The story of how it happened

One of the true joys and blessings of life is family. I’m pretty fond of mine, too. But you already guessed that or I wouldn’t be writing about them here, huh?

My wife’s name is BJ. Well, her family still calls her Bobbie Jean, but it’s always been BJ for me. I always tease BJ that I’ve known her longer than she’s known me. She was a grade behind me in school, but I knew who she was when I was in 8th grade. She was one of two girls that started for the junior high football team. She was a starting guard. You’d laugh if you see her now to think of that. She only stands 4’11”. She’ll tell you, though, that back then she was bigger than most of the boys.

We didn’t actually meet until I was in the 11th grade. We had a driver’s ed class together. I already had my driver’s license and was taking the course simply because my parents said I had to – seems they got a break on car insurance if I successfully completed the class. She was the unfortunate one: she was put in a group with my best friend and I and she had never driven before in her life.

I asked her out once that year and she turned me down. Now normally, being the prideful sort of male that many teenage males are, I would never ask a girl out twice. Hey! If she said no the first time, her loss. As I said, I was a teenager, whaddaya want?

Nearly two years later, I’d graduated and was working the graveyard shift at the local Stop-N-Rob. I came home early one morning to find a gaggle of girls at my house practicing some kicking routines. Seems my younger sister had invited the pom squad over to practice. Regardless, I wanted to use the phone and one of the pom-toters gabbed non-stop. In my angry “college boy,” voice, I demanded the phone, but asked who she was talking to. She was talking to BJ. I once again demanded the phone – with BJ still on it – and proceeded to ask her out once again. I was, of course, older and wiser at that point.

BJ said yes, and the rest, as they say is history. BJ will tell you that I took far too long to ask her to marry me. It was July of 1983 that we began to date. We weren’t married until 1990.

The pressure had been put on me, however. She wanted a “unique” proposal. Ladies, let me suggest to you now: take the proposal however you can get it. Do not, I repeat, do not put undue pressure on your hopeful spouse to be.

Well, I came up with a “unique” way to propose, but some of the situation was out of my hands. Initially, the proposal was to come in 1988…but that fell through. In 1989, I had my very first written published work — I proposed to her in that work.

We’ve now been married for 18 years and I’m now able to introduce us as “Dr. and Mr. Mann.”

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