I'm taking part in the Lost & Found Love blog hop today, because you know, any excuse to tell our love story!
My husband and I met in high school, although we weren't a couple in those days. He sat behind me in study hall one year when I was in 9th grade and he in 11th grade (1978-79). I was always a 'chatty cathy' in school so of course I would turn around in my seat and try to talk to and joke with the boy behind me. Russell, however, was generally very gruff and kind of scared me. He was always telling me to turn around, quit looking at him and mind my own business. I did my best to honour his wishes but eventually he became friendlier, calling me 'Blondie' and 'Shorty'. I didn't see him much after that year, and he graduated in 1980.
Flash forward to January 7, 2011. I came home from work that day to a friend request on Facebook from him. I was stunned....I couldn't believe that he remembered me, much less reached out to be my FB friend. He also sent a message that said that I probably didn't remember him, but we'd gone to high school together. I took a screen grab of that moment.
I admit, I was all aflutter when I got his request although I didn't know why. Other male high school friends had sent friend requests too and it was more like, 'hey how's it going'. This time, I was like, 'OMG OMG he remembers me! Maybe he didn't hate me after all!' That grin face at the end of my sentence there was not something I usually did.
We spent a week catching up by private message. I would come home each day from work to up to 99 notifications....all from him liking or commenting on my pictures. Not just pictures of high school and our hometown, but ALL my pictures. My life. I was a little scared at first. Did he like me? He knew I was married. We were being flirty in our messages.
On January 14, I came home to find a notification of a comment on this picture of the soccer team, where in 2009, I'd been discussing with other friends that I'd had a crush on the team. You could have knocked me over with a feather to see, 'joanne u had a crush on them and I had one on u lol I couldn't even talk 2 u.' Holy crap. He was mean to me because he liked me!
I was floored. I didn't think I was on anyone's radar back in school. I sent him a private message telling him that I would have dated him then....and if I was single I'd date him now. I knew I was taking a huge chance saying that, but I was having feelings for him already. We talked. And talked and talked via message. I took the dangerous next step of starting to call him. What was I doing? I was married for nearly 22 years at that point, though not happily. I started to call him on my way to and from work.
He told me that he'd fallen in love with me in school and reconnecting on FB brought all the feelings back. That he'd always hoped he'd run into me in town but it was like I'd disappeared off the face of the planet.....he never thought to look on the west coast. He couldn't believe that the Joanne Mendonza that popped up in Washington State could possibly be me, till he saw that person was a fellow Sandwich High alum. He told me that he'd told his best friend Robin that all the feelings were back but I was married and he didn't know what to do. Robin encouraged him to tell me about his crush, just to see what would happen.
By January 21st I was head over heels. I couldn't stop thinking about him. But what was I going to do? I was married and 3,200 miles away, living in a place I really loved. He told me if I came back, he'd spend the rest of his life making me happy. I wouldn't have to work. I should mention that he'd also sworn off marriage. I told him that if I was going to come back here, there was absolutely no way I was going to be a terminal girlfriend. I would insist on eventual marriage and he told me that I was the only woman he would even consider marrying.
Told my husband it was over in February, filed for divorce in March, and flew back east to see Russell in person for his birthday. He was waiting for me at the airport in baggage claim. I remember coming down the escalator and seeing him, we both grinned, I literally ran to his arms for the longest hug and kisses. It was absolutely 100% right. We spent those precious days together and then I flew back to the west coast to wrap up my life. House went on the market, started packing and setting up a rental house back here.
It was the longest 3 months - April, May and June - till my divorce was finalized, PODS came and picked up the shipping container full of my stuff, and Pepper & I moved into a hotel near SeaTac Airport. Russell flew in from Boston on June 24th and drove us across the country back to Massachusetts. (I flew Sagan east 7 months later when my now ex-husband became terminally ill and couldn't care for him anymore).
We got engaged August 2, 2012.
And married on August 17, 2014.
I love this man more than anything....more than I've ever loved anyone. I am so grateful, every day, that he found me.