Today’s prompt for Just Jot It January is “serendipity,” which Wikipedia tells us is “a fortunate happenstance” or “pleasant surprise.” Since today is our 38th anniversary, I thought I’d reprint something from a year ago today, the story of the most fortunate happenstance of my life.
The Clock at Marshall Field’s State Street store, now Macy’s (source: Wikimedia Commons)
I don’t think I’ve ever told this story here, but if I have, bear with me.
I transferred to Loyola University Chicago in my third year of college, and got a job at Marshall Field’s at Water Tower Place shortly thereafter. They had a training class on a Saturday morning, when all of us from all the different stores in the Chicago area gathered in the training room at the main store and were indoctrinated into the ways of M. F. & Co. During the class, I was seated with a couple of divorced men in their 30’s, and we were talking and generally having a good time. Across the table, there was a cute girl with short hair and gorgeous gray eyes who looked maybe eighteen. I thought she was the sister of a guy I knew from grammar school, but honestly, I was a little too shy to talk to her.
About a week later, I was walking across the bridge that spanned over Rush Street between the two buildings at Loyola, and who do I see crossing in the other direction but the pretty girl with the gray eyes. We were both headed to class, so we didn’t stop to talk or anything, but I knew something was about to happen between me and the gray-eyed girl. And, a couple of days later, it did.
I got to school about an hour before my first class, and went to the cafeteria to get a cup of coffee. When I walked in, the gray-eyed girl was there, and she came toward me. “Excuse me, do you work at Marshall Field’s?”
Well, the ice had been broken, and we chatted for a couple of minutes, then she said she had to leave. “My name’s Mary, by the way.”
That was in October or November of 1976. By January of 1977, after many shared cups of coffee, I had asked her to marry me, and she said yes. And so, on January 28, 1978, Mary and I promised to be true to each other in good times and in bad, etc. and we became husband and wife. And we’ve been together ever since. And, after all this time, she’s still the pretty girl with the gorgeous gray eyes. And I can’t imagine life without her.