Thinkin', Smilin', Lovin', Bloggin'


Seattle, Washington,
July 28
I'm a nurse, living near Seattle, WA.


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SEPTEMBER 4, 2009 10:12PM

Dear Rick – I Married Your Daughter!

Rate: 22 Flag

 Have you ever almost married someone for the wrong reasons?  Mmm hmm.  Me too.

In the seventies I dated this guy I really liked.  And though I loved who he was, our connection wasn’t the “in love” sort of thing that I had in mind at the time.  Rick was great.  Tall, handsome, bright, funny.  And he had a couple of other things that really impressed me:  Shelly and Joelle.  His daughters. 

I adored his kids.  Shelly, the older, was a “spirited” child.  One of those old-soul kids who confound and vex anyone who thinks having your own thoughts is just too danged uppity for an eight-year-old.  Joelle was quieter.  She was more likely to take off on her bike than stand there and argue.  They were darling.  They were challenging.  They were themselves, and he let them be exactly that.  I watched the way he fathered them.  I watched the way they adored him. 

Shelly and Joelle

Joelle and Shelly, circa 1978

When he asked me to marry him, I thought about it.  Seriously.  I liked him well enough, and life with him would not be boring.  I was crazy about his girls, and, with their mom in California and him with custody, I’d see a lot of the little ones.  I pondered life with their family.  I pondered the value of being “in love.” 

In the end I said, “no.”  It seemed like the only fair thing to do.  I didn’t get that pitty-pat vibe with him.  And there were all those empty Genesee beer bottles in his trash. No, best let this one go.  So I did. We stayed friends.

About four years later, he died.

Now, in the way that life takes you on little spins and drops you where you didn’t expect, I landed on the West Coast – in Seattle.  Having lost touch with Rick’s girls over the years, one day I got curious and googled them.  Hmm.  Shelly was a therapist.  Still in California, where she had gone to live with her mom after Rick died.  I couldn’t find Joelle.  I clicked on Shelly’s website.  Oh my.  There she was.  A lovely grown-up version of her little self.   And she looked exactly like her dad. Exactly.  Same lanky build, same hair, same face, same smile.  Oy.

Next stop, Facebook.  Yes, there she was. 

A quick email through Facebook:  Hi Shelly, you may not remember me but I dated your dad a long time ago…

A quick response:  Yes! I do remember you, and in such a positive way.

What followed was a series of emails, then online chats, then phone calls.  She was thriving; she was in love; she was starving for stories about her dad.  We talked about all of it.  Who she used to be; who she was now; who he used to be; what I remembered; what she remembered.  I felt like a biological mom catching up with a child she hasn’t seen – we compared notes, cried, laughed, remembered the bright, goofy guy her father had been. Celebrated the intense, playful woman she had become.   We filled in the blanks for each other: The last date I had with her dad (Going to Grease at the drive-in, Shelly and Joelle in tow). The last time she saw Rick alive (Mouthing “I love you” from inside an oxygen tent in the hospital. Shelly was twelve).

Then a surprising email to me.  “Kate, will you marry me?  Um. Wait. That doesn’t sound right…  Kate, would you perform the wedding ceremony for Jed and me?”

Yes.  This was a right thing.  This was exactly what Rick would want.  “Oh. Of course. I’d be honored!”


Ordination in the Universal Life Church.  (Online – no muss, no fuss, no cumbersome classes to take.) And then a wedding.  A small ceremony in a warm vineyard near Paso Robles, California.

The bride was glowing. The groom was handsome.  (And earnest.  And real.)

Joelle’s daughters were the princess bridesmaids – little reprises of Shelly and Joelle when I first knew them. 

Joelle read about love from The Prophet, one of Rick’s favorite books.


  Wedding Service

Do you, Shelly…

 I pronounced them man and wife.  He kissed the bride.  Everyone cried, and everyone smiled. 

The little bridesmaids ran like the wind – two fairies bursting with joy.


Leila and Naima

Leila and Naima, fairy princesses


Rick, I love your daughters.  You’d be awfully proud of who they are, of who they married, and of those fairy granddaughters running like the wind. 


We missed you.



Shelly and Joelle Today

Shelly and Joelle, circa 2009


Bridal couple

Shelly and Jed   (Photo by ByCherry Photography )

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Oh I loved this! Thank you!
I´m just happy to read you again; and what a lovely story, Kate, it´s so good you googled for those girls and got back in contact with them. These are the great things of the net.
Rated! Kisses,
Great story and beautiful photos! It brought a tear to my eye.
What a wonderful story. I really believe that Facebook (i.e. the Internet) has changed the balance of nature as we had known it.

Now, in the way that life takes you on little spins and drops you where you didn’t expect" great line. rated
what an incredible story, amazing!
Great story. I loved it. Nice to be able to connect with her after all those years.
Serendipity happened there for sure.. Lovely story and I am so happy to hear that you met back up with the two girls and had the opportunity to marry on of them to her husband.
This is an extremely cool story - on any number of levels. Just . . . wonderful. If I went on with this comment, it would probably last for pages . . .
Excellent! Thank you.
And this, I think, is the real reason Google was invented. What a wonderful next chapter in this story, Kate. Loved reading this, and seeing those pictures again! ::sniffle::
Yah! A happy story! Very well-told too. Thanks for sharing.
Oh, this is so moving & so lovely & made me tear-up! What beautiful photos! The fairies running! The sisters grown-up. There is so much joy in this post! I love it! & love the reunion aspect & Rick the Great Dad & him mouthing "I love you" to his daughter from the oxygen tent. So glad you "found" them again.
Wonderful story! Thanks for sharing(yes, have to love the ULC!! Ordained myself from there!! :) )
What a beautiful story! A "fairy" tale! Isn't it just awesome sometimes watching feminine beauty develop - and I mean internal beauty. I never had boys, but that must be just as amazing!
I always say strange how we rearange, life is really odd as you pointed out. I also admire your sense of purpose and the staging of events that led you to look before you leap. Sometimes when life is serving up suds, it's easy to get lost in the wash.
Now that's what I call a perfect narrative arc! ;-)

Makes me wonder just how many other great Facebook reunion stories there are out there...
Beautiful story! Wonderful connection through the internet.
Another amazing story from an amazing woman. Thanks for sharing.
Great stuff glad you all found each other again, and so glad I found your post!
I'm a sucker for a good wedding and this one was a most beautiful and extraordinary wedding story. The photos capture the joy that every felt. I'm glad you found the girls. I'm sure that Rick is smiling.
This was like an O Henry short story. Beautiful and kind of mythical. The "circle of life."
I adored this; yes, serendipity, serendipity it is.