Maybe I’m a little nosy, but one of my favorite questions to ask couples who seem obviously happy and in love is “How did you two meet?” The answers that I’ve gotten over the years have always been interesting, sometimes revealing and sometimes even helpful for my single friends. Here is Marion’s story.
LOVE IN THE STACKS BLOSSOMS FOR MARION THE LIBRARIAN…
I had taken a job as a library director at a little town in Northwestern Connecticut. I was thrilled to get the job as library budgets were shrinking back in Pennsylvania and at 44 I was way too early for retirement. It took me almost a year to find this job. I was nervous, too, because I was moving from a city of almost a million to a town of fewer than 4,000 people. Plus, I had also been divorced for five years and even though I still looked pretty good, I had pretty much given up any hope of finding another Mr. Right.
The job was terrific and yes, everyone kidded me about my first name, Marion as in “Marion, the librarian.” It seemed that the library was the true cultural center of the town and they had an energetic and loyal core of volunteers. Work was great, but I was prepared for some lonely evenings, because with such a small population, my chances of meeting anyone were slim to none.
I quickly made friends with the staff and some of the volunteers and they confirmed my fears about the singles scene. There was none. But, I really wanted that special good feeling of comfort and security that you get with a real relationship. My friends suggested that I try online dating, but I was still too shy.
I tried my own outreach program. I attended town events. I hosted dinner parties for both singles and couples. I made it very clear that I was open to meeting people, but nothing happened. I had arrived in March, just in time to get in on planning the big annual fund-raiser, the library’s garden party. I was also enjoying working on the annual summer lecture series, booking author lectures and book signings, and arranging special events for the kids and teens. I was pretty busy and just decided to stop being anxious about my celibacy.
Summer brought new challenges. We had an annual outdoor book sale from Memorial Day through Labor Day and though I had plenty of volunteers for planning, I had a real shortage of volunteers to help with the set-up and take-down each day of the sale. It was the end of a beautiful Friday in early May and thought I might get an idea of what to do at Jim’s Joint a popular watering hole for locals. I had already been to the pub a few times and really liked the owner, Jim Drumm. He was always friendly to me, but then he was to everyone.
I checked out the room, spotted a table full of friends and wandered over. No sooner had I sat down than Jim came over and asked what I wanted to drink. “Just a nice white wine,” I said, noticing for the first time that Jim had a great smile and Paul Newman blue eyes. Funny that I hadn’t seen his eyes before. I watched his steady hands and that super smile again as he handed me the wine. “Here you go Susan,” was all he said, but I felt myself blush.
I knew Jim was a big volunteer in town and very well liked. He was a member of the Volunteer Fire Department, helped with the school’s sports program, served on the land trust board and a bunch of other stuff. So I took a plunge, saying, “I have a problem Jim, do you have a few minutes to spare?”
“Hmmm, this sounds serious,” he answered. “Can we talk about it tomorrow? I can drop by your office about three if that works for you?” We agreed on the meeting particulars and I returned my attention to my friends.
In a split second Ellen, head of the library volunteers, whispered in my ear,”What did I just see? Were you coming on to Jim, our Jim?”
“Hardly,” I said. “I really need help with the book sale and thought he might know some people I could recruit. He’s going to come over to the library tomorrow afternoon and we’ll talk about it….That’s it. By the way, isn’t he married or engaged or going steady or something?”
“He was in a relationship for about 10 years, but they recently split. I thought you knew,” Ellen replied.
“I didn’t know, but that’s not what this is all about,” I said.
“But, maybe it should be what this is about,” she countered.
I thought about that as I watched Jim whenever I thought Ellen wasn’t watching. He was about my age. In a way he reminded me of the actor Harrison Ford. His features weren’t perfectly symmetrical but altogether, they were ruggedly handsome. I started looking forward to tomorrow.
The next morning I got a call from Jim telling me he couldn’t make it at 3 pm, but asked if I was available for dinner.
“Don’t you have to work,” I said.
“My boss gave me the night off,” he replied.
The dinner was fabulous, although I couldn’t tell you what we ate if you paid me. One dinner led to another and another and before we knew it, we were “an item” in town. He stops by the library whenever he can, and I must confess that we’ve stolen more than one kiss in the stacks. Oh, and Jim easily solved my book sale problem by organizing a group teens who he coached in baseball to help with the set-ups and take-downs.
I’ve been at the library for a year now and Jim and I recently bought a house together just outside of town. We’ll be moving in next week. Marriage may be in our future and may not. We’ll see how it goes.
Whether, you met online, through a blind date, by accident or whatever, love takes time to blossom. We want to hear from readers about this, so please send your stories to HERE.