When I told my husband that I was writing a blog post about him, he dismissed the news with, “That’s going to be very boring. Why would anyone want to read about me?” He liked the title, but thought a good alternative would be, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!” I have to say, that is fitting as well.
Although I’ve written several posts during the 18 months I have kept this blog, I don’t think I have given proper due to Dave Oliver. He definitely deserves credit for everything does everyday to show his love, attention and thoughtfulness. He sees to all the little things that make the difference—grocery shopping, vacuuming and mopping the floors, cooking and CLEANING OUR CATS’ LITTER BOXES. Dave also steps up to help my daughters, their spouses and our grandchildren.
I mentioned in my last post [Time Tunnel] that I have been married three times. The first marriage was in November 1968, lasting until we divorced in June 1978. My second marriage was on the rebound. We met at Parents Without Partners and blended our families with a wedding in June 1979. We were not the Brady Bunch, although each of us doubled our families, including the cats! My younger stepson described my cat as his “step-cat,” which seemed quite humorous at the time. My second husband had two boys and I had two girls. That marriage withstood many ups and downs, finally ending in September 1992.
I was in my middle forties in 1992, with 23 years of marital experience stretching between two marriages. Some of my friends were also divorced by then, one of those failing at a second marriage too. I was in psychotherapy with a skilled psychiatrist who guided me through this divorce, its aftermath and my years of self-discovery. My daughters were happy that I was on my own, having witnessed the chaos and darkness of the past 13 years. When they both left for college, I was living by myself for the first time in my life. I expanded as an autonomous being—missing my children, but savoring time as my own best friend.
David Oliver and I met in November 1993 at a weekly singles group listed in the Denver Free University newsletter. It was called The Sunday Night Club [SNC]. I enrolled in this activity along with a writing class titled “Writing the Wild Woman.”
The members of the SNC got together for activities and networking. Like-minded people organized outings to local theater productions, salsa dancing, wine tastings, board games nights, etc. Dave and I connected through a breakout group that loved going to the movies. The first movie we scheduled was The Piano on the following Tuesday night at an art theater near downtown.
As luck would have it, this theater was located in the Governor’s Park neighborhood of Denver, where I had bought a condo in January 1993.
A heavy snowstorm blew in early in the afternoon, but I decided to drive to the theater and see the movie anyway, even if no one else showed up. Three other people did arrive—Dave and a couple in a relationship.
Dave and I became a couple from that evening on because we didn’t want the conversation to end. We set another movie date for the next Tuesday, followed by a Friday night date a few days later. A routine quickly developed–our Tuesday movie nights, dinner with a rented movie on Friday nights, a dinner we cooked together on Saturday nights and a Sunday afternoon walk around the historic neighborhoods we shared. We talked on the phone every night we weren’t together. This kind of friendly romance was new to me.
Dave is an architect and he taught me lots of architectural terms as we picked our favorite houses along the streets we explored. Since I am a Denver native, I knew historic details that enhanced our growing familiarity with the beautiful old homes we admired. My mother had grown up in this same area of Denver, so the stories she had told me became wonderful nuggets to embellish what we were learning.
Dave and I were fortunate to live close to each other, each of us in corner condos on the ninth floor of our buildings facing west. Dave’s condo sat on the edge of beautiful old Cheesman Park and mine overlooked the Governor’s Mansion and other notable mansions and grounds that I could see from my balcony. We have been talking and loving movies ever since, as well as reading and discussing mysteries and history, poetry, music, our previous relationships and marriages. In addition, we have traveled to cities all over the country to visit plantations, estates and famous homes.
For the first time in my life, I was spending time with a man who was also a friend—who loved to talk and shared many interests with me. We had the same attitudes about politics and religion, and we agreed on ethical and moral standards–all the basics that create a strong relational foundation. He even listened to NPR—the first of my friends who did! He was also a Democrat! Another plus.
My daughters loved him and he loved my daughters and their boyfriends. He even grew to love my cats! Eventually we decided to marry and picked the date of September 20, 1996.
When I was a young girl, I never envisioned myself in “serial” marriages. Although my sister’s first marriage also failed, she remained content in her second union. By the time Dave and I married, I understood my previous failures. Both of us worked through our problems separately in therapy, combining the techniques and strategies we had learned to build a strong relational foundation.
I overheard fellow teachers at school whispering comments about me when my third wedding became public, including snickers about my name changes. I chose to view these as sign posts denoting my growth as a human being. I didn’t plan to explain myself and no one asked. Only one person told me that it took courage to marry again. Smiling, I replied that was a tribute to my extreme optimism.We have never regretted our leap of faith. Our goal is to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in 2021. Hope all of you are there to celebrate!