Sunday, December 12, 2010

Today in History

Today is an important day in the history of the world, one that Al and I celebrate annually.  A quick scan of the day's events should reveal the reason.

  • December 12,1792:   22 year old Ludwig von Beethoven had his first lesson in music composition from Franz Joseph Haydn.
  • December 12, 1800:  Washington D.C. was established as the capital of the United States.
  • December 12, 1913:  the Mona Lisa was returned to the Louvre after having been stolen two years earlier.
  • December 12, 1946:  Tide detergent was introduced to the world.
  • December 12, 1957: Jerry Lee Lewis married his 13 year old cousin, while still legally married to his first  (presumably somewhat older) wife
  • December 12, 1965:   the Beatles gave their last formal concert in Great Britain.
  • December 12, 1976:  Al Huntley kissed Deb Robsky for the first time.
  • December 12,  2007:  Ike Turner died of a cocaine overdose at 76.

Well, ok.   Ludwig van Beethoven is my favorite composer of all time, but we do not celebrate his first composition lesson.  We do use Tide detergent, but its introduction is not enough to warrant a special glass of wine.  Jerry Lee Lewis' wedding anniversary? That is just creepy.

Maybe our celebrations have something to do with that first kiss. Many couples commemorate the anniversary of their first date, but in our case that is sort of difficult to pin down. The first time we went out together was when I was dating a guy named Jon and Al showed up in his place.  So, if we picked that night (December 3, 1976) as the start to our relationship, we’d actually be celebrating a night that I had a date with another guy.  

Wait, that sounds bad.  

Here is what happened.

Jon happened to be a good friend of Al’s. We were all members of the UCONN marching band and tended to hang around together.  So, it was not particularly strange for the three of us to go out to see a movie, get pizza,  or go ice-skating.  However, on December 3, 1976, Jon and I had a date  to see the campus movie (Woody Allen’s “Everything You Wanted to Know about Sex but Were Afraid to Ask”) and as far as I knew, Al wasn’t going to join us.  Sadly, Jon got news that his grandmother had passed away and that he needed to go home for the weekend.  He had tried to call me, but this was long before cell phones or even voice mail and he had been unable to reach me.  He asked Al to let me know what had happened.

At the appointed hour, I heard a knock and opened the door expecting to see Jon.  Instead, Al stood there.  His exact words were, “Jon’s grandmother died and he had to go home.  Do you want to go to the movie anyway?”

I didn’t have anything else to do that night, and like I said, we were all friends, so I said, “Uh. Sure.  I guess.”

Of course, we had a nice time, but we were just friends.  And I was dating Jon.

The next week, Jon dumped me.  Actually, that was fine with both of us.  He was a nice enough guy and we remained friends, but we were clearly not meant for anything more than that.

February 1977
Nine days later, on Sunday, December 12th to be exact, I was in my dorm room working on some homework when there was another knock on my door.  To my surprise it was Al.  He had two things to tell me.  The first was that he bought a used electric piano, complete with headphones, in preparation for an introductory piano class he intended to take the next semester.  The other was that he had a paper due the next day on T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland” and since I mentioned that I loved T.S. Eliot, he hoped I might be able to shed some light on this massive and somewhat opaque poem.

Well, I was very impressed by the piano;  pianos were certainly not  common dorm room accessories.  And I agreed to help tame “The Wasteland” beast.  To say that I really understood that poem would be giving me far more credit than I deserved, but I did have a heavily annotated copy from a previous discussion class, so I could share a few ideas and identify a few themes.

We probably talked about “The Wasteland” for half an hour.  Otherwise we talked about music,  skating, constellations, mutual friends, marching band, concert band... usual things.   Three hours later, Al started to leave.  I followed him to the back door of the dorm, wishing he could stay a little longer.   But, he did have that paper to write and type.  (For you young’ns out there, this involved an actual pen and paper, followed by a couple of hours with a real manual typewriter).  But as he said his final goodbye, he gave me a quick hug and a shy kiss.  And then he was gone.

Yup.  That is how it all started and tonight, 34 years later, we toasted that modest start to the grand adventure of our lives together.

Tonight I am grateful for celebrations that commemorate all those important milestones and events that give our lives shape and character.


  1. awww ... how very sweet. Happy first kiss anniversary, Deb and Al!

  2. And happy happy again on 121212! It is so lovely that you celebrate this occasion.