Years ago, which sometimes feels like a lifetime ago, I started my very first blog at the prompting of my editor and my colleagues. Blogging was just taking off back then, as was social media. I had no more idea what to “blog” about that the man in the moon. So, I turned to my own life and shared a lot of stories about what was going on in my neck of the woods with relative frequency. Back then we were at the height of the desert campaigns and a steady topic of discussion was my life as a Marine Corps wife and the real-life fairy tale romance that was and is my relationship with my Marine in dusty cammies, MarshFox. Yes, I can attest that HEAs really do exist in today’s world and I’m living mine every day.
Although we’re going on over twenty years together, we just celebrated the 20th anniversary of renewing our marriage vows after having gone the way of the quickie wedding the first go around. In recognition, I thought today would be a good day to share a bit about our love story with y’all. He’s a Marine, if that wasn’t already obvious. I was a local girl in the town outside the base where he was stationed, and surprise, surprise we met in a in a country western bar on a Thursday night as I was out with a group celebrating my BILs birthday. MarshFox swears it was a Wednesday, but all good things happen on Thursday, so I’m sticking to my story on this one. (Yes, there was alcohol involved.) While he escorted me home that evening and dropped me at my door with only a kiss (it was a hot kiss by the by), we didn’t really have a first official “date-date” until several days later. I mean, he came around—a lot!—but the first “date-date” didn’t happen for a bit. You see, it’s hard to have a date when you’re a single mom. Your child comes first and you basically don’t have much of a social life.
MarshFox had no problem with the fact that I had a kid at all, unlike some of the other suitors who’d come to call since the birth of my son up until I married the first time and then again after my divorce. One guy my sister set me up with once took one look at my situation upon entering the door, made up an excuse he’d forgotten some big dinner at a sister’s house or something or other, turned on his heel and left. I found out later that yes, she had in fact informed the man of my baggage, but he’d mistakenly thought my BIL was my son’s daddy when he entered the room and said, “How’s my boy today?” How he missed the fact that my BIL was not only NOT the daddy of my baby but was engaged to my sister is beyond me. I’m leaning more toward the theory once he saw for himself a baby was in the mix it became far too real for him and he flew off like a frightened crow. And I had no problem with that. Better to know up front than get your heart broken later.
But MarshFox was on board with the “we’re a package deal” from the beginning. He was also divorced and had a daughter and while I’m certain that created a degree of empathy, I know in my heart had his situation been any different, his attitude would not have been. He’s a good man. He’d still have taken me with or without my little spare suitcase because that’s just the type of guy he is.
From the onset he respected me and treated my little boy like a part of our relationship rather than a nuisance. (Seems one of those boys from The Delaneys of Delaware may have done something similar when he found the love of his life.) And so it was with his understanding of how things were, our first date wasn’t a date in the traditional sense, but rather a “family” event.
Now, I know marines are renowned for their abilities in the field, to include pinpointing the location of the opposition. It came to my attention but a few days into knowing mine, that ability also included pinpointing the location of potential life mates. Not only did the man track down where I worked, he somehow managed to sweet talk the lady in the office to call me to the phone. This was something that was unheard of in the dank factory I toiled away in.
“How did you find me?”
“I’m smart that way. I’m bringing dinner by tonight.”
Marines also get to the point posthaste.
So it was, our first “date-date” was watching The Goonies with my small son over a Domino’s pizza (which MarshFox had somehow figured out how to have dressed to suit my and my son’s tastes).
It was seventeen years later, and after we’d watched The Goonies on countless occasions and date nights, I had one of those thrills of a lifetime moments. You see, when we moved on orders from North Carolina back in 2013 clear to the Pacific Northwest, I had no idea we’d be living within less than a hundred miles of where The Goonies was filmed in Astoria, Oregon. When we figured this out, MarshFox said it was not only on our list of to-dos while living there, it was nearly at the top of the list.
To get to the sleepy, seaside, fishing village that is Astoria, one must drive first through what I’ve dubbed Sasquatch country down a two lane, winding highway through some of the most beautiful scenery God has graced the planet with. Then, over a rise and poof! Astoria city limits appears. We started our star struck movie tour with a visit to the local Chamber of Commerce where we attained a map and directions from a very lovely woman who loved our story of why we were visiting.
From there we traveled Highway 30 to 8th Street which takes you by the jail from the movie and Flavel House Museum which was the library. In front of the jail is the Fratelli’s Jeep complete with bullet holes in the back. Directly across the street is the Flavel House. Both buildings are full of museum goodness. From the jail we moved on up 8th to Franklin, which is the oldest street in Astoria and we quickly found that out for ourselves as the street is still partially paved in cobblestone. I absolutely love to see cobblestone streets which are still persevering alongside modern tar concoctions. At 16th we hung a left, got back on the 30, went right and located 37th which turns into Duane Street. At the end of Duane is a private graveled drive with a sign which reads, Private Drive…Goonies on Foot Welcome. So cool! We found it!
There are five houses on top of a ridge overlooking the end of the Columbia River where it will meet the Pacific not much farther past Astoria. The Goonies house is the one in the middle. The owners at the time were very gracious about “goonie company” only asking you didn’t get on their porch. I was a bit disappointed when there were no other goonies about I could ask to take my and MarshFox’s picture, but then the extremely nice lady who lived there then came venturing out and I politely asked…
And I now have a picture of us in front of the house which represents our first “date-date”!! I’m not usually one of those crazy “fan-types” who goes in search of things like this, but I have to tell you, there was a certain thrill for me in this little adventure I cannot deny.
Unfortunately, as we understand, the house has since been sold. So glad we made this memory before it was too late.
Friends, HEAs do exist, and not just in the romances I and countless others write. If you haven’t found yours yet, fret not. It’ll sneak up on you one of these days and before you know it, twenty-some years will have flown by.