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February 10, 2014

Linda Steinberg ~ Cupid Comes Calling ... but sometimes, it's not the right time





Sometimes Cupid comes calling but it’s not the right time. Usually, he doesn’t come back.  But, fortunately for me, he did. 

Jim and I met in college. He was sitting across from me at the dorm cafeteria and I thought he was cute.  He had Elvis sideburns and a thick shock of sandy colored hair that swept over his forehead past his glasses. I was a senior, pretty much thought myself too mature to date anyone but another senior. So  I asked, quite cleverly, I thought, if he was a junior. “No,” he answered, in that laconic manner I have come to know and love. I breathed a sigh of relief. Then he added, “I’m a freshman.”



No way! At that age, three years difference is huge. And we had absolutely nothing in common. I was a city girl, he was a country boy. I was an only child, he was one of six siblings. We were of different religions, and had different political views. But he was the nicest, most gentlemanly guy I’d met in four years of college. And did I mention cute? 


We dated on and off for the next three and a half years. I say ‘on and off’ because most of that time we were living in different states. And whenever we were able to get together I was never sure when, or even if, we’d see each other again. This wasn’t going anywhere. We led different lives. But neither of us wanted to break it off. 

Eventually, we both knew it was time to go our separate ways. I could see Jim and me living happily together for a few years, but try as I might, I couldn’t envision myself sitting across the breakfast table from him in fifty years. Hold that ironic thought.

A year later, I met my husband. From similar backgrounds, we connected instantly. We  built a life together, traveled all over the world, had two wonderful daughters. We’d been married almost thirty-two years when, suddenly and unexpectedly, he died. 

That same year I received an odd message on my answering machine. The caller, a man with a deep Southern accent, said that ‘it had been a long time’ and I should call if I wanted to talk to him. He left a phone number, but no name.

No name? He expected me, after not having seen or heard from him in thirty-five years, to recognize his voice? But of course, I did.  Of all the guys I dated when I was single, Jim was the only one I’d ever wondered about. Had he earned the engineering degree he was working so hard for? I hoped he’d found someone special and was happy.

After some hesitation, I returned his call. We talked for two hours, catching up. He now lived in Alabama. He had three sons. He’d been married to the same woman for thirty-two years, and she’d passed away a year before.  For someone I’d thought so completely different from me, we seemed to have led almost parallel lives. We exchanged email addresses. I figured we’d correspond for a few weeks or months, then gradually dwindle down to an annual birthday message. 

While I was still in mourning for my husband, Jim came to Dallas to attend a continuing education class. It was awkward seeing him, especially in my circumstance. There was nothing romantic about the meeting. But seeing him in person finally dispelled the image I’d carried of that nineteen year old boy with the thick glasses.  As we continued to email, I began to think of him as he was now. And at this age, a three-year difference meant nothing. 

After almost a year of emails and phone calls, we decided to meet in New Orleans for Mardi Gras to get reacquainted. But we didn’t need much reacquainting. He was still the same person I’d known years ago. And, just like years ago, I left New Orleans without any suggestion or promise of when (or if) I would see him again. 

Jim is very handy, and he’s all about being ‘useful.’ So I seduced him to come to Dallas by asking him to help me hang the curtains I’d recently purchased. One visit led to another, and now...
It’s forty-five years, almost to the day, since we first met. Both retired, we’ve been living together for two and a half years. We have a lot more in common than I would have thought, and the differences we do have no longer matter. Remember the irony I mentioned? God willing that we’re both alive and healthy, I am looking forward to that fifty-year mark, sitting at the breakfast table with my Jim, doing our daily Sudoku puzzles.



I’ve been hearing a lot of other real-life reunion stories lately. Has this happened to anyone you know?

Remember to comment to be eligible for the prize gift card. And I will draw a name from those commenting today to receive a copy of my romantic suspense, The French Deception, or my contemporary romance, Only  With the Heart

22 comments:

Pamela Stone said...

Hey, Linda. Great story. Better late than never, right. Counting on you and Jim to make that 50 years and then some.

Sally Felt said...

I love that you two found your perfect timing. Rooting for that 50 year breakfast!

Sally Felt said...

I love that you two found your perfect timing. Rooting for that 50 year breakfast!

Linda Steinberg said...

Thanks, Pam and Sally. I'm definitely trying to stick around. Now, back to my coffee and Sudoku!

Barb Han said...

What a beautiful love story. It lovely that you found your way back to each other. Meant to be!

Rita said...

What a lovely story. I'm so happy for you. I wish you all the best.

Linda Steinberg said...

Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. Although I've heard of other couples that got back together many years later. One, after forty years. (that one didn't work out) And one of Jim's relatives got back with her high school sweetheart FIFTY years later and he became her third husband.

bn100 said...

Lovely story; don't know any

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Juliet Burns said...

Linda! I'd never seen that old photo of you and Jim when you were younger. Wow. Love the new photo, too!

Jean MP said...

What a lovely story. How wonderful that you were able to reconnect after all those years.
skpetal at hotmail dot com

Angela Adams said...

Such a sweet story...thanks for sharing...

Jennifer Haddad said...

what a lovely story!! it is absolutely wonderful that you were able to connect again after all these years! It's all about timing.

Linda Steinberg said...

thanks, everyone. I do feel truly blessed. Juliet, you actually TOOK that new photo. It was the day we went to the Ft Worth Japanese gardens.

Melissa Keir said...

What a sweet story. I'm glad you got a second chance and it was so important that you had that time apart as well.

Melissa
daringzoey at yahoo.com

Linda Steinberg said...

Melissa, I really do believe that some things are meant to be, and some not. I believe I was supposed to marry the man I did and live the life I did. Jim's wife had a rare, fatal disease and she needed someone like him to stay loyal and take care of her all those years. But now that we're in the last third of our lives, I believe we're supposed to enjoy it together.

Bailey Stewart said...

What a wonderful story ... and I'm so glad you've found each other again. And I agree ... often times things happen the way they're supposed to ...

Karilyn Bentley said...

What a great story Linda! I love it! Here's to the 50th anniversary!!

chris keniston said...

Love the photo from the early years! What a great flash from the past.

the story is even better!

sadly- I know no other second time around stories- but yours would be hard to top!

Debbie Lou M said...

Man oh man! How life can turn out sometimes. Wonderful story. I personally don't know anyone who has had the second chance, but it's nice to know that it could happen.

Mary Preston said...

That's just beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Kim V said...

This hasn't happened to anyone I know; however, I love books that center around this topic. It is nice to know that it actually does happen.

karla eakin said...

Beautiful story..definitely gives us all hope that love will always find a way. Sending happy 50 year thoughts to you..Sorry about the losses you both felt, but glad you were able to find love and happiness with each other