The Day We Met

Have you ever tried to recall the first time you met a friend?  Maybe I’m alone in this, but sometimes when traffic is moving along slowly and the radio isn’t engaging me I start thinking about various people in my life and I try to remember that first time we met.  Some people just always seem to have been in my life, while there are a handful of folks where I remember the moment.

Like my friend DeAnne (or HRH DeAnne, her preferred title).  The first time I remember meeting her was when she walked by and dropped her business card on my desk – a lavender thing with a border that I want to say had maybe a floral pattern (I may be misremembering that bit).  What caught my eye was what it said in bold type: “DeAnne X” followed by “Queen of Everything” (err, the X is obviously not her last name, but I don’t think she wants you dropping by her house and genuflecting, which you would feel compelled to do).  How could I possibly NOT like someone who had a card like that?

But for the most part, the rest of my friends are just blurs of early images.  Anna coming back to the dorm early during the Christmas holidays and flinging her stuff on the TV room floor – Jonathan being briefed on our first RA assignment at the dorm where we were supposed to keep the rabble from tossing kegs on the passing UT football parade (the annual parade had been re-routed in previous years because of keg tossing issues from our dorm) – quiet April (so you know the memory is very old) – escaping from a goofy Jr. High slumber party with Julie in the middle of the night – Seth showing up in English where they announced he was from the exotic land of Canada (look, I hadn’t traveled out of Texas at that point and Canada seemed really cool – Canadian friends, I mean “Canada IS very cool” *cough*), but then there’s my friend Ernie.  I remember the day we met quite vividly.

Mom and I had just moved from Dallas (remember Dallas > Houston) and it was the last few weeks of second grade.  Ernie was assigned to be my guide that day.  He showed me around the school, took me to my class and then waited for me after school to make sure I got on the right day care shuttle.  Ern failed to get through my head that there were two shuttle pick-ups, so when he went off in the first one, I had a panic attack where I sat against the wall, freaked out and hoped everything would work out.

Poor Ernie, after that I followed him everywhere to the point that the day care staff would try to put a foot down and declare.  “No, Beth. You may not follow Ernie to the bathroom.”  (I just wanted to sit outside and continue to blather at him and haha to them, I did win that battle.  Lucky Ern! No escape!) If there was Ern, there was me close on his heels gabbing away.  (I used to be more gregarious.)  I made him play all of my stupid made up games.  I made him dig elaborate tunnels for army men in the sandbox and I probably even made him listen to show tunes when we were allowed to bring records to day care.  (I can be somewhat relentless and somewhat overwhelming when I like someone.)  The guy really had no peace.

It’s funny.  I’ve listened to Ern tell stories about what he was like as a kid.  He’ll talk about being apart from the other kids – somewhat aloof and very studious, which is all very true.  But I remind him of playing “Bonnie and Clyde” or our amazing bus scraps which usually involved someone drawing blood and he’ll smile and say, “you brought out the worst in me”.  I like to think that’s called “grounding” someone.

Do you remember the day we met?

9 thoughts on “The Day We Met

  1. Kendra says:

    Yes! I remember being at Jonathan’s house and they said Beth was coming. Then you came in and they all said “Hi, June!”. And I kept wondering where this Beth person was, because after you showed up they quit talking about her.

  2. Beth says:

    I blame Ernie for that and his overly catchy nicknames. I can’t believe he infected all of y’all. My proudest moment was getting a few people to call him Dr. Bun. Retaliation!!

    For some crazy reason, I first remember you sitting next to Mr. Eric at my apartment. This was before you refused to get my mail. HMPH!! I’m eyeing you, missy!!

  3. Charla Doughty says:

    I do remember…picnic day at the SOC reunion…and so it began

  4. Lee Nichols says:

    I distinctly remember meeting two people for the first time…one is Riley, probably my best friend from college, and the other is Shana, now my wife.

    I had just walked out of German class on a Thursday right after the semester started, Thursday meaning I was in my Army Class A uniform for ROTC, and someone grabbed my shoulder. I turned around, ready to punch them. It was Riley, also in uniform. He said something like “hey, aren’t we in the same dorm?” And the friendship started…almost with a punch.

    Shana and I started temping at the Bookstop headquarters the same day, in the Data Entry department. She was sitting directly behind me. I remember feeling very…intimidated…for some reason. After a couple of weeks she moved over to the Finance department. She became friends with one of the other girls in the DE area; we hung out as a group playing darts and such. After two years I asked her out; we were married later that year. It’ll be 20 years this September!

  5. Beth says:

    First off – congratulations to you and Shana (a little early) on 20 years!! That’s awesome! I had forgotten that Shana was part of the Bookstop gang.
    Second, so was it through you that the Utz’s met Riley? You knew Joel from private school, right? And did you get the Dale & Joel on at Bookstop?

    • Lee Nichols says:

      Yes, Riley and & I were rooming together throughout college. I knew Joel from high school in San Antonio. Dale was at Bookstop while we were there (or vice versa, in his opinion); Joel had already left Bookstop. I hung out a lot with Joel & Mary & Dale right about that time. Riley had moved down to the Valley for his job.

      None of those sentences really seem connected to each other. Feel free to have me clarify if they don’t really make sense.


  6. Beth says:

    I think I got it: Once upon a time, a not so long time ago you were in San Antonio and met one of the elder Utz’s; the two of you bonded and became fast friends. You spent a few years together, but then it was time to dash off to college where you were assaulted by a fellow ROTC member – a fight nearly ensued. Ultimately, you forgave him and eventually introduced him to this elder Utz. Utz Prime later convinced you to join in the family book business having made it look quite glamorous. However, once lured into his evil trap, he managed to scamper off with a little tee hee, leaving you alone with a younger version of himself and the infamous bookstore mafia. At this point you were busily flirting away with this cute gal in finance. The ROTC pal was still hanging around so you dumped him on yet another Utz. Two Utz’s were too much for this fellow and there was a rumor that there were two more lurking nearby, so he ran away to the Valley. And then you got the girl! And lived happily ever after!

  7. Lee Nichols says:


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