Saturday, November 8, 2008

Stuff That Won’t Be In The Book – Part 1

I’ve done a lot of writing the last six months and after restructuring and rethinking the angle of my book, there are several stories that will end up on the cutting room floor. Before they do, I thought I’d share some of them here.

The book is largely about how I lived life at all the various weights I’ve weighed in my life. Some of the stories I’ll share here will be condensed or referred to in the book, so this is my chance to expand on the details a little more. I apologize in advance for perhaps boring you with all this, but I promise to only post these stories every other blog, at least for awhile. Thanks for indulging me.

This first story is about how I met my husband, Larry.

I met Larry in 1991 when I weighed 140 pounds. I was our local university’s campus coordinator for Habitat for Humanity. Larry, a biochemistry professor, was one of the group’s faculty advisors. We were friends, nothing more. Both of us were married and he had two young sons. It never crossed our minds that we’d find each other remotely interesting in a romantic way five years later. The only things we had in common were that we attended the same Presbyterian church and liked white wine. Larry was a runner, a scientist and had lived in two foreign countries. I worked out with Cindy Crawford videos once in awhile, had started but not completed a B.A. in English, and lived in three states, including a 3-month stint in South Dakota after I graduated from high school.

I don’t think I even said goodbye to Larry when I left Clarion in 1994 and moved the girls and me back to Minneapolis so I could finish my degree at Augsburg College. I was too busy being divorced, dating a man seven years younger than me, and worrying about weighing 160 pounds. By 1996, the girls missed their stepfather and I was concerned about raising them in an environment in which they had to lock themselves in our apartment from the time they got home from school until I got home from work. Carlene and Cassie had freedom in a small town, where they could ride their bikes and go to the pool and buy candy at the drugstore without being tethered to me like dogs. So we schlepped our stuff back to Clarion and I promised the kids we’d stay this time.

I weighed 180 pounds when I ran into Larry at a downtown coffee shop the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. It was a deadline day at the newspaper. I was the features editor, and I needed a large Mexican Custapec. With cream, of course. The real stuff.

The place was packed. As I stood in line, I saw Larry having coffee with a few colleagues at a table 20 feet away. He had on a Burberry trench coat over a shirt and tie and Lands End dress pants. He still had a runner’s build and most of his hair. I wondered if I should say hello, but before I could decide, Larry looked up and saw me, and the grin on his face said he recognized me, even though I’d gained 20 pounds.

“Lynn!” he exclaimed.

He got up, and in what I thought was a very un-scientist, un-Larry kind of move, he walked into my space and embraced me.

“I saw your byline but thought that couldn’t be the Lynn Haraldson I knew. She moved to Minnesota!”

“Ah, but I moved back,” I said, laughing. His hug felt good. Too good because I recognized that safe and warm, chocolate-pudding feeling you get when you first really like someone, and I was not ready to like someone again.

I’d heard through the grapevine that Larry and his wife were divorced and that she’d returned to her teaching position at a private college in upstate New York. I was sad to hear they’d parted after 15 years. When I told him that, he thanked me but said it was for the best.

“I’m going to Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving,” he said. “Can I call you when I get back?”

“I live on Wood Street,” I replied. “I’m in the book.”

He looked me up and called on Saturday. We made plans for him to come over to my apartment the following Saturday, which he did with two bottles of wine in hand.

He knocked on the door. I cracked it open and asked him if he was allergic to cats.

“No. Why?” he asked. I let him in and our cat ran toward him.

“This is Silas,” I said.

“As in ‘Silas Marner?’” he asked.

What? I thought. This runner scientist guy knows Brit lit?

“Yes, actually. You’ve read the book?” I pressed a little further as I hung up his coat.

“Oh, yeah,” he said. “I’ve read George Eliot, and Jane Austen, too.”

Hmmm. Interesting.

He opened the first bottle of wine and I put on “Tapestry.” He said he liked Carol King, too. This guy was batting a thousand. We sat on the couch and talked about where I’d been and what I’d done, and where he’d been and what he’d done. Before we knew it, it was 3 a.m. and we were both yawning. I walked him to the door and we agreed it was good to get reacquainted. Then, just as he’d done at the coffee shop, he leaned into my space, only this time he kissed me.

21 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your stories Lynn I look forward to reading your book when it is published.

    Mara
    http://24stepstogo.blogspot.com/

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  2. Soooo nice, Lynn. Your writing style flows so "readably" and I, too, look forward to reading your book as well as checking out the stories in your upcoming blogs.

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  3. Hmmm. . . I'll have to backstalk your blog as a new reader to learn about this book. . .

    "that safe and warm, chocolate-pudding feeling" what a great line.

    Thanks for sharing your life.

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  4. What a nice story. Thank you for sharing it.

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  5. Don't worry in the slightest about writing this type of stuff too often - I LOVE IT.

    (I do need a tiny recap of husbands . . .you referred to moving back to the girls' step dad after the divorce?)

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  6. Hi guys. Glad you like the story. This one's probably the most upbeat. I have seven more to post in the upcoming weeks and they get progressively more dark. Maybe dark isn't the right word, but more intense. I'll let you be the judge.

    Vickie...I can see how you'd be confused, hon. I get messed up when I think about my exes!! LOL Here's the run down: Husband #1 is daughter Carlene's father. He died 11 days after she was born. Husband #2 is not daughter Cassie's father, but he adopted her. He was a major mistake. Abusive. A big yuck. Husband #3 was my escape from Minnesota. He is an English prof and lives here in Clarion. When I moved back to Clarion in 1996, it was definitely NOT for me personally but for the girls. They loved him and he was a good guy until he stopped talking to them in 1999. Sad story, but one I won't be telling here. Suffice to say, he was a big mistake, too. I was the queen of bad mistakes, much of which was in reaction to my inability to deal with the grief of the death of my first husband.

    Are you still with me?? LOL

    OK, my husband now, Larry, is my fourth (and hopefully final) one. He and I have been together for 12 years and married for 10. I thihk this one will stick :)

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  7. great story lynn and I don't even usually like romance novels lol. I love the way you write it's like stepping into a warm bath, you just want to stay a long long time.

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  8. Lyn,

    If this ended up on the cutting room floor, then I must read your book! I love your style of writing. It really absorbs you.

    And thanks for the clarification on the exes. ;o)

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  9. I can't wait the book. Thanks for the husband clarification. I feel up to speed now and ready for more. ;)

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  10. Ooh, Lynn, 'bore' us some more! I just love reading about people's life stories. Evidently I am not the only one--have you seen http://thepioneerwoman.com/confessions/--she wrote her 'love story' as a serial blog. Sometimes she has 900 comments. Crazy!

    So, to clarify the husband story: you met Larry, but then married the English prof??? Or is that in the next installment?

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  11. LOL! Debby, I know, my married life is very complicated. I married the English prof in Minnesota, he got a job out here in PA, we got divorced and then I met Larry and married Larry. I'm still married to him :) Next installment will talk about the proposal/marriage.

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  12. I checked out the website "The Pioneer Woman" that Debby recommended and it really is fascinating. It's amazing how many followers she has!

    And Lynn, I can't wait to read about the proposal/marriage! :o)

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  13. I knew about husband #1 and #2 and Larry. I loved this story and can't believe it wouldn't make it into the book, I hope that it's condensed into or referred to as it is a sweet story.

    I'm looking forward to the next installment and I have a question. When your book is published can I have a signed one? And can you bring your book tour to Denver?

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  14. Cheri, I'm still in the book proposal stage. IF it gets bought by a publisher and IF I write something they actually think will sell, I will definitely sign a copy and try to get to Denver :) There are a LOT of hurdles to climb yet. Keep your fingers crossed that I at least get the proposal done sometime this century :)

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  15. Lynn,
    Loved reading this, can't wait for the book!

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  16. Great story! Can you continue is so I can find out what happened?

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  17. Wow, girl....you have quite a story! I'm with the others when I say that I love to read your writing! You are always so interesting! I think the reason I like to read your blog is that you remind me of an old friend....someone I could relate to and laugh with! I can't wait to read your book! Lots of luck with everything! :)

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  18. Great story. Thanks for sharing!

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  19. Please continue to post these stories... this love story is for the movies!

    Can't wait for the book, seriously Lynn - can you imagine if you didn't start blogging? I can't, you need to be heard - your storytelling/writing is beautiful!!

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  20. What part of South Dakota were you in? I grew up in Nebraska.

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  21. I had seen you post these stories but waited to read them when I could give them some real attention (no kid climbing my head) and that was today. I really enjoyed this. I like reading the more personal, real-life stuff about people and this is a great insight into your life.

    Now I am off to read #2 :)

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