that many of you do not know much about how Marcy and I met or the story of our courtship. Some of the details of that time have been lost or never told before. It is a strange story, a story filled with real drama, tree branches used for illicit purposes, cows, fake drama, a park bench and a boy named Pumpkin.
Let's start at the beginning...
I was born in November of 1972... Okay, not that far back...
I left for college in September of 1991. I went to Howard Payne University, a wonderful, conservative, Southern Baptist school with many wonderful assets, including girls. Keep in mind that I had recently graduated 2nd in a class of 11 from Rochelle High School, a place where there were 3 girls in the entire high school who were not pregnant or married and I was related to all of them. So, I enjoyed meeting and blending with a new diverse crowd of kids from all over the world and, if the requisite gender, hitting on them.
Something else you should know about me at the time was this: I was a closet smoker. I began smoking in high school and it was something that I enjoyed greatly. At Howard Payne, smoking anything at all was frowned upon. There was not a single person in the entire theatre arts department who smoked. Can you believe that? I was working with a bunch of actors and stage techs and not a single one of them snuck out back to kill some lung tissue? Unheard of! So, when I needed a smoke, I would take a drive through the lonely streets of Brownwood and have a smoke. Eventually more joined in the closet smokers society, but that is a longer story of which few of you would be interested or approve of.
For two years, I built a life at Howard Payne. I made some friends. I even began developing a reputation as a very fine actor. I worked most of the time, mostly in part time jobs and work-study programs at the theatre. I had good grades and I had managed to date a wide variety of very sweet, Christian girls, most of whom had come to college with one, very important goal: to find and marry a preacher. At the start of my Junior year, I had Howard Payne by the collar. Most people on campus knew me from our productions and from my other activities on campus. I was a leader in the Theatre Arts department and I felt more comfortable in that place than I ever did in High School.
I am a member of Alpha Psi Omega. We are a national honor society for those who study Theatre. As far as I knew, every person who came through the Theatre at Howard Payne had pledged Alpha Psi. I did my freshman year and I was, and am, very proud of that. One of my duties during that year was to lead all of the new Freshman through a tour of our facilities and then give them the low-down on the coolest, and only Theatre fraternity on campus.
I met the small group on the lower level of the theatre and introduced myself and gave a brief introduction. All of the group responded with positivity except for one. She sat in the corner of our fraternity room with her arms crossed and she rolled her eyes at me. I was flabbergasted. For most incoming Freshman, me included, the first tour I had of the theatre was something I looked forward to and something that I remembered for a long time. Her reaction was so astonishing that I actually smiled at her. The effect was instantaneous. She smiled back, and realizing that I caught her reaction, she had the good sense to look embarrassed.
I began leading people through the theatre and everyone stayed with me and "ooohed" and "ahhhed" at appropriate times. She didn't. She stayed back several paces from the rest of the group and tried to make it obvious that she was not enjoying herself at all. At one point in the tour, I hung back until she came closer and I tried another winning smile.
"Having fun?" I asked.
"No," she said.
"I'm sorry," I said. "What's wrong?"
"This is like the fifth time I have been taken on a tour of this theatre," she sighed. "I got a tour when I came for the preview weekend last year, that Neil St. Clair guy took a bunch of us through the first day we were here. I think I have seen everything."
I nodded in what I hoped looked like commiseration. "I understand," I lied. "You don't have to go through this if you don't want to."
"No, I have to," she said and I turned away. I silently just checked this new girl off of the list of those that I would be hanging out with. I hated people with bad attitudes, and she obviously had a chip on her shoulder a mile wide. Fine. She didn't like me, well I didn't much like her either.
In Our Next Episode: Movie Night and the Chronicles of Monica.