In one of my stories I will list all the crazy connections I’ve noted between my wife and me. The story today is about the first time I ever saw Kim, now my wife.
Do you believe in love at first sight? How about The Godfather – did you see that movie? Well if you did then certainly you remember the first time Michael saw Appolonia while he was hiding out in Sicily. His bodyguards described the scene by saying Michael was hit by “The Thunderbolt”, a powerful, almost dangerous longing in a man for a specific woman.
It was summer of 1972, I was 14 years old and 9th grade had not yet begun. I was walking with one or two friends and we were headed to the Woolco shopping center or maybe to the high school ballpark. We had decided to take the shortcut through the back of the YMCA….and there….she was. I was stunned by the girl on the pitching mound who was coaching softball. My face got hot and for about a minute I was oblivious to my surroundings and I just kept staring from a distance at this girl I did not know. It was the strangest sensation I had ever experienced, (other than perhaps the time a cat fell from a tree onto my face or the time I was squashed by a school bus – those were pretty strange too). I did not understand what had just happened, but even then I knew that I would never forget this moment. (I’m not sure if this is an appropriate correlation, but I never forgot the cat claw to the eye either, by the way).
This girl with the rocket arm, (and scowl on her face anytime she glanced my way), was with my childhood friend from 3rd and 4th grade, Rick Grubbs. One of the kids I was walking with was Randy who I have written about in Bucking the Pecking Order and Stupid Things (read me). Even this scene unfolding before me has connections for me. Rick was a favorite childhood friend of mine. He was also a cousin to Randy; and Rick was about to introduce me to the woman who would one day give birth to my three sons, (note that their names are not Robbie, Chip & Ernie), the woman who I would one day just “know” I was supposed to be with. Like Marty McFly’s dad in 1955, this girl was “my density”. And just like Marty’s dad, the challenge I would ultimately be presented with was – how to convince her that I was right for her.
We walked over to chat with Rick. We all did some hand-bumping or high five’ing or chest bumping and said some how-r-ya’s and then Rick said, “do you guys know Kim Pike”? Kim Pike, Kim Pike – so now I knew her name. She goes to Wilson Jr High with us. How have I never seen her before this? I mean, I know we’re not in any of the same classes, but shouldn’t I have a least seen her in the halls in between classes? But I hadn’t (and 40 years later she admits to me that she was coaching with Rick because she had a crush on him). And where have I heard that name Pike before? Oh yeah, the little King of the Hill guy (read me) – I wonder if they’re related.
She was dressed all in 1970’s girls’ softball attire, complete with ball cap and tube socks. After learning what type of girl I really liked, (read me), how could I not be smitten by this little brown squirt with the baseball glove who was propelling pheromone missiles my way? We all joked & palled around for about 60 seconds while Kim kept playing with the kids and then we let them get back to coaching and we headed out.
And that was it. That was the very first time I saw Kim. I had been hit by the thunderbolt. I didn’t know what it was called and I honestly didn’t understand what had just happened. But I sensed that whatever had occurred was not common and I didn’t think I could share it with anyone – so I didn’t. The only person I shared this with was Joe Copas (read me).
In fact, (and you can ask Joe about this), one day not too long after I had started chasing Kim through the hallways of high school, Joe, Kim & I were talking in the hall, just outside the main office. Kim turned away to go to her next class and I turned to Joe and said, “I’m going to marry her someday”.
The boy who I played Knights with on the monkey bars in fourth grade and kickball in third had introduced me to my future queen (aka ‘boss’). As the connections would later play out, Rick would be a primary actor in a high school play which would ultimately be the first official date for Kim and me. For now though, we were 14 and we had said hello to each other. We would not speak again for more than two years, early in the 11th grade.