How We Met, Reconstructed

One of the nice things about marrying a person you've known for six hundred bajillion years is that there's a pretty good chance his parents still live in the town where you met. My parents used to live there too, of course, which makes any visit back an exercise in fitful nostalgia. There's your old house, says Sean as we drive past it, and I crane my neck to peer into the kitchen. That's where my brother and sister used to wait for the school bus. There's the store where we bought our bread and our milk. That's where I kept stalling when I was learning to drive stick; I was late for a babysitting job and I had to ask the guy in the car behind me to get out and drive my car over the slope.

I have known Sean for fourteen years this summer; we met at the end of July in 1996. In two years, I will have known him exactly half my life. The story isn't new; I've written about it here and here and here. We met on a beach in Connecticut, and every time we go back to Connecticut, we go to that beach and look around and reminisce, like people on a package tour of their past lives.

The first time I laid eyes on Sean, I was sitting cross-legged in the parking lot of that beach in my JC Penney jeans. He rode up on a bicycle and started playing hackeysack. Look, I totally made him act that part out:

Ah, the nineties: simpler times. Times when a girl could like a boy who played hackeysack and not be ridiculed for it. Times when a boy could play hackeysack and not look like a.....nah, that hasn't changed.

Here's the phone Sean was hogging when I needed to call my parents to ask them to come and pick me up.

I can't believe that phone is still there, fourteen years later. I guess I figured teenagers these days just Skyped their parents on their iPhones when they needed a ride. In fact, Sean may actually be the first person to use this phone since 1996 when he used it the first time.

Here's the bench I was sitting on the first time Sean rode by on his bicycle and said hello to me. Then I sat on it again a few months later, when we found each other again by accident, and at first he didn't remember me but then he did.

Huh. I don't remember those rather uncinematic gasoline cans being there. Then again, I was probably too starry-eyed to notice.

Here are the rocks we used to sit on and look out at the sunset. This part didn't happen until we were actually dating, of course. Before that, I just used to come here by myself and write angsty poetry and listen to Matchbox Twenty. As you can imagine, a lot of people on the rocks were doing the same thing.

Before we left the beach this time, we grabbed a man who was crossing the parking lot and asked him to take our picture. "We met here," we said. "Fourteen years ago. And last year we got married. Would you mind?"

"Aw," said the man. "Not at all." And then he snapped our picture in front of the women's bathroom. I could have photoshopped the sign out but I thought it was kind of funny. Won't our grandkids be so proud.

Aug 29, 2010

I love the photo series! New England Summers are amazing! Did you have any lobster on your trip?

Aug 30, 2010

What a good sport your husband is. :) I too am astonished that the pay phone is still there, since I can't remember the time I actually saw a pay phone. Maybe at a rest stop in the middle of nowhere? You'll have to spend ages explaining this antiquated technology to your grandchildren, who will probably be born with communication microchips already installed.

What fun to recreate your first meeting. Thanks for sharing it. :)

Aug 30, 2010

That phone booth is fabulous! I swear you've made this story up - everything about it is just such perfect 'American teen life' as we in the UK know it.

Either that or you and Sean are just incredibly cool, and life in America really is like it is in the movies. Yeh, that's probably it isn't it.

Happy 'meet' anniversary! xx

Aug 30, 2010


Aug 30, 2010


Locusts and Wild Honey
Aug 30, 2010

And now you've been married nearly a year! Congratulations you crazy kids.

I think the next time we all have a glass of wine or three, I'd like Sean to hackeysack. It seems like it could be rather hilarious.

That's the verb, right: to hackeysack?

Or is it, to hackey?

Aug 30, 2010

"Awwww" indeed. Your story brings real meaning to the concept of "fate". Truly, t'was meant to be :-)

Aug 30, 2010

That's so wonderful! Every time I walk past the spot where my husband and I met(24 years ago) as teenagers I get a sappy grin.

Romance with a healthy dose of realism - now that's my kind of story.

Abby McKee
Aug 30, 2010

I love dragging people to the bar where I met the Horse Whisperer. There's something really special about reliving that moment when you first laid eyes on The Guy.

Aug 30, 2010

God, you guys are cute.

Aug 30, 2010


Aug 30, 2010

Fantastic, especially the hackeysack reenactment photos!

I love it when you write about Connecticut because I lived in that same town for 14 months, so I can sometimes go, "I know where that is!" or "I got a doughnut at that Dunkin Donuts last summer when I was back to visit!" Okay, maybe it was two doughnuts. Well, fine, it was three. But I saved one for later.

(Thirty minutes later.)

You make me wish the story behind meeting my boyfriend was more than, we met at a bar. We hooked up. Been together since.

Adorable story.

Aug 30, 2010


Aug 30, 2010

...and now you've given me a great idea for the next time my husband and I go bhack to our hometown - get someone to take a picture of us where me met. Not quite so cinematic, though - it'll be out the front of my then-boyfriend's house, where neither he nor his parents live any more. But it was also a bajillion years ago - and then we didn't get married for another 23 years, and both of us married and divorced other people in the meantime.

Aug 31, 2010

Man, I was gonna write awwwww but Melanie and ScottsdaleGirl beat me to it. You guys are effin' cute.
BTW, what happened to hacky sack?

Aug 31, 2010

You two are so cute I really almost want to die.

Aug 31, 2010

Incredible walk down memory beach.

It seems like such a cheerful place. I love how the sign at the lifeguard tower is like, "Water Rating? Good...but, uh, with jellyfish. Whatever, you can still swim."

Aug 31, 2010

Am I honestly the first person to comment that your husband looks like Clive Owen? Well done, madame!

Sep 01, 2010

Ahhh... Weed Beach! Know it well. I grew up in New Canaan and that was a common "hang out" spot. That and the Mobile station. Not sure why we thought hanging out at a gas station was a good place but Weed Beach was always fun. Lots of cute boys. ;)

Great photos -- congratulations on 14 years together!

Sep 01, 2010

your relationship story lifts me up every time :) cheers to the most adorable couple!

Camels & Chocolate
Sep 04, 2010

Awww I love this. But nothing beats Sean feigning a game of hackeysack. Oh, the 90's.

May 18, 2016

Notnihg I could say would give you undue credit for this story.

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