It was June 6th, 1976 when you showed up at my door for our first date. Eight years had passed since we sat next to each other in homeroom 11-17 at Miami Beach High. I opened the door and you leaned down and handed my 2 year old son (who was glued to my thigh) a red race car. You had stopped at Woolworth and bought it on the way to my apartment.

Our lives had crossed in some amazing ways during those eight years since high school.  In 1974, your Mother ( a dear family friend) had been invited to my son’s pidyon haben (redemption of the first-born son)You decided to join her. When our family realized we had forgotten the 5 silver dollars to redeem our son from the Rabbi, it was you who walked up and handed them to us. You had brought them…just in case.

My son was born on your Grandmother’s birthday.

Were these coincidences or divine intervention?

Our first date was lunch at my place. A tuna fish salad. We talked for hours catching up on years gone by. Your beloved older brother had been killed by a drunk driver. (I was married and living in Atlanta at the time.) I remember my Mother calling me, barely able to share the tragic news. Thousands showed up to pay their respects. You were now the oldest brother. You did whatever was needed over the next few years…the glue that held the grief stricken family together.

As you shared the story, I saw the sadness in your eyes but I felt your strength. I knew that family was everything to you.

I shared with you about being married and having my heart broken. I told you how blessed I was to have such a beautiful little boy. I had no regrets and wanted to just move on…
My heart overflowed with joy on that first date. I’ve never forgotten a detail of it in 38 years.

Every year I celebrate my good fortune that my older brother (who lived in your apt complex) thought to casually mention to you during a group dinner one night that I was divorced and back in town.

Again…A little divine intervention, perhaps?

Before you left that afternoon, you asked me on a second date…  A dinner date at a nice restaurant. I asked if my young son could join us. You smiled at me and said, “Absolutely. I wouldn’t have it any other way!”

I fell in love with you that very day…

Happy 38th “First Date” Anniversary Richard.

I love you forever and always! Richard and Debi May 2014

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