The Start of Something Big

I missed yesterday’s post, which was supposed to be something about writing. I confess I haven’t been working on my writing, even though it seems I should have all the time in the world with my broken ankle keeping me relatively immobile. And I do have time. I just don’t have the motivation. Maybe it will return now that I’ve gotten permission from the doctor to be a little more mobile–still non-weightbearing but able to put my leg down for periods of time.

A silly picture from the early days.

But today, Tuesday, is to let you know something about me. And it’s perfect, because today is May 8 and it happens that I met my husband on May 8. I hate to tell you how long ago, because I will sound ancient, but…I think it’s kind of cool that we’ve known each other so long when so many other people don’t last together.

We met in 1981, 31 years ago today, at the NCO Club at Yokota Air Base in Japan. Patrick was stationed there, working passenger service at the terminal, and I was just an Air Force brat, taking college classes on base. I didn’t generally hang around at the Club, but my friends talked me into going that Friday night. Patrick was a bit inebriated when he came over to ask, “Will you please talk to me the next time you see me?” Then he turned around and left.

Hanging out in Patrick’s dorm room.

And like any bored-silly 18-year-old would do, I got up and followed him outside. We sat on the grass and talked for a while. When I asked his name, he gave me the full name, which accounts for why he is Patrick to me and Pat to everyone else. He offered to come with me off-base the next day–I had some running around to do–and said he would find my house. I didn’t expect him to show up, of course, because he was drunk and I am not known for giving good directions. But he did show up…and it was the start of something big.

He told me later he had seen me around base and had even been on the same Rec Center tour my friend and I had been on a couple weeks earlier. The trip was to see the Great Buddha at Kamakura, built centuries ago, and hollow, so you can walk around inside it. I did seem to remember some guy asking me what it was like inside as I walked out and he walked in. I didn’t really pay any attention, but I’m glad he did.

Buddha Daibutsu, Kamakura, Japan. This statue,...

The Great Buddha at Kamakura, where Patrick and I exchanged our first words.

He had sat behind my friend and I on the bus there and back and thought we were rude because we were listening to our Walkmans (which we called Sound-Abouts) instead of socializing with the people around us. It didn’t feel like I had been rude at the time, but I laugh about it now because about 20 years later I was saying exactly the same thing to our children as they constantly listened to their iPods. (I still am, for that matter. 🙂 )

It plays only memories these days.

My whole world today follows from that May 8th in 1981–I can’t imagine how my life would be if Patrick hadn’t seen me again at the Club or if I hadn’t followed him outside. Would we have still met on another day or would we have had to wait for another life? Questions I’ll never know the answer to, but I thank whatever gods there be for the way it all worked out.

December 1982–engaged at Christmas that year.

And that’s a little something about me. Tomorrow, I’ll ask about you. 🙂

About Jeannette Monahan

A writer sidetracked by life, with a husband and two boys who shine brighter than Arizona sunshine. Visit me at my blogs: or You are always welcome.
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12 Responses to The Start of Something Big

  1. M.C.V. Egan says:

    That’s a great story and what a cute pair…1981 I was 21 sturying in Lyons, France…right around the Time Francois Mitterand became the socialist President and there was all this worry and anxiety…pretty much as there is today with Monsieur Hollande…1981..long ago and yet so clear in my minds eye
    M.C.V. Egan

    • Hi Catalina, thanks for stopping by again! You’re right–when I think of over 30 years, it seems like a very long time, but in my mind, too, it all seems much closer. That’s the paradox of time, I suppose.

  2. emjayandthem says:

    “But he did show up…and it was the start of something big.” — Love it.

    What a wonderful trip back and so interesting to boot 🙂 MJ

  3. Aw Jeannette that is such an inspiring story. 🙂 Wishing you a Happy Anniversary of your first meeting. 🙂

  4. Talk to me...I'm your Mother says:

    What a sweet story. Aahhh…young love!

  5. pharphelonus says:

    What a lovely bedtime story. You are blessed.

  6. Thank you, Hank. 🙂 I have to agree.

  7. kavenson says:

    I love stories on chance. No ‘set up’ or ease in from friend to mate – but that complete chance of decision. I met my husband that way as well. A chance meeting or someone’s decision to pursue and 23 years later, we still like each other.

    • It’s pretty amazing, isn’t it? It makes it seem meant to be. Which really doesn’t seem like chance at all, until you think how easily it could have gone another way. We are lucky girls. 😉

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