The true story of how I met my wife
Part Three—Love Letters
Once we got on the QEW towards Toronto—no one calls it the Queen Elizabeth Way—the improved road conditions and non-existent traffic allowed us to make good time. We pulled up to the front door of Massey Hall just a few minutes after seven o’clock. I dropped everyone off out front in case they might be able to get seated, if the play had started a little late. Then, I headed to find a parking spot.
Once parked, I ran the two or three blocks back to the theater. Inside, I found my friends standing with the usher and few other stragglers by the auditorium doors. The play already had begun and we would have to wait until the “all clear” was given for us to enter.
After only a few minutes we were quietly directed in the darkness to our seats. Love Letters is a two-person play starring, on that occasion, Robert Wagner and Stephanie Powers of Hart to Hart fame. In Love Letters, the two characters take turns reading letters that they have written to each other from childhood, through school years, and into adult life.
During the intermission, we finally met the other half of our octet: Laura, Winston, Lydia, and John, all of whom I was meeting for the first time. Were there violins, harps and a choir playing at the sight of my future bride? That would have been romantic. But there weren’t. No spark or anything. Later I would even learn that Lydia had arranged the outting so that she could be with John in a group setting. She had her eye on him.
As we waited for the second act, we spoke a bit about our impressions of the play and the weather outside. I learned that, following the play, the plan would be to head back to Lydia’s nearby apartment for dessert. All pretty ordinary and unmemorable, to be frank. The second act commenced.
Later, after the audience applauded, the actors bowed, and the lights came up, we organized cars for the trip to Lydia’s. Since I didn’t know where she lived, Laura switched places with Veta in my car to give directions. Well, that was the plan, anyway.
I still needed to get gas. Laura assured me we could get some on the way. What a relief! But as we drove through the still-falling snow, instead of giving directions, Laura and Anne-Marie sat in the back of the car and chatted.
“Is this my turn?” I asked to get Laura focused on her assignment.
“I’m not sure,” she said. “Where are we?” You know, that is not a good question to hear from your navigator.
I knew we were traveling east, but I wasn’t even sure what street we were on. It was dark and the car windows were less than clear. Add to that, the wind-driven snow had done a good job of covering most of the street signs. At the same time, Drayson and I kept looking for an open gas station.
I finally caught a glimpse of a major highway below us as we crossed a bridge. “I think we just went over the Don Valley Parkway.”
“Oh, we’ve got too far east,” Laura said with a giggle. “Take a left at the next major street.” Finally, some directions.
At the next light, I made the left turn and glimpsed the street name in the partially snow-covered sign.
“Okay, we’re heading north on Broadview,” I said.
“Okay. That’s good. Takes this to Danforth and turn left again.”
There were no gas stations on Broadview, open or otherwise. I looked at my gas gauge with the needle snuggling up to the “E” line. “Great,” I muttered. I really didn’t need to burn these precious fumes on a nighttime tour of Toronto’s east end, and in a blizzard, no less.
After a couple more left turns, we were at Lydia’s apartment building. We had driven the three long sides of a rectangle to get there. I dropped off Laura and Anne-Marie near the front door and then Drayson and I hunted for a parking spot. We ended up in a “No Parking” area, but I was fairly certain that no one would be out in the worst storm of the year ticketing or towing cars.
Only we crazy people seemed to be out of doors that night.
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19/Mar/2007 – Beginnings, Part Three 4 comments