Tuesday, 16 August 2011
Key to My Heart
By Lyn Burnstine
In Ronni's daily blog recently she asked the question, "How did you meet your significant other?" I commented that I had written my "cute meeting" story already and that it was too long for a comment. She assured me that it did not have to be a story of a love that survived for a lifetime.
I was seventeen when I flew the nest for college. It was almost unbearably exciting for me to go from the quiet of a rural existence and a small-town school to the hubbub of activity in a dormitory with a hundred girls. And if I couldn’t find someone there to talk with at every available minute, there was always the music conservatory where I already knew most of the other students through visiting my older sister, June, on campus the previous three years.
A late-bloomer, I never really dated in high school. But there was an upperclassman who had spotted me on my visits and was ready and waiting to pounce on me - and I knew it. Heady stuff for a 17-year-old from the country!
It didn’t take me long to discover, though, that I wasn’t eager to be tied down to one boy with all those to choose from, so soon I was social-butterflying around with a full dance card.
However, I wasn’t always free to date on weekends because my job, for room and board, was to be a “bell girl” at the dorm: to sit at the desk in the entry hall, answering phones - “Good evening, Aston Hall” - ringing each girl’s individual ring (after 50 years I still remember mine) to tell them of a phone call or a date’s arrival, and then signing them out and in.
In those days of curfews and strict supervision, the entries were required to show the name of the escort, time of exit and arrival home.
My boredom at being on duty was sometimes relieved by visiting with the guys who were waiting for their dates. One particular night, I had brought supplies to write letters during the down-time.
For some reason, that night every young man who came in gave me little gifts - one a piece of chewing gum, one a penny, and one a key, saying as he tossed it to me, “Here’s the key to my heart!”
I chuckled over all of that silliness and tucked them away in my stationery box, promptly forgetting them.
A few months later, I came across them, after falling in love with one of those givers of gifts. I said then and throughout our 21-year marriage, “How could I miss? I had the key to your heart!”
[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]