I'll Meet You There ...

Monday, April 15, 2019

MAGIC MAN - Best 45 years of My Life

44 years ago, today, Bob called me for our 1st real date ... the all-night chat session at his house in March 1974 where Doug Moss threw the kegger and I carded him, was not a 'date' - it was happenstance. And Doug and I ended whatever it was we had together too that night - he pretty much knew just by watching Bob & I talk that he was history; but Bob was still officially married, though he and Gloria had been separated since November 1973 ... and she was openly living with another fella. When Bob walked me home - 5 minutes away - to make my midnight curfew (and he ducked into Mickey's Tavern before going back home), I made it clear to him that I would not be a backdoor girl and that though I was happy to finally meet him and get to know him, I would not get involved in a marital mess. If they decided to get divorced, he could call me: but not until then. I would permanently be unavailable as long as he was married. Gloria was Jehovah's Witness, so she was dragging her feet on ending the marriage even though she was actively involved in adultery.

I know, it didn't make any sense to me either ...

Anyway, Bob put it to her that the nonsense had to stop and that he had the right to move on with his life too. She filed for divorce on April 1st, 1974. I got the phone call April 15th asking me out for Friday, the 19th. I accepted.

Then I went into the kitchen where my mother was making Supper and asked, "Mom, what is the oldest age I can date a guy?" She said, "21". And I answered with a lie because I wanted to go out with my dream man - "He is exactly that  - 21 years old!" She must have heard something in my voice because she looked at me and asked, "Who is this guy 'exactly 21'?" I told her "Bob Hargand": and she immediately said, "No! You are not going out with him; I know who he is, and he is married." She also knew his actual age was 24; and I was 17. Well, I dug my heels in and said, "He is getting a divorce Mom; his wife is living with another man. And I am going with him when he comes for me Friday after work. I love him Mom - I have since I was 10 years old. I am going."

Needless to say, Bob did not get a warm reception when he stepped up on the front porch Friday evening. And I wasn't accepted any warmer at his parent's house later on.

But we didn't care.

We were in love.

From the 1st date ... half of which we spent helping my friends, Debbie & Walt, move into their Longview apartment (no fancy dates for us! It wasn't necessary I be wined and dined: there was never any getting-to-know-you-awkwardness with us) - Bob got drafted into that moving venture and took the change of plans like a trooper ;-) What a guy!

Picture of our first date taken at Debbie & Walt's, relaxing after the move. April 19th, 1974

From that time forward, we were together constantly after Bob got home from work. If the woods shut down early due to fire danger, or an accident on the landing, Bob was waiting for me after school on school days (by the Park - he was not allowed on school property because he was in his 20's) ... and off we'd go; first to stop at Skamokawa Cemetery to put fresh flowers on Timmy's grave (my cousin who had recently died: Timmy and I were close cousins), then either do some backroad driving which I loved, or I'd caddy for him if he felt like a game of golf (he later taught me how to golf and I enjoyed it too). Sometimes we'd go dancing at a couple night spots (I had a fake ID I had never used until then - and it was never questioned when I was with my 6'2" gentle giant: they figured if I was with him, I was old enough :-D ).

Basically I was just sleeping at home by this time.

Both sets of parents were frowning and grumbling.

We were deaf and blind to the complaints and sour puss looks: we were not going to let them come between us.

It was like we had always been a couple. We completed each other - we never had to work at building a relationship; everything just fell into place. By July 1974 the divorce was final and Gloria was remarried.

And we got married - against BOTH parental objections in August 1974. Our daughter was born May 1975 - when pregnancy was confirmed (I was determined I had "the flu" - Bob knew otherwise and insisted I make an appointment with the Dr.), I asked Bob want he wanted this time around. He said, "I have a son, I'd like a girl this time." Bob got his wish, and he was proud as could be when his little girl was born. We did not know until she was 18 months old that her immune system was flawed and that every time she got her vaccines the vaccines would nearly kill her. Seriously - we did almost lose her one morning; if it had not been for Bob's skillful race-car driving tactics, we wouldn't have made the hospital in time. We lived in Cathlamet at the time, which is at least 30-45 minutes away (depending on who is driving), and he got us from home to ER in 10 minutes flat. She never got another vaccine.

Doug Moss, my junior-high/high school on-again-off-again boyfriend remained a lifelong friend of ours, oftentimes rushing me to the hospital ER with Stacey when Bob was working and I needed a ride into Longview. It was Bob, after work one night that brought the news home to me of Doug's death 20/21 years ago - he didn't want me to hear about it from anyone else.

That was the kind of man Bob was.

The dream man who casually breezed past an unseen gawking 10 year old girl with stars in her eyes became her magic man and never ceased to think about her comfort/peace of mind, delight her, or work at pleasing her until his dying day in 2018 ;-)

Thank you GOD for giving me this man for a blessing!

Thank you David Almer for rushing Bob across Cathlamet's Main Street to meet me ... I wish I had paid closer attention then. LOL!

Thank you Doug Moss for insisting I be at that kegger: I shudder to think what my life could have been had I turned it down!

Thank you Bob for finally seeing me all grown up; and for loving me unconditionally, talking me into marrying you, and giving me the best 44 years of my entire life :-D

Done deal! And we never regretted our spur-of-the-moment Justice of the Peace marriage at Judge Hall’s home at 9 p.m. August 27th, 1974 :-D

I love you Babe.

Always have - always will.


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