proposal203Marcy 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.

Meg and Curt, July 2006

Meg and Curt, July 2006

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15 Responses

  1. I couldn’t believe he drove all that way to ask me a question for which my answer would not have made a difference, considering that you were both over 21. He stayed all of 5 minutes and headed back down the road. I commented that he scored many points, not that he needed to.

  2. :) how sweet. my sister had a moment like that too. she responded “are you serious?” when he asked! talk about a romantic answer!! ;)

    my hubs can’t keep a secret so i knew in advance that it was going to happen – just not when/how. i had a little time to plan.

  3. Thanks Mom – he did it because it was the right thing to do!
    Brooke – too funny, thanks for the comment!

  4. That’s a GREAT story, Miss Meg. And for the record? Chas and I never (cough cough cough OFFICIALLY cough cough ) lived together, because that part about THEY WOULDN’T HAVE DARED comment at that moment? Well, my father WOULD HAVE DARED. Not so much as a rant but as a lecture, which would still be going on at this minute, probably. Even though I was 32 and Chas was 37.

    Yep, still going on.

  5. I kinda knew the story, but that is a GREAT piece of your history:)

  6. That is so incredibly sweet that he took the trouble to driv e up there to ask your Mom. You two are really wonderful people who were very fortunate to have found each other, and more importantly to still be together and close after all these years. It’s remarkable and inspiring.

    I can’t wait to check out the ring when you’re here in July. I was too busy tossing back sippy cup wine and wondering where the laptop mouse was the first time we met.

  7. Foolery – there’s still plenty of commenting to go around. We all DARE from time to time.

    Randi – & Holly – thanks!

    CBW – aw shucks, you’re makin’ me blush. You’re too kind.

  8. What a great story!!!! I’m not sure I ever heard the whole thing, start to finish. Thank you so much for putting it in writing. I definitely did not know about the RED sale. Heh. Or the actual moment when Curt showed you the ring. Awww. *sniff*

    You know what I didn’t realize until just this moment? Yesterday, March 24th, I was at home celebrating my 39th birthday. But it was also the 18th anniversary of my engagement! It was the 2nd weekend of spring break, junior year, and we drove up to the old Valley, and looked around the old farm. I took pictures. Then we took Turkey Ridge Road through the woods and stopped at the access road, and got out of the car, and he popped the question. He kneeled down on his wallet because it was so muddy. Like you guys, we had already made plans for our future wedding and life together — but we had not gotten officially engaged.

    Quite unlike Curt, though, being as we were poor college students, J worked the previous winter break in order to save up a few hundreds bucks to buy me a ring at the local strip mall jewelry store. He took his sisters to help pick it out. I LOVE this ring and wear it every day. Some day it’s going to wear out, though. It’s kind of thin. :-) But I love it. It’s a symbol of where we were when we got started.

    We had seriously considered getting MARRIED over that break, during college, but decided our mothers would kind of kill us if we didn’t wait and have a proper ceremony after graduation.

  9. Bets-
    WOW! I had no idea how you guys got engaged; that is a terrific story. What a perfect setting.

    Meg did a great job recounting those wacky days of yore. I drove her VW Rabbit HARD up to PA and back that night, so as not to rouse any suspicion. I think I did that car in; it broke for good shortly thereafter.

    Looking back – in the short-term it seemed good to wait and enjoy the single life a bit longer, but in the big picture, should’ve gotten over my MCFF (male commitment fear factor) and jumped in much quicker. Good as being single was, being married to Soup is so much better. What a lucky dude I am!

  10. Bets – thanks for sharing your wonderful story, too, and happy birthday! There were always a couple of lucky senior girls who came back from winter break with engagement rings. You were one of ’em.

    Curt – now I’m blushing again. I think in hindsight, our timing was exactly what it should have been, and I am the lucky one. Truly. xoxo

  11. Awwww! Meg this is soooooooooooooooo adorable! And Beany’s story is, too! You girls are both very lucky… And Curt–you are SO way lucky! lololol… Not only do you have a stellar wife–but a stellar sister in law as well! Gorgeous, witty, talented? They have it all! :) Yeah… GREAT story! Thanks for sharing! xoxo–Sarah

  12. AWWWWWWW. gosh, you two are the sweetest. I feel like I post this in every second response to something you write but really, I can’t say enough how much it meant to me to meet both of you and have you tell me the story of your days on U street, dating and love, and a wide open future of possibility for wonderfulness….

    and voila, only a few years, many tears, pouting, foot-stomping and finally opening myself… it appeared. magic!

    Seriously, you two are the most and one of my favorite couples and this story is even sweeter. driving to ask your mom. Aww, i could melt! mwah, love yas.

    • ‘Words and Sernz – you are like the third and fourth people to set me all ablush over this. I’m glad you liked the story and thanks for commenting!

  13. […] weddingmaking through the back door (ooh does that make me a wedding crasher?) — through real-life/bloggy friend Meg’s retelling of her own engagement story, I found gems I never knew before. It occurred to me that although I write lots about my love, I […]

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