On March 8, 1987, I graduated from Naval Supply Corps School in Athens, Georgia, and was given a one-month leave period to make my move to Arlington, Virginia. I was one of four from my year group in Athens (me, Mike, Bruce and Greg) who had been selected to work as procurement, logistics and budget officers at Naval Reactors Headquarters, which was considered a very prestigious posting.
After two days of moving from Georgia to Virginia, followed by 29 days of being dissolute, I checked in at my new office (Room 3N11 in National Center Two, on Clark Street, in Crystal City) on April 8, 1987, and spent a busy day learning the ropes, as Naval Reactors was very much a “throw you in the water to see if you can swim” sort of place.
Sometime in mid-afternoon, I managed a quick bathroom break and was hurrying back to my desk, when out of a door on the other side of the resource management department’s office area stepped an inordinately attractive blond woman, her charms made especially striking when encountered in a building dominated by badly-dressed male engineers.
The lovely woman had already met Mike, Bruce and Greg, as it turned out, and so properly deduced that I must be the fourth noob of that year’s Naval Reactors Supply Corps cohort.
“So, you must be Eric . . .” she said, being a friendly type.
And I said in reply, because I am not half as clever as I like to pretend: “Must I be?”
Then I scurried back to my cubicle.
That was 25 years ago today, and that was the first conversation that Marcia and I ever had. Who could have possibly imagined where it would lead us?
It turned out we were neighbors, too, and we moved in similar social circles, so we saw each other a lot, at work and at play. I was quickly smitten, though it took a while before the feeling was mutual, and we didn’t start dating until about nine months after we met. After that, though, things moved quickly: within 18 months, we’d gotten engaged, bought a house together, and were married. The girl child (who is now 21) was born less than two years after that.
Then came Idaho. Then came New York. Then came Iowa. Wow.
I don’t know what I did that made me deserving of such an extraordinary life partner, but I’m thankful for whatever it was, and awed on a daily basis by my good fortune. So I must be Eric, indeed, and apparently, that’s just fine. Thank you, Marcia, for noticing. I love you with all of my being, and look forward to whatever adventures the next 25 years bring us!