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Why would he tell you that? Why would he still be wearing that?
He was very honest! He never lied about himself in any way — he used to tell me that he couldn't lie to me. That night we danced again, and while I was dancing, I lost my balance. I tried to grab onto his shoulder to keep from falling but I missed and got hold of the necklace and I broke it. Your dad always thought that I did that on purpose because it was from his ex-fiance. He was laughing and kept asking me if I was jealous, but I really did break it by accident! I tried to pick up the little seashells from the ground and he thought it was hilarious.
He said that you breaking the necklace was a way to get you to agree to another date.
We ate and danced all night and then I had to go home. It must've been about one or two in the morning. He took me to the train station and again he decided I couldn't go home by myself. I said, "You're not going to come with me!" and he said he was. He went all the way to the Jamaica train station with me and then got me a cab, which he paid for. That was the first time he kissed me. He gave me a long kiss and told me he would call me again soon. A few days later, when we met again, he told me that he was stuck at the station until 4:30 in the morning or so, waiting for a connection back to Long Island. That's how I knew he was special.
I would say so! How did the relationship move forward?
He courted me for nine months by sending me a card every day. On the cards he would write about his feelings, his life, how happy he was to have met me, and that he wished to see me as soon as possible. Usually the earliest we could get together was on Thursday — my day off. We would go out together and then separate at the train station.
You didn't always separate! Come on now!
No, we always separated. I'm telling you, we always separated. He was a gentleman — I know it's amazing to think about it, but yes.
Maybe he was a gentleman or maybe you just weren't giving up the goods…
No! That was his way! He didn't want physical relations with me until he knew that I knew that he loved me. Then, after nine months, he basically asked me to marry him — it was that fast. He had moved into his own place on Long Island — a tiny little dive of a studio. He brought me to see it and he said, "Okay. This is where I live. Would you like to stay here with me?" And I thought, "Okay." But, before I said anything, he said, "Before you say you do, I want you to know that I'm going to marry you." I thought it was sudden, but I was getting old. I wasn’t really going anywhere on Broadway and I had been dancing since I was three years old. I was tired — I wanted to have a family. I never thought of it before but I realized it was a great idea.
So, he didn't really propose. He just said he was going to marry you and you said "Okay."
Yup. He told me that he didn't see his life without me and he knew, somehow, that I felt the same way.
He didn't even give you a ring?
No. It was quick, but love is an adventure, so I accepted his proposal and moved in with him. I quit my nannying job and left Cats, which was the show I was dancing in at the time. I called my mother and she was very excited. She said it was a miracle because she never thought I would get married — she was very happy for me.
Were you afraid it wouldn't work out?
No, because after two weeks, I realized I was very happy. Christmas came around and he got a little tree for the kitchen table — I told you, our place was tiny. He had put my shoes on the table, which I thought was strange. Inside one of my shoes was a little box. Inside of that box was my engagement ring. It was a claddagh ring. We met in '86 and got married in '87 in front of a judge. A few months later, I found out I was pregnant with your brother and sister.
And then two years later, you had me, the best child ever!
The biggest surprise child ever.
Was Dad your soulmate?
Absolutely. I never felt anything like that for anybody ever. When I met your dad I thought, "Thank God I didn't get married before!" I know that I will never get married again. I will never meet another person who can make me as contented or as happy as your father did. I miss him every day.