This is a love story. The ultimate high school sweetheart love story. It is a story of two average teens that fell in love, raised an average family and lived an average life. It is a story that a husband needed to put in print. It is a story that is not unique, it is as I said “average,” this story is happening next door, across the street and maybe in your house. This story is going be told, because you see, it’s long overdue. The average story doesn’t make big headlines or profits. But is the average love story really average or is it as I believe, “extraordinary?” For those two teenagers to live and love for richer or poorer, through sickness and in health till death they do part is to this average man a story worth telling. I dedicate this story to my wife, the beautiful young high school sophomore with the Irish dimple and the white mittens. The woman who gave me goose bumps, Brendan and Kevin and the never ending love that moved me to put this down on paper.
It was a high school ski trip on the last day of February 1970. We made the date at our hall lockers. I was excited. It was Gore Mountain in the Adirondacks in its early years. The weather was cool not cold. A yellow school bus full of high school sights, smells and sounds sat at the edge of a snow encrusted parking lot. It was 38 years ago but I can see, smell and hear that day like it was yesterday. She had on her long green ski parka, knit hat and the white mittens. The white mittens that started this life long love in motion. It was a great day of skiing, hot chocolate and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. She was different than the rest. She was herself. No makeup just Chapstick, nothing phony, just pure Catholic school girl honesty at its best, young and beautiful. We were all alone on a yellow school bus full of people. Laughing and teasing teenagers warm with anticipation and cold feet. Then it happened. One clean white mitten fell to the floor of that dirty old yellow bus. I bent over. She bent over. It happened just like that. She looked at me. I looked at her. I picked up a mitten and kissed that beautiful young girl. That moment, that instant and it was never going to be the same. She stole my heart and changed my life.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.