While Julie is busy working in Northern California, I have been asked to write today’s blog entry. This is quite the daunting task, as Julie’s passion for gardening is only surpassed by her ability to capture the moment, through her writing.
I am a 3rd generation Canadian, born in St. Catharines, Ontario. My grandparents came from Canada, England and Scotland, so as you would expect, I am a short, stocky, bald dude. My mom and dad were married for 57 years before my dad passed away in 2011. My mom has lived in the home that I grew up in for almost 47 years. My dad worked at General Motors for 40 years.
Maybe because of the longevity that was/is a part of my parent’s life, I have been a nomad. I have worked at more companies and jobs than I can count. I have lived in 12 apartments/townhomes/homes since I left my parent’s. But, in 2013, Julie and I will celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary. People were unsure if our marriage would last due to the nature of our relationship. I knew she would be in my life forever, the first moment we met.
Julie and I met in 1994 through an introduction from a mutual friend. Shane and I met in July 1991 in London, England, the night before we embarked on a 12 day, 10 country Contiki bus tour through Europe. Contiki has double rooms on their tours only, so if you are by yourself, you have to pick a roommate. We were very different; I was a preppy sales guy and Shane was a graphic artist with jungle print MC Hammer pants. Shane lived in San Dimas, CA (yes, Bill and Ted’s hometown) and I lived in Canada. We had a great time and became great friends visiting each other when finances would allow it.
In 1994, I won an incentive trip to Costa Rica and was not dating anyone at the time, so I invited Shane. Despite our hope that the all-inclusive resort setting might provide us with the opportunity to find some female companionship, this did not happen. It turns out that Costa Rica is full of German senior citizens in February and that our resort was their nesting ground. Shane does speak fluent German, so at least he was amused. My thoughts were of future travel and I wanted to visit wine country in Napa and Sonoma. He suggested that I call his friend Julie for ideas. When we got back to frozen Toronto, I made sure I got her number. This would be the start of the greatest journey of my life. Did I mention that Julie lived in Los Gatos, CA? This was 1994; before email and the internet. No one texted and there wasn’t any cheap phone plans. This was old school courtship with hand written love letters and long phone calls.
When I first talked to Julie about the travel plans, I found myself drawn to her voice. She was super nice, but scarily smart. From March until October 1994, we spoke on the phone almost daily and our letters and cards were mailed at least twice weekly. By summer time, I knew she was becoming more than a casual friend. I had to meet her. After mailing photographs of each other (remember we didn’t have Facebook either), we made a plan for me to visit her in Northern California. The plan was to meet at SFO and we would have lunch at Green’s Restaurant overlooking Alcatraz. The rest of the ten days, we would play by ear. Julie had to work while I was there, so I would explore during the day.
As expected, Julie was nervous and running late to pick me up at the Air Canada ticket counter. I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be. I was excited, but felt an overwhelming calm as I was FINALLY getting to meet her. She was more beautiful in person than the cute photo of her that I carried with me everywhere. We hugged awkwardly as we first met and we headed to the elevator. As we entered the elevator to get her Honda Civic (Sonic), I asked what floor is it on. Julie said 4G and that wasn’t one of the choices. In her frantic race to get to the airport, she memorized the location on the parking garage, but not the floor. Once we found the car, I put my bags in the back and went to calm Julie’s nerves. I hugged her and I felt the stress of the past months melt away. It was time for the first kiss and it did not disappoint.
Over the next 13 months, Julie and I were in front of each other 27 days before she moved to Canada. We were married on December 7, 1995 in St. Lucia. If I am allowed to write again, I will tell you about the engagement and wedding.
Hopefully, I did not bore you today. Julie is very passionate about our urban garden and her writing evokes that emotion. By now, I hope you realize that my main passion is Julie and our incredible journey in life.
I will leave you with this quote : “Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to (your) God”