Sunday, September 7, 2008


Eight years ago I was a single girl living in a studio apartment and taking care of everything myself for the first time in my life. Prior to that I had roommates, family members and boyfriends who helped (or sometimes did not) with bills and such but I had never lived somewhere all on my own. I was dating and meeting all kinds of people as well as working for a healthcare facility in their Information Technology Department, spending time with family and friends and generally trying to figure out who I was in my late twenties. Life was pretty good.

A year before, true to form in my inability to maintain a career in one industry, I was laid off from a mortgage company along with a few friends. Some of those friends went to work for other companies while others of us continued to look for something that we would be happy with doing. One of the people from our former company went to work at a fairly big name and while there, met a guy who had recently moved to the area that she was sure would be perfect for another friend of ours who sometimes considered herself single. I agreed to take a ride up at lunchtime one afternoon so they could meet because, really, what else was I doing?

We called fix-up-friend at her desk and decided to meet out on the smoking patio. Our soon to be fixed up friend was not a smoker but the rest of us were so it seemed like a logical choice. They came out together and he shook both of our hands with a smile as he introduced himself. He was medium height, I guessed 5’-8”, really thin with brown hair and brown eyes and he had a bounce in his step. I liked him immediately; we instantly clicked and did not stop talking in the probable ten minutes we were there. At the time I was in a flailing relationship that was capping off well over ten years of monogamy and he was to be set up with my friend so I did not think much of it.

Fast forward a few months - they had gone on a couple dates but did not click and I had finally become the independent, single girl I was dying to be but did not know how badly I needed until it happened. We all landed jobs in or out of the same industry and most of us kept in touch. So when he asked me out I had to say “Well, you dated my friend, there are rules about that kind of thing.” He seemed to accept it and we stayed friends while she and I gradually lost touch as the calendar turned over to Y2K and he moved back to his home state of New York.

During the new millennium year he and I would occasionally visit each other for full weekends and chat on the phone to keep each other up to date on our latest obsessions or job changes. We never ran out of things to talk about and spent countless hours smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee in New York diners or Boston restaurants. It was nice to know someone who lived in New York, someone that could show me around the city and I thoroughly enjoyed his company but felt it was too long a distance to make anything work.

That holiday season was very busy and I neglected to get in touch with my friend to wish him a merry Christmas. I finally sent him an email in January of the following year and felt terrible until I received his reply which detailed that he was now living in Ohio and oops, sorry he forgot to let me know he had moved. I was floored! We had seen each other for a fun Boston weekend in November and two months later he was living in the Midwest. We spent many hours on the phone over the next few weeks discussing all the reasons why he was tired of New York and had to move, as well as how he had begun putting a lot of stock into who was really important in his life.

Strangely, something happened that spring and we began to get closer although we were living further apart geographically. Our conversations turned from surface based to depth and in May of that year we both nervously decided it was worth giving a relationship a shot even though he was in Columbus and I was in Boston. During this same time period, his brother in law was buying a new car and donated his old, red, GEO two-seater as a gift but said he had to pick it up to acquire it.

In May he flew out to Boston to pick up the car and although I was not originally intending to make the journey with him, I spontaneously decided to do so since it was the long weekend. In the week leading up to his arrival I spent time selecting some of my favorite music and recording it onto cassette tapes so he would have something entertaining for the drive. Mixed tapes are truly a lost art form. The two of us drove through 950 miles of rain and thunderstorms listening to the cassette tapes, seeing the country and acting like idiots at gas stations all over the northeast. We were falling in love.

Shortly after that he moved back to the Boston area and acquired an apartment in Somerville that he barely stayed in because he was always at my house. Life was fun and times were breezy. Then the country experienced the terror of September 11 and it made us both harshly put into perspective what truly mattered in our lives. We realized in those few weeks after the tragedy that for years we had been pseudo-dating, wondered what we were waiting for, and officially moved into a place together.

That fall we took a road trip to Cold Spring, NY, a quaint town full of adorable antique shops and a view of the Hudson River to drop jaw over. We had been a couple times prior and loved to explore all of the little treasures the town had to offer. I spent some time in one shop picking out a John Wayne pocket knife for my Grandfather for Christmas and then we were off to The Hudson House for the most delicious brunch, complete with homemade strawberry butter and warm popovers.

While in Cold Spring he had purchased a simple diamond ring and in November he presented it to me on one knee asking me to marry him. The next ten months were a whirlwind of hall selection, flower arranging, dress fittings and invitation sending. There were so many times we both wanted to give up and just fly off to Las Vegas to get married in a pink Cadillac by some Asian Elvis with fake mutton chops but we stuck it out and the day arrived. Six years has flown by in the blink of an eye.

Happy anniversary Matt.


S said...

Oh Wow Jenn!!:-)This could be the script of that enjoyable american movie (that only maericans can do IMHO) kinda "When Harry Met Sally"...
Don't know but there's something of familiar in your great gift of telling stories, in an easy wasy, yes...Genuine and true:-) Your story of great friends comes out to my mind Harry and Sally:-) have you ever noticed that? By the way, all my best wishes to you and Matt, great twin souls, if I can say this:-)
Reading your posts, beyond the fact that I like them, makes my english better, so that it's a good exchange abetween us: you teach me english, and I can teach you some tuscan slang, starting with Ciccia:-)Ahahahaha
Have a bright day!
ps Can imagine the joy of Matt reading the post, uh?:-)


Bridgete said...

That was so sweet to read.

Happy anniversary to both of you!

Bree said...

What a great story! Happy anniversary!

Chris Stone said...

How sweet! It sounds like such a special relationship!

Happy anniversary!

High Desert Diva said...

Awwww.....sweet story! Happy anniversary!

Samantha-Rose Hunt said...

How about that completely made me get goosebumps.
Amazing, and so incredibly sweet.
Thanks for sharing this...and...
Happy Anniversary!

Julie said...

Congratulations to you both!

As for mix tapes, we did cds (same time frame, so don't go feeling old). It was interesting (for me at least) to see how many tracks from those mixes were on our "must play" list at our wedding.

Here's to continued happiness for you both!

TheresaJ said...

Happy Anniversary! Enjoyed your story and wishing you many more years of happiness together.

Suldog said...

Nice story. I love happy endings.

Happy Anniversary!

Sahara said...

Beautiful Chucka! I hope you've got this written down in your wedding album!

Happy, Happy Anniversary to you both! And many, many more! :D

Judi FitzPatrick said...

Love how you told the story of your merging paths.
Happy belated anniversary!

Love, Mum

Rosebud Collection said...

You know, this is a beautiful blog..
To me, your mate, is your best friend..So happy for you both..Happy Anniversary..

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

You all are so awesome :) Thanks for the well wishes everybody!

Andrea said...

Awe what a sweet post. It gives me hope. :)

fly tie said...

very enjoyable read. :-D

ginger said...

oh! that is so sweet and touching. seriously, i'm all verklempt.

happy anniversary!

Karen said...

Aww, I love hearing how people met and fall in love. So sweet :)