Becoming the "AmeriBrit" Family – The Prologue
It's awesome being back here in the Pacific Northwest. It's been a long time since I've been able to sit back and relax and gaze out on the indigo shores of Puget Sound. Rachael has a nice place and she even left me some chilled Coke's in the ice box! I love her casual style, and wow! Look at all those movies. I'm gonna be in Heaven whilst I'm here. Maybe I ought to leave her some nice English tea and biscuits for letting me chill at her place.
When Rachael first asked me to guest post for her, aside from asking her is she was absolutely sure she meant me, I had the presence of mind to ask her to give me a subject to write about. Rachael asked me what life was like being married to a Brit. Thus the intro a series of posts about how the hubby and I met, and ended up married, was born.
Before I can delve into what it's like being married to my Brit, I need to take you on a little journey of how we first got to know one another.
I was a couple of months from my twelfth birthday and the hubby, G, had just celebrated his fourteenth birthday. It was the autumn of 1980 and I was starting a new school year as a seventh grader. If IPods were around back then, this is probably what my playlist would have looked like:
Styx - the entire Paradise Theatre album (I was a serious Styx fan. In the span of time from 1979 to 1985 I probably wrote them over 500 letters, so imagine the orgasm I had when I actually had Tommy Shaw and Dennis DeYoung in the studio with me whilst I was on the air in 1999! Then picture my utter humiliation to admit, live, to everyone who was listening that I dreamt of having Tommy Shaw's babies when I was a teenager. I will NEVER live that down.)
Blondie – Call Me
Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall
Pink Floyd – Run Like Hell
Queen – Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Queen – Another One Bites the Dust
REO Speedwagon – Keep on Loving You
M – Pop Muzik
Depeche Mode – the entire Speak and Spell album. My love of DM was only second to that of Styx.
Siouxsie and the Banshees – Happy House
Van Halen – And the Cradle Will Rock
Rainbow – Since You've Been Gone
AC/DC – You Shook Me All Night Long
AC/DC Back in Black
Andy Gibb – yeah I had a huge crush on him, so pretty much anything he sang I owned back then.
Shawn Cassidy – See Andy Gibb
The Eagles - Hotel California. Even though it came out when I was only eight, the Eagles were one of my mom's favourites and I inherited her love of them, especially this song. As I sit here and type this, riffs of Hotel California are blasting throughout my home.
Music was pretty much my life back then, so it shouldn't come as any surprise that I'd go on to be a radio DJ.
At the start of my sixth grade year the previous autumn I'd joined up for the school's "Pen Friends" program which matched-up students with other kids in the program around the world. Initially I signed up for pen-pals from Sweden, New Zealand and Australia. Keep in mind this was way back before Al Gore invented the Interwebs, so we wrote back and forth on special ultra lightweight Air Mail paper that was the equivalent of tissue and it took approximately three to four weeks for a single letter to get from one of us to the other. I was going to exaggerate and say that it took months because the men in the ships that carried the post from one shore to another were frequently overtaken by scurvy but alas, I am not that old!
At the start of the seventh grade I once again signed up for another pen-pal. Keep in mind, we were assigned pen-pals within two years of our own age and they were supposed to be same sex pairings. Picture my surprise when I get my first letter from a BOY in England! I was over the moon! My mom? Not so much. I'm sure she saw the writing on the wall. Add to that, we were Mormon at the time and very active within the church. G was not Mormon, another huge no-no in my mom's eyes. Back then I'm sure she had a nice young man, perhaps one of the Neeley's or even one of Bishop Holmes' boys in mind. They, no doubt, would start college and then go on their missions and come home, finish college and start families of their own. What could be more perfect for a young lady?
I read that first letter from G over and over again. Imagine my excitement when his last line read; "Please write back soon! Cheers, G"
I think my first letter to him was about ten pages long. I insisted on telling him every single trivial thing about me, including every song I loved and why. G has tried several times over the years to find that very first letter, to no avail. However, we have found several others from those first few years and have been able to piece together the foundations that a deep and lasting friendship was built upon and that would eventually lead us to one another, with G bent down on one knee asking me to marry him.
G and I faithfully wrote to one another once a month, if not more. All through junior and then senor high school I would rush to the mailbox after school to see if a letter was waiting there for me from him. Even though there were boyfriends I'd date, and one singular crush that lasted from the time I was fourteen until well into my late twenties that I thought would be the ruin of me, (whom I will only refer to as Mark C.), G was always there. He was like a steadfast beacon through all the teenage crap I'd put myself through. I told him everything, things I'm sure he didn't want to know, especially now that I know he had feelings for me, even way back then.
Our cross-Atlantic friendship survived an ocean of distance, the demise of other pen-friendships, my many varied changes in penmanship and hairstyles (Hey, I was a child of the eighties, and we've all seen this photo and this one, need I say more?), his bad break-ups with girlfriends, my bad break-ups with boyfriends, my shot-gun wedding to my first husband, the birth of my first son, birth of my twins, loss of my son, and my youngest son's birth from that first fated marriage, my career in radio and voice work, (yes that was, at times, something that needed to be survived, especially when I discovered my ego), two subsequent divorces and my frequent moves across the United States.
All of this would eventually lead to G spending an autumn holiday in New England in 2002 where we'd meet for the first time and spend the start of what would ultimately be the rest of our lives together.
The picture below was taken on that holiday, here in Maine at the Portland Headlight in Cape Elizabeth.