Think back. Sorry, yes there is homework in this post. Again, think back. Did all your serious relationships come with a song? You know, that “we have to have a song” type of relationship? I’m sure there will be “non-conformists” that say no. I’m not one of them. When I think back on my past relationships, I can pick five serious ones going back to when I was 14 years old. Michelle #1 (number designation will be apparent in a second), Rhonda, LaManna, Aireana, and Michele #2. Every one of them had an “our song” attached. Below I’ve written the song associated with each relationship along with a little anecdote.*
Michelle #1 – Faithfully by Journey: I met Michelle when I was 14 years old on the bus during a choir trip to try out for state (I made it by the way). She was sitting behind me and as shy as I was we somehow ended up talking and cutting up the whole six hour trip. On the way back home we ended up sitting next to each other and I pulled apart the earbuds on my Walkman headphones (remember those?) so we could each hold one and listen to the same cassette. We started out listening to Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, along with several others, but by the time Steve Perry of Journey had finished belting out power love ballads, I knew I was going to ask Michelle to “go” with me. Which was our East Texas way of asking someone to date you. Some may argue that 14 is not old enough for a serious relationship. However, when I think back, it’s really the first long term one I was in. It lasted almost two years, which I think is a lifetime for kids that young. We chose the song Faithfully because of our love for Journey the first time we met, but it also had another significant meaning. About a month before the end of 9th grade, both our families informed us we would be moving in the summer. Michele was moving to South Texas and I was moving to Northeast Texas. Totally opposite directions. We were devastated. We concocted a plan to make sure we’d stay together forever, faithfully. We were going to have a baby. They couldn’t separate us if we were having a baby right? Kid logic. While we weren’t so naïve as to not know how babies were made, we were ignorant enough not to know that it might take more than one time of unprotected sex to achieve that result. So just a mere week before she was scheduled to move, we set up “the night of conception” when my parents were going to be out of town and not be getting back until late. We were in my bed and just seconds from, er, uhm, officially beginning the baby making process, when bright headlights flooded the room from my windows. My parents were home early! We froze like deer in the headlights and then scrambled for our lives. Michelle was just zipping up her shorts when my Mom walked in. It was a close call in more ways than one. Could have totally screwed my whole life up. As it was, we still tried to “faithfully” maintain a long distance relationship. However, with only snail mail and long distance phone calls (which was one of my Father’s cardinal sins) to keep in touch, we eventually called it quits.
Rhonda – Almost Paradise by Mike Reno (Loverboy) and Ann Wilson (Heart): After moving to Northeast Texas before beginning my Sophomore year, I had a few flirtations with a couple of girls who actually became real good friends, but Rhonda was my first serious relationship at my new school. I’d seen her around a few times but we didn’t have any classes together and really didn’t hang with the same people. She seemed to hang out with people that were a little “edgier” than me and my friends. Several of my friends and I belonged to the Leo club. This was like a younger version of the Lions club which basically was a group of people that contributed to giving back to the community by doing charitable works. Rhonda was not initially part of the Leo club but she showed up with another friend of mine at one of the meetings and joined. So now I had a reason to be around her and we seem to hit it off. Shortly after she joined we were organizing a dance to make money so the club could continue to do community projects. I often found myself working side by side with Rhonda when we were making preparations. The day before the dance Rhonda approached me at school and told me that she had recently broken up with her boyfriend but that he was hounding her to get back together and wanted to go to the dance with her. She told him that she was going to the dance with me. Did I mind? Uhmmm hell no! I was ecstatic! The dance had a Footloose theme and while I danced worse than Willard, Rhonda convinced me to get out on the floor with her. When Almost Paradise came on it was our very first slow dance. The Monday after the dance I asked her to go with me and we started a whirlwind relationship. One of the things I remember about Rhonda was that she always had the biggest smile on her face. I honestly can’t ever remember having a bad day with her. We had so much fun together. Which naturally led us to getting married. What, you say? Married as a Sophomore? Yeah we did, but it wasn’t legal. We went to a carnival where they had a marriage booth. They did the whole set up though, with a veil and reciting oaths, and an official looking marriage license. Not official enough to convince our parents to let us live together though. Although they never found out that we used to sneak into each other’s house way after curfew. Unfortunately during the summer after our Sophomore year, I went to a church summer camp for several weeks that she didn’t go to. Then to top it off, when I got back from camp my Dad informed me that we would be spending the rest of the summer in El Paso so he could attend a training school for his job. This practically wiped the whole summer out for us. Of course, the stupid interweb still hadn’t been invented and this time apart did our relationship in. When I got back Rhonda was honest with me and said she’d become interested in another guy while I was gone. To her credit, she didn’t act on it until I got back and she could talk to me. While it still hurt a bit, we split amicably and remained good friends. It was ALMOST paradise.
LaManna – The Search Is Over by Survivor: LaManna was my first real wife. If you’ve spent anytime reading this blog then you know I’ve had more than one. I went to high school with her but we didn’t really run in the same circles. I had a few classes with her and we had chatted all friendly like from time to time but that was the extent of it. A couple years after graduating I was back home on leave from the Navy for two weeks and I was “cruising” with my buddy Sam when we saw LaManna and her friend at a red light. We pulled over and started talking and before I knew it I had spent almost every waking minute of those two weeks with her. Unfortunately she had a boyfriend that was off to college and she could offer no more than a good friendship as much as I wanted it to be more. I shipped off to sea for six months and wrote her a letter almost every single day. I never heard back from her until the last month of my deployment when she began to send frequent letters. One day, the letter I had always wished for arrived. She informed me that she had broken up with her boyfriend and was very interested in pursuing a relationship with me. After I got back I took another two weeks leave in which we had an even better time than before. At the end of that leave, at midnight, in the baseball dugout of our old high school field, I asked her to marry me and she said yes. Before I went back to my ship we picked The Search Is Over for our song. Three months later we were married. We asked Sam to sing our song at the wedding. I even had a video tape of it until Wife #2 destroyed it. I truly believed the search was over. I was married and that’s the way it would always be. This occurred in 1988 when we were both 20 years old. Yup, got married before we were even legal to drink, and we didn’t even “have to”. The first several years were good, but even so, it was just too young to get married. She gave me two sons which I will forever be grateful for, but both our interests in life changed and we grew so far apart that it could not continue. So the search was not over. As a matter of fact, it was just beginning.
Aireana – You’re Still The One by Shania Twain: After my first marriage dissolved I began to sow the wild oats I hadn’t scattered before because of getting married so young. So where does one go to do that? Why a BBS of course. What’s a BBS you say? It stands for Bulletin Board System and in the early 90’s was the computer precursor to the impending explosion of the interweb. Meeting people online was practically unheard of back then, so you can imagine that my relationship was met by skepticism from some. Aireana was the ultimate party girl. She drank hard, she banged hard, and she didn’t give a shit what you thought. I bought into that all the way. We started out as just “fuck buddies”. No relationship, no love, just fun. That only lasted for about six months before we suddenly discovered that we were practically living together. We couldn’t deny it then. We admitted that we were in a relationship. I met her four year old daughter and she became a part of my life. The relationship alternated between awesome highs and soul crushing lows. But even with that kind of roller coaster ride, after three years, we made it official with a wedding ceremony in my parents backyard. We danced to Shania proclaiming that you’re still the one. We thought it was appropriate given our rocky path. We were rebels. We would show everyone that thought we were doomed. There is another line in that song; They said I bet they’ll never make it. Guess what? They were right. The relationship lasted another two years, but after being cheated on for the umpteenth time I finally called it quits. Sorry Shania. That was a great song but it didn’t work for us. I’ll give you another chance though. See the next one.
Michele #2 – From this Moment On by Shania Twain: This Michele is #2 in your program but #1 in my heart. She is my current wife. Now I am sure that using a song by the same artist as your ex-wife breaches some kind of etiquette protocol, but this really wasn’t a conscious decision on our part. We were put on the spot in front of a crowd and had to choose a song. Let me back up a bit and first tell you how we met. She hates it when I tell this story but seeing as how she doesn’t read my blog, I guess I am safe. Unless one of you tattles on me. Don’t be a tattler Cindy Brady! Anyway, we met, surprise surprise, online. In the early 2000’s IRC (Internet Relay Chat) was a popular platform for chatting with people around the world. We came across each other in a channel on IRC called #30-40something (hashtags were actually invented before twitter, millennials!) We chatted from time to time and I considered her a friend even though we had never met IRL. She lived in Vancouver, BC, Canada. I lived in Ventura, CA. At the time I was actually “dating” another girl I met in the channel who was from Australia. We had met IRL several times and at the time of this story she was staying with me for several months. Two other friends from the channel were getting married in Las Vegas and we had been invited. I also had a friend from work named Brian who had just recently ended a long term relationship. I introduced him to the wonders of chatting with “computer people”. Michele and Brian had been hitting it off online so I had the great idea of flying her down to Ventura so we could all take a road trip to Vegas. The whole trip was fantastic and we had a great time. One thing that contributed to this great time was a pair of lounge singers who belted out tunes at one of the bars in the hotel where we were staying. We stopped in the bar for a “couple” of drinks and ended up staying there all night listening to Stuart May and Mariellen Murray sing and interact with the audience. I ended up having more fun (innocent type) with Michele than I did with my own girlfriend. Brian and Michele never did make a connection and several months later I broke up with my Australian girlfriend. Even though I vowed to swear off serious relationships and never get married again, Michele and I maintained a close online friendship. Two years later we were walking through the entrance to the same hotel bar because we were getting married in the chapel there the next day. May and Murray were still headlining and they actually remembered us. When they found out we were getting married they pretty much dedicated their whole show to us. That’s when they asked us point blank in front of the audience what our song was? We had never gotten around to picking one so we just kind of stared at them blankly. Murray, sensing our discomfort, quickly responded by suggesting Shania Twain’s From This Moment On, and began to sing it. So we danced to it and listened to the lyrics and loved it. That’s how it became our song. Later that night I was well into my cups and they were singing an uptempo song and I thought it would be fun to spin Michele around in her high top bar stool chair. It was fun until about the third revolution when she went flying off and landed right on her head. After making sure I hadn’t killed my bride to be, we were safely seated again when from the stage May snapped out this beauty, “You know it’s true love because Michele really fell for Lee.” You nailed it Stuart. From that moment on it’s been fourteen years and we are still going strong.
*I had the song playing on a loop as I wrote about each one.
You have any “our songs”? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear your stories on how you got them.