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MaryJo and I met in our Junior year of high school.  As is pretty typical with people who first meet me, she thought that I was quite a dork.  This is probably due to the fact that back in high school, I was kind of a dork. 

I'm not quite sure what I thought of MaryJo at first.  She was really brash and in your face, so I was pretty intimidated.  She also had, and still does, an amazing singing voice which I marveled at from the first moment I heard her sing a note. 

We shared a common interest, Drama, and went to the same class.  I was in the class to be funny and get an A, she was in there to act.  In retrospect, I think we both know that as far as high school drama goes, my agenda was the correct one. 

She was also in choir at school.  At one of their concerts MaryJo had a solo in the spiritual "Swing Low".  The stage the Choralaires  were standing on was raised about four feet off the floor.  I was so impressed with this little girl with the amazing voice and the deep soul that I ran straight up to the stage after the concert and leapt from the floor level up to where she was standing, picked her up, and gave her a huge hug.  I guess this made a real impression with her, although I did not know it at the time.  All things being equal, it's probably good that I didn't know, because I never would have done it.  I was always a bit shy. 

That same year MaryJo was working at a Hardee's.  For those of you who don't know what a Hardee's is, picture a Taco Bell and then picture it with about a half inch more grease.  My mother and I stopped in one day to enjoy a delicious meal, and MaryJo happened to be working that day.  My mother had never met MaryJo.  To be honest, I barely knew MaryJo at this point.  We'd seen each other in class and around school, but that's it.  MaryJo comes over to say hello, she says "Hi Jimmy", I say "Hi MaryJo, this is my mother", and my mother says "This is the girl you're going to marry."  Those were the first words my mother ever said to MaryJo.  We both thought this was pretty funny.  Crazy old mom and her ideas. As the years go by I'm constantly amazed at how wise my mother really was.

Well, me and MaryJo had another thing in common, we were both coming out of very destructive relationships.  We met in the library and had a nice talk one day about how both of us deserved better.  In my yearbook MaryJo wrote "Maybe next year we can do something nice together, like prom."  The next year MaryJo and I were cast in a play together called "In 25 Words or Death".  I was J J Hooth, she was Ms. Olive.  Our characters were basically dorks, and in the end they got married.  Weird huh?  At the cast party we ended up flirting a lot.  At the end of the night we exchanged a good night kiss.  It wasn't until the end of our senior year that we actually got together.  Actually the week of graduation to be precise.

After graduation we ended up moving in together.  We lived together for five years, and got married in May of 1991. Unfortunately, my mother was no longer around to see me get married.  Neither was MaryJo's mother.  Over the years we have lost quite a few people and have come to depend on each other quite a bit. 

Lots of stories.  Many sad.  Many happy.  Quite a number just plain pathetic, but through it all it's been easier because of having someone to share the load.  On May 14, 2005 we'll be celebrating fourteen years of marriage and 19 years together.  The notion of being one of those old couples who don't say much but look very serene appeals to me.  Although truth be told, I will probably be one of those old men who complains loudly to the waiter about the quality of the soup, while MaryJo turns her hearing aid down...

Well at least we can hope.


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