I met Tom online. That was back in the days when there was long before eharmony.com, match.com, christianmingle.com or any other online dating sites. If they existed, I didn’t know about them. It was only by fate that we met. I had gotten online at the precise moment as him, and he sent me an instant message through American Online (AOL) — the site we both used to access the Internet via dial-up modems. Tom had flagged my profile, so that when I got online at the same time as him, he would know and could send me a message.
We chatted for a month and a half before we met in person. I got to know who he was on a very deep level, and I just outright liked him a lot. We talked about everything and anything. He talked about his brother, his Mom and Dad. He talked a lot about his cousins, Tim, Bill, Dee Dee and his Aunt Gloria. I felt like I knew everyone that he cared about. We liked the same things, the same food, had the same thoughts about religion and family life. He wasn’t quite as adventurous as me — um, maybe polar opposites in some regards to some things, but that’s what keeps it interesting!!!
We talked online for a couple of weeks and then that turned into a nightly phone call. And then we decided to meet. My good friend, Karen was all for me meeting him — after all, she met her husband through AOL. My good friend, Michelle was worried that he was some creeper and online stalker — people didn’t really meet through the Internet. And in 1999, most people didn’t really know what the Internet was.
We met in person in June of 1999. I knew by Thanksgiving that he was special — there was just something really right about Tom and me. It didn’t take long for me to realize we were meant to be together. It was a little bit scary. All those years I was waiting for the right person — I almost didn’t believe this was actually happening!
On this day — May 6, 2000 — 13 years ago today, Tom and I went to dinner at the same place we had met a year before — a jazz club in Cranberry that is now Primanti Bros. It was a beautiful day with warm temperatures, and as the sun went down, we left for dinner. I had a feeling this was the night, because he was just so very nervous — plus, it’s not like we frequented that place. He actually got down on one knee in the restaurant and there were people all around us making comments. For once in my life, I think I blushed. The poor guy, he was so nervous. Of course, I said, “yes!”
We went back to my apartment and it was now dark outside, but still really warm. We sat out on my balcony and were serenaded by the Mexicans who had moved in the complex across the street the month before — they were hired to work somewhere in Cranberry. There were four or five men living in a two-bedroom apartment together — they were literally singing in Spanish and strumming their guitars — and were quite toasted and carrying on. It was one of those magic moments I’ll never forget.
Happy engagement anniversary, Tom!