Marcy at The Glamorous Life is collecting engagement stories from anyone who wants to post one. Now that 16 years have passed, it seems like a good time to get this bit of family legend in writing, because, what with early onset Alzheimer’s and Adult ADD and other maladies that affect women of a certain age, I could very well forget how ours goes before I put it to paper. I mean, wouldn’t you love to have your mother’s or your grandmother’s engagement story in writing? (Note to my future grandchildren: You’re welcome.) So then, here goes:
We met as recent college graduates, enjoying the single life in the heart Washington, DC. It turned out, we grew up in similar families about two hours from each other in Central PA, and even went to the same college, but our paths never really crossed until we had moved to within one block of each other in DC, near 16th & U (kids, this was back when you didn’t go east of 16th street for fun). We were introduced at a party hosted by friends of mine – and his – from college. They wanted me to meet some guy named Scott, but I was drawn to this other cute boy, Curt, who almost didn’t come to the party because he was watching a baseball game. I knew then that if I was going to impress this one, I had better be able to talk some sports, so I wisely brought up Penn State Football and the rest is history. Pretty much.
I was in the process of moving to a basement apartment in Cleveland Park (this is a rite of passage in DC: All young city-dwelling singles at one time or another must live in a basement apartment) and in exchange for one free month, had access to it and the “opportunity” to paint it. I asked him to help. He said yes.
Fast-forward to about 12 to 18 months later. We were at a house party in Germantown. Adult beverages were being consumed. Favorite songs were being played. As The Violent Femmes’ “Add it up” played in the background (and what a romantic song that was to have as a backdrop for what was to come), Curt and I were perched in a doorway, talking about I don’t know what, when Curt declares this:
Oh, don’t worry, Meg – someday we’ll get married!
Of course I had felt he was The One from practically the day we met, but to hear him say this was a thrill. From there, we began setting the plans in motion, even reserving the date with the ministers before we made things official. (Funny coincidence about the ministers: The minister who married his parents was my minister when I was a teenager, and the minister at his church when he was a teen was my parents’ high school classmate and was in their wedding. Talk about the planets aligning! We had both of them marry us.)
We had not been ring shopping or even talked much about rings – I wanted to be totally surprised. Lucky for me and conveniently for him, Curt’s best friend from home had become a jeweler (and still is, and his stuff is gorgeous, so buy some bling from the Caleb Meyer Studio and tell him Meg sent you). Caleb and Curt faxed designs back and forth and Caleb made me this perfectly goregous, absolutely stunning, completely unique ring. Yet, even though I knew it was coming, I didn’t know exactly when.
Until one October Friday. After work, we had planned to go to Pizzeria Uno in Cleveland Park, and not just because they served giant, 22-ounce drafts of Rolling Rock. Before meeting Curt at my apartment, I stopped in at The Limited on Connecticut Ave., where they were having this fun sale – 20% off of everything RED. I selected a pair of red jeans, because what wardrobe is complete without a pair of those? But when I got to the checkout, the clerk informed me that they were not red but maroon, actually, and thus did not qualify for the discount. But I’m not one to make a scene, so I rolled my eyes until they popped out of my head, sighed loudly, complained to the person next to me, then paid for the jeans and left. Take that, Mean Clerk!
I stomped into my apartment still fuming and raging. As I was changing into my RED (dammit, they were red!) jeans, I was retelling the story of the “red sale” to Curt, who was sitting quietly on my bed looking kind of… funny. I sat down next to him. He held out a ring box.
“Ohmagawd, Is this it???” I asked, hyperventilating, and what I meant was, wow, it’s TIME (finally!), this is THE PROPOSAL MOMENT and I NEED TO SEAR EVERY DETAIL OF THIS MOMENT INTO MY MEMORY and WOW THIS AWESOME GUY IS ASKING ME TO MARRY HIM! and THANK GOODNESS and I AM SO LUCKY and YESSSSS!
Only what Curt heard was more like ….is this…. IT? That’s all? That tiny ring?
Once we cleared up that little misunderstanding and I stopped crying (I am such the crier), we proceeded to Uno’s, and THAT was where Curt told me the rest of the story. Earlier that week, he had borrowed my car one evening for some reason I didn’t quite understand but whatever, dude. He didn’t get back until way past midnight. Turns out, he had actually driven up to Hershey, PA (a 2.5-hour drive) to ask my mom in person whether he could ask for my hand in marriage. She said yes (and probably also, what took you so long), and then Curt got back into my car, picked up a sub from Mr. Sorrento’s to fortify himself for the long drive, and headed back to DC.
My car was never the same after that night, but is that not the cutest thing ever? Yep, I thought so, too.
The next day we drove to PA so Caleb could resize my ring and also deliver the news to Curt’s parents, and that’s a funny story too. You see, we had also secured an apartment and planned to move in together right after becoming engaged. Curt wasn’t sure his folks would love us shacking up before being officially married, but we were moving ahead anyway, partly because my landlords were nutty-crazy, and because, you know, two can live as cheaply as one and all that. Coincidentally, Curt had also just accepted a job offer for his second post-college job.
So you see, there was much Big News to deliver, and here’s how he did it:
Mom? Dad? I have some exciting news!
Meg and I are getting married! And, I got a new job!
And they were thrilled. Naturally! They barely batted an eyelash at the semi-controversial piece of news because he couched it in other really great news and, well, they wouldn’t have dared. At least not in that moment.