This is how I met my best friend, lover, wife and soulmate.
It was 1986, I was stationed in Hawai’i, actually my second tour there.
The Internet was still in its infancy, and not available for public consumption. The closest thing people had to electronic communication was the Bulletin Board System. CompuServe and GEnie were around, but they cost, and were separate entities, so if you had friends on both, you had to join both.
I ran my own BBS, The Scavenger Hunt, running off an Apple ][e, running GBBS Pro. Luckily, I was in a single barracks room. It was too small for a single E-6, and not big enough for two E-4’s. So, as an E-5, I had a private room. I actually had two phone lines for most of the time that the BBS was up, and I would actually call from my Fat Mac over to my Apple ][e, at the blazing speed of 2400 baud.
Anyway, I was a member of several BBS’s in Hawai’i, one of the was an “adult” board, known as the Oral Majority, a play on the Moral Majority, which was very active at that time. There was one user, Gypsy, that I had taken a hankering to. I was giving her such a hard time, that she came over to my BBS, my “home turf” to give some grief back to me.
What she didn’t know was that I knew she had visited a mutual friend, Dennis. Dennis was a constant scuba diving buddy, and while she had visited with him in his apartment, Dennis found out Gypsy was camera shy. So what did he do? whipped out a Polaroid camera and took an instant photo of her. I saw this photo afterwards, and told me about her shyness.
When I saw her log onto my BBS, I broke into chat, and we began to talk. I told her that Dennis had taken that Polaroid and had it blown up into a wall sized poster. This was one of those pictures where the developing chemicals were in little packets at the bottom of the photo, and were squeezed over the picture as it came out, which developed the picture. Without a negative, it would have been impossible to make one of these “wall sized posters.” But Gypsy didn’t know that.
So, Gypsy actually hung up on me, and called Dennis up and starting giving him a hard time, believing me, someone who she had never talked to and wouldn’t recognize me on the street if we passed each other, over a person she had already met.
So started our relationship.
We physically met a couple of months later at a BBS party hosted by Halle, who ran the Oral Majority. I walked over to her, and we started talking. I was so shy that I spent most of the time looking at her feet rather than her beautiful eyes.
We started spending a lot of time with each other. Gypsy lived with her grandmother, a little old Chinese lady who was afraid of me because I was a tall “Haole.” So, we spent our time in her carport. This being Hawai’i, it was okay, the weather was always nice. I wasn’t allowed into the house until after we were married.
She is two months to the day older than me, so we started throwing birthday parties for each other. They were held on Sandy Beach, out away from the city lights. When there were no cars late at night, the view was simply amazing. In 1986, she threw me a party, and used those “can’t blow out” candles. I got back at her. In 1987, I not only got her a kitten for her birthday, Snowy, but I used different colored chemlights to display her age in binary. Go ahead, blow those out…..
For Thanksgiving weekend 1987, a friend was off the island, and let us use her apartment. It was there we discovered we were both allergic to fabric softener dryer sheets. Every time we woke up, both of our eyes were covered in crud. She stopped using them, and the crud went away.
Anyway, Thanksgiving night 1987, I said two words to her. “Marry me.” She said one in return. “Yes.”
My parents came out that Christmas, to be at the wedding, but my parents scared her. They scared her enough that she broke off the relationship. After a couple of months, we managed to get back together.
On September 3rd, 1988, I stood with the love of my life in the Kea’iwa Heiau State Recreation Area, in front of a Justice of the Peace, and gave my wedding vows to her. Russell stood as my best man, Darcy was the Maid of Honor, and her good friend and mentor Richard gave her away.
Let me tell you about this place. A Heiau is a Hawai’ian holy place. This one was used to grow medicinal herbs. What made this place magical was, when it drizzled in the afternoon, you could hold out your hands cupped together, and a complete rainbow would form in your hands.
The funny thing was I spent that morning in “our” soon to be apartment, playing F-16 Falcon on my Fat Mac. I used the ejection handle a lot. We arrived at the Heiau separately. While I waited with Russell and the JOP, Darcy and Richard’s wife had to almost literally pry her out of the ladies room where she was getting ready.
That is how and when we started our life together.