On the morning of September 3, 1977 – forty-one years ago today – I awoke for the first time in bed with Julie.
The Back Story: Six years after Julie and I had mutually botched what we knew was our last chance to be together, we somehow arranged to meet on Labor Day weekend in Wichita Falls, Texas. OK, that’s a tad oversimplified. In those six years, Julie had left her first marriage to marry our college English professor, who had subsequent;y abounded. I had also – and was still – married. We had each relocated at least twice and pursued careers far removed from our degrees in English. Until she wrote me a few weeks earlier, we had been completely out of contact for three years, and neither of us had any idea where the other lived. Most importantly, we had both been smart enough, sensible enough, and mature enough to know that holding onto the illusion that the two of us would somehow, someday be together was not only unrealistic, but emotionally treacherous. Consequently, we had each surrendered that fantasy. We did not, after all, live in a fairy tale of the sort which features children who mysteriously disappear only to be serendipitously reunited with their parents years later or a cheesy melodrama in which twins separated at birth discover each other’s identity when they happen to ride the same subway car and notice they are wearing matching lockets – or a mythical universe in which lovers reunite after living disparate lives for six years. No, this was real life. On the other hand…
Well, like I said, we woke up together in Wichita Falls, Texas. And, because Julie and I spent this Labor Day weekend together with the Jerry Lewis Telethon playing everywhere, we henceforth thought of ourselves as “Jerry’s Kids.” Tanqueray and tonic was our official house drink that weekend – and for the next two decades. And, I still experience a downright rapturous physiological reaction on hearing the opening bars of Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love), a favorite of Julie’s:
The only two things in life that make it worth living
Is guitars that tune good and firm feelin’ women6
I don’t need my name in the marquee lights
I got my song and I got you with me tonight
Maybe it’s time we got back to the basic of love
Let’s go to Luckenbach Texas,
With Waylon and Willie and the boys …
Julie Showalter was the fiercely intelligent, sexy, and loving woman with whom I had a outrageously wonderful marriage that ended with her death in late 1999 from cancer diagnosed the week of our wedding nearly 20 years earlier. She was also a brilliant scholar, the mother of our two sons, and a prize-winning author. Many posts on this blog are about her and still others consist of her writings. Julie’s Story is the account of our unlikely romance, Information can be found at Julie Showalter FAQ.