Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Telegram

Rick and I met on a blind date.  Mary Stevens, mother of one of my students at St. Philip’s had me on her radar.  A single, young, catholic school teacher needs a single, young catholic man.  Mary’s cousin was best friends with Suzy and knew all those single Roszel boys.  She decided to work her match-making magic. 

Believe me; a single, young catholic school teacher has very little chance of meeting anyone teaching school.  As a matter of fact, my social life was pretty limited and my circle of friends small.  I came to Northern Virginia following my best friend, Mary who had a teaching position at St. Philip’s.  They had an opening at the school and I got an interview.

My interview went something like this, “Make sure the children pray every day.  Be good to the children.”  I was sitting before what looked like the mother superior from “The Sound of Music.” Sister looked like she had put in more than a few years in front of a classroom of children.  I was at the Diocesan Office and as quickly as I got there, I was out the door.  I was an official catholic school teacher.

Our first date was carefully planned by Rick; we went to Ireland’s Own an Irish pub in Old Town Alexandria. He arrived at my apartment; it was a little awkward at first, but we got beyond that after a few minutes.  We ate dinner, talked about ourselves and listened to the band play Irish tunes.  It got a little rowdy with audience participation and so we meandered outside for a walk and then headed back to Annandale where I lived.

When we returned to my apartment Rick stayed and we chatted.  We had a lot in common with our families being so similar.  Overall, the night was a success and he only waited two days to call and invite me out again.  However, I had plans, my birthday party at a friend’s house; I invited him.  This was the night that Steve’s worlds clashed; he was invited to the party and was shocked beyond words when he walked in and saw me sitting next to his brother.  They had a good laugh.

Word of my dating spread like wild fire throughout the parish, thanks to Mary Stevens.  She was pretty proud of herself.  Her next step was to put our names on a piece of paper and put it under a statue of St. Ann that she had on her dresser.  I had no idea about all of that but she let me know later. Rick and I saw a lot of each other; he frequently came over after work and would eat dinner with me.

One day at school, I was teaching and Sister Jane, the principal came down the hall with an older nun and interrupted and asked me to come to the office.  The older nun stayed with my students and we left the room.  The principal’s face was flaming red and she looked visibly upset.  I was so puzzled.  She led me down the hall to the teachers’ lounge and sat me down at the table.  She looked very hesitant and then said, “Jane, you have a telegram.”  I had never in my life received a telegram.  The secretary and the nurse had come down the back hall to the lounge and were looking in at me.  They all appeared very concerned.

I took the telegram and opened it.  It read, “Jane, Happy One Month Anniversary!  I’ll see you tonight. Love, Rick.”  I was mortified.  I looked up at the principal, the secretary and the nurse and said, “Ah, everything’s fine.  I’m fine.  I’d like to go back to class now.”  My cheeks were the ones flaming red now.  I got up and headed down the hall.  My heart was racing.  I had no idea it had been a month.  I was making dinner for him but I never put it all together.

Sister Jane was convinced that someone had died and that I needed to be surrounded by them in case I fell apart.  I told them the story at lunch and those teachers gave me a hard time of it; I was teased mercilessly. 

Rick arrived after work at my door.  There he stood with a long stem red rose, a present and a card  I was being wooed!  We had a good laugh over dinner about the telegram.  “I wanted to make it special in some way.  I thought that you’d be surprised,” he explained.  “Oh, I was surprised alright, I almost died of embarrassment!” I laughed.  He leaned over and kissed me.  “I love you, Jane, he whispered in my ear.” 

Oh my!  This man is smitten!

Rick gave me a Waterford crystal vase, the flower and the card which was endearing, if not slightly overwhelming.  I had only come off another long relationship not long before I met Rick.  I wasn’t in quite the same place as he was, but I was getting there.  He was just a few steps ahead of me.

1 comment:

  1. A sweet old-fashioned tale fit for the classic movies!