How Did I Feel When I Met the Love of My Life

After finishing my Navy obligation I decided to take some courses at Cal State Long Beach in Literature, history, film, and poetry to round off Naval Academy engineering degree while searching for my life's path. On the day before I was heading for law school in San Francisco a friend from the cafeteria named Hal said, “Dan, I know an attractive student here for the summer I want you to meet.”

“I’ve never had a blind date that was worthwhile. I have always regretted agreeing to one. I’m about to leave for Law School tomorrow to go to Berkeley.”

Hal was undeterred and continued, “But Dan, she’s a dancer.” I knew I would not turn down such an opportunity from what I knew of the dancers. “I know you’ll like her. We can do a double date  this evening around six.” He gave me the address of a dancer named Joan. I went there and Hal was waiting in a second story apartment Joan rented with friends.  I heard her footsteps as she ascended the stairs to her apartment. It was beautiful and vivacious Joan Fowles from Oak Park, Illinois. Immediately I knew this was going to be interesting.

She had dark shimmering hair, a smile that showed an inner glow, and a face and body to die for. I was trembling with excitement for my luck. After introductions I said, “Let’s go to my apartment.” I took her to my Corvette, opened the door, put down the top, and sped off with my dancer!

After showing Hal, Courtney, and Joan my best photographic slides of sunsets, surf, mountains, and nature in all its splendor, while listening to Bach and Beethoven on my stereo and professional tape recorder, we went out for dinner. Afterwards we danced to rock music, and Hal and Courtney eventually left. We continued dancing and I couldn’t resist my attraction to her. “I’m so glad I met you and you came to my apartment. When is your birthday?”

“January 19.”

I was astounded as I blurted out, “My birthday is January 18!” I was fastened on her eyes, “Where were you born?”

“Oak Park, Illinois.”

“What a coincidence, I was born in Morgan Park only a few miles away!” I approached her and  looked deep and long into her eyes as we hugged and kissed. Was this the woman I had been searching for all my life?  I knew from my heart we communicated in a way that time stood still while we experienced a communion of two souls colliding together by mysterious forces. We spoke the universal language of love, yet we had only just met. I have heard that there are no coincidences and that such encounters were meant to occur if you are wise enough to listen to your heart and that voice deep inside you that knows truth, beauty, and love when it appears. It was the most exciting experience to ever happen to me as I realized there was no past or future to worry about, just the present.

In the short time I had encountered her I trusted her completely. Like the flow of a river I was riding on that was pushing us together, I asked her, “How would you like to see the Golden Gate Bridge tomorrow with me?

She looked into my eyes with that smile, “Yes! I would love to see the Golden Gate Bridge with you.” We had touched our hearts in a way that was permanent. All the wasted time I had spent chasing for an elusive relationship with women who were attractive and intelligent, never had the electricity and magnetism I experienced with Joan. I was riding on a much needed wave of excitement. Wanting to spend the rest of my life with her, I could see my search for happiness had found a person who would be a magnificent wife and a caring mother of any children we might have.

I knew “This is the woman I want to share my dreams with and love.” I had tapped into some reservoir deep within me that awakened me to the possibilities of our future. I returned to the moment and spent hours getting to know her and shared some of my past experiences and dreams for the future. We drove to San Francisco, entered my apartment in Berkeley, and never turned back. We are now the proud parents of three adult children who have found their paths in medicine, producing green products, and music.


You Got Lucky When You Met Joan

A romantic encounter so intense

When I saw her I almost lost my sense

Up the stairs to meet me for a blind date

Was our collision meant to be by fate?

The stars and planets were aligned just right

When we were brought within each other’s sight

Graceful lovely dancer I chanced to meet

Hal gave me an invitation so sweet

Thought it a waste of time looking forlorn

I was leaving for law school the next morn

This was my last night at Cal State Long Beach

A fine woman was surely out of reach

All past blind dates from many a good friend

Apologized when it was a dead end

Now was different and to my surprise

When strange forces were summoned to arise

Placed this ravishing damsel before me

Annapolis man who returned from sea

After eight years with resigned commission

Had a fateful and joyful collision

Shimmering hair, sense of humor, smart too

Love of reading, children, and heart so true

Made me feel good, liked my photos and slides

She had the best qualities life provides

Lucky she finished a session of dance

Tomorrow I‘d leave it was my last chance

To learn if this could possibly be

The person who would share her life with me

Talk seemed natural she set me at ease

Somehow confident and knew how to please

Not so awkward when time was so fleeting

All went so smoothly from the first greeting

Just twenty one from Oak Park Illinois

Me from Morgan Park nine pound baby boy

But our birthdays were just a day a part

Our meeting built momentum from the start

We loved music, nature, and having fun

Both left Midwest for California sun

Her very warm smile grabbed me right away

When I hugged and kissed her that fateful day

Could angels have planned our love all along?

Thinking of it makes my heart sing a song

“You got lucky” when you met lovely Joan

She joined your life when you were all alone

“How would you like to see the Golden Gate?

And live with me before it is too late.”

She smiled at me to my impulsive plan

My heart skipped a beat when she said “Yes, Dan”

Off to Frisco we sped in my Stingray

I am grateful for that glorious day

At seventy two and she sixty-four

Parents of three miracles and what’s more

Three grandchildren and one more on the way

Thankful for the blessings of every day

We’re in love no matter what the day brings

When I think of her that day my soul sings


Daniel C. Lavery

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About Daniel C. Lavery

Dan’s writing shows his transformation from a child to an athlete and a Duke pre-ministerial student where he began to question ancient and arbitrary dogma. He graduated from Annapolis, navigated a Navy jet, and a ship to Vietnam, fell in love, turned peace activist and a civil rights lawyer for Cesar Chavez's UFW. His memoir, "All the Difference," describes the experiences, some humorous and others deadly, that changed his consciousness from a pawn to an advocate crusading for justice against some of the most powerful forces in America.

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