It was 25 years ago this weekend that Laura and I met. Hard to believe how fast time flies. It was Furman Homecoming Friday night, and we were both there under unusual circumstances. Here’s the story…
The Friday night of Homecoming Weekend students begin constructing floats on the mall. Well, not really “floats” in the technical sense, but displays. The alumni come back to wander along the mall and party with the students. There was always music and free food, and at one time there were even fireworks.
At that time Laura lived just around the corner from Furman. She had just given a big chemistry test that week, and had just celebrated her birthday. She was tired from staying up and grading papers, but couldn’t rest because of the noise from campus. She decided she would head over and at least enjoy the music in person.
I was there with my good friend Jim Davis and ex-girlfriend Sandy. Sandy and I had broken up months before, but were meeting so she could return some items she had borrowed (specifically one bass guitar that actually belonged to the late Robert Ridgeway.) Although Sandy and I were still great friends, and were on civil terms, Jim wasn’t sure what to expect, and started looking for someone to talk to in case hostilities broke out. Jim was/is a notorious flirt, and despite the fact that he was getting married in three weeks, struck up a conversation with Laura. Sandy departed, and Jim, Laura, and I enjoyed the rest of the evening listening to a great reggae band, appropriately named “The Elements.”
The next day we were joined by our friends Alan and Mary for the Homecoming Game. We ran into Laura again, and invited her to join us after the game to go hear another band at a local club. She took us up on our invitation. That’s when the two of us really hit it off.
I had somehow not managed to get Laura’s phone number, but I knew she taught chemistry. So, I sent a letter addressed to the her, via the chemistry department asking her out. That next Saturday we had our first date – a hike to the top of Looking Glass Rock in Pisgah Forest. The hike was strenuous, and I thought it was going to be our last date. We survived, and had a nice dinner at Frodo’s Pizza afterwards. Another date followed, then another, and a year later we were married.
Each year we try to celebrate Homecoming by going out on the mall and watching the floats being built. When Jim is in town, he joins us. He and I don’t see as many of our classmates anymore, but it’s a great time for Laura to reconnect with former students. We see Alan and Mary at the game, even more so now that they have kids at Furman who play in the band.
So, for this anniversary, we started with dinner at Frodo’s Pizza, then headed up to the mall. The kids still build floats…
…but for the last decade or so they have had rides and other attractions for the families.
It was a great way to celebrate 25 happy years, and to enjoy an October evening.