Chapter 1 ~ Love is Blind...

Over the course if the next several weeks, I will be publishing my story, as wife, mother, sister and daughter. This is the evolution of how a little girl can change the course of her mother's story, can change the course of her heart. If your new to this blog, please start reading here.

The "team" circa Christmas 1972
Chapter 1 ~ Love is Blind

I grew up surrounded by boys in a large Irish/German Catholic family. I have six brother’s, one older and five younger. My sister is eight years younger than me. By the time she came along, I was fully entrenched in boy land. I loved football and even had my own helmet that Santa had brought one Christmas. I didn’t discover I was a girl until I was nine, when my Dad informed me I could no longer play football with the neighborhood gang.

“Not fair,” I screamed.

“Life’s not fair,” my dad said.

He was right.

I eventually came around to the “girl way of thinking”, playing with Barbie’s and paper dolls. I was “all girl” in junior high and high school getting into trouble from time to time over a wardrobe choice that displayed my feminine charms a little too much for my father’s liking.

In college, I met the love of my life on a blind date.

Yes, you read correctly, a blind date.

It was April 1986 and my friend Kim called to ask a favor. She was dating a young Midshipman at the time and was going to be driving down to Annapolis to visit him. It was an hour drive from our town and her Dad didn't want her to drive alone so he asked her to take one of her "responsible friends". I asked what I was supposed to do while she and R were fawning all over each other?

“Oh, don't worry. We can't leave campus because he has duty but we can meet over at Dalgren Hall for the mixer. He promises to bring along a few of his friends so you and Christy (her other friend tagging along) won't be bored."

"A blind date? Not gonna happen. No way, no how. I will get stuck with some egotistical loser who loves his own reflection. Oh no.”

"Mar. You know R's friend all have such great personalities." she said trying to sound convincing.

Oh yeah...I had heard that one before! Personality is code for LOSER!!

After an hour of listening to her talk all bout how much she missed her guy and how her father was a tyrant and wouldn't let her go (smart Dad now that I am a Mom), I finally relented but warned her I would not be happy if this guy was a dud.

A few days later, dressed in my most conservative "responsible" clothing (because I knew I would NOT be meeting the man of my dreams so I didn't really care what I looked like) the three of us headed down to Annapolis for the evening.

Kim commented that I looked like an Amish librarian.


Upon arrival, R met us and escorted us to the mixer (for you young 'uns, this was back when there were very few female midshipmen so they bussed girls in every Saturday night from the local colleges to "mingle and mix". Nowadays they are left to their own devices).

That's when things got interesting. My blind date didn't show up but my friend Christy's did. He was a handsome, tall, blond blue-eyed stud. What took me by surprise was how funny he was. He didn't mind at all that there were two of us. He was a midshipman after all and "planned for all contingencies". He laughed and couldn't believe his good fortune.

“My Name is Jerry Don Lenaburg and I am from Collinsville, Oklahoma.”

Where the hell was Collinsville, Oklahoma I thought Jerry Don? That’s a little like Billy Bob. Yikes!

Just then I remembered the line from An Officer and a Gentlemen:“Only two things come from Oklahoma…steers and queers.” 

He didn’t look like either.

me and Oklahoma stud...1986...

Jerry took turns dancing with each of us and we were having a blast. He told us all about this foreign land called Oklahoma where there were cows and horses. After about an hour, he grabbed a mutual friend of his and R’s and introduced him to Christy, who went all gaga over the new tall dark and handsome.

I was stunned.

 He wanted to spend the rest of the evening alone…with ME! The responsibly dressed Amish librarian.

Oh be still my heart...

I had been on five dates in my life...not five boyfriends...five DATES and this was unchartered territory.

We danced some more, laughed continuously and had the very best time. He was such a gentlemen, holding out my chair, offering his arm, and he looked quite hot in that uniform I must say!

At the end of the night, Jerry walked me back to the car and sweetly gave me a kiss that turned my knees to jello. I found out later, it was his first kiss and he knew I was the "right one" to give it to. I was stunned. The man was 21 years old and not only was I his first kiss but I only met him because my blind date didn't show up! Hah!


Best luck evahh!

the "team" circa Summer 1984
My family did not make it easy for him.

The first time my father met Jerry, he simply stated "Son, I was in the Navy and I know what you’re thinking. Not with my daughter you won't."

I achieved that state of immortal embarrassment, rolling my eyes and giving the quintessential Daaadddd, please stop embarrassing me look when my father then leaned into Jerry, finger to his chest, "Don't get any ideas son. My wife was in the navy as well and she is still a better pistol shot than I am."

Miracle of miracle the man still wanted to date me!

For the first SIX months we dated, my six brothers just stared and grunted occasionally at Jerry.

One Friday night my dad ordered pizza since we were all watching a Washington Caps game on TV. When the food arrived, my brothers, as usual, stampeded into the kitchen without a thought for our guest.  Jerry decided he had enough and elbowed his way through the crowd to get pizza for the two of us before my brothers devoured it all like wolves on a caribou carcass.  

As my brother Chris was shoved to the wall so Jerry could get by, he said, “About time, dude, we wondered when you were going to man up.”

Jerry politely looked at him and said with a big smile said “Bite me.”

It was a definitive moment in their collective relationship. They had decided he was okay and began to warm up to him, including him in conversations and touch football games.

My younger brother Joe piped up while passing the mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving that year.

"You must be one stubborn dude cause we figured you'd be out of here in a few weeks and you just kept coming back. You really like her? Go figure."

Wow. What a ringing endorsement!

Gosh I LOVE brothers!

***If you wish to read here...thank you***

Copyright 2011 Mary E. Lenaburg

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