Category Archives: townies

Justin and Torrie’s Love Story

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I could have titled this, “The Good Guy,” a best friend love story. Or I

could have given it a more interesting title, “The Layered Man ‘Wins’ His Girl.”

I have a difficult time deciding how to give a title and this is a very important

skill, I admire those who do such a wonderful time of catching my attention,

leaving some intrigue to help the reader to finish the story, find the meaning

in the title, too.

Since kindergarten, Justin had always liked Torrie. She was his best friend.

They never wanted to ruin their friendship by “taking it to the next level.”

Justin told me, “We never wanted to ‘go there.'” (No romantic moves were

made throughout all their school years.)

When Torrie came home from college, she had gotten married to a classmate

and chosen to have a Justice of the Peace wedding. From the moment that

Justin ran into them at their small town grocery store, he did not like the

guy at all. In Justin’s opinion, the way the guy looked and acted was like

a “bum.” He was concerned about Torrie’s poor choice in a partner and also,

worried about their relationship. When he went home and talked to his

mother, she told him,

“It is out of your hands, now.”

While they had been teens, Torrie and Justin leaned on each other during

heartbreaks. They had built a bond, but while Torrie had been away, Justin

had chosen to start working at the distribution center. I ran into him,

(almost literally!) while I was learning and wearing a neon training vest,

in heavy bulk. I had learned how to drive the pallet rider, load it with

the different heavy products such as struts and pipes, but was rather

challenged in my backing up skills. To get things to shipping, you literally

had to back into a lane, lower the fork lift and ‘drop’ the products. I

cut corners and had close calls, but one day, while Justin was nearby, I

backed up and hit another loaded pallet. My two different contacts, one

near and the other far, (since I could not adapt to bifocal contacts)

were to blame!

A lot of products got knocked off, along with a hamper of car parts fell.

Justin hurried over, he has the clarity and steely eyed look of Paul

Newman’s eyes. Deep and abiding blue. He had a sympathetic look, helping

reload the pallet, saying not to worry and other very kind things. While

he helped me for almost twenty minutes, he for some reason, shared the

above thoughts about Torrie.

He told me, along with the fact he had lost touch with her, except on

occasion to hear she had two children, was struggling to do her nursing,

along with her raising her girls. These snippets of news came from his

mother and friends who would run into Torrie.

Justin told me when he was straight out of high school, he had enjoyed

the elements of riding around on the equipment, moving pallets full of

incoming products, and wrapping the outgoing products using a wrapping

machine. He was adept with the job, gave a lot of time and attention

to his responsibilities and by 2009, risen to be the shipping clerk.

His next step, recently achieved, was being in 2013, the shipping

supervisor. This payscale jump has helped him with the ‘rest of his

story.’

When he told me about finding out about Torrie’s second child’s birth,

his jaw clenched and he said that he had to bite his tongue not to

tell his mother, he didn’t really want to hear anymore about Torrie’s

life.

This was soon changed.

A woman that I work for, may have mentioned somewhere along the way

in my work stories, Debbie, came up to me last week. She works in the

area called, Cycle Count. So, if I am in the pick to light area, and

a product is missing from the bins, I will push a series of buttons

that indicate, “back ordering.” Well, within minutes, this sends what

I call an ‘alarm’ but I am sure it is not accompanied by a sound of

an alarm, but one member who has been there for fifteen years, Debbie

arrives. This is nice, since the next pass down the lane or zone, will

mean I have a filled bin to pick from. This actually helps me with my

‘rate’ or time it takes to go up and down.

Debbie is about five years older than I am, saying that she hopes to

retire in about three more years. I have shown her pictures of my

grandchildren and she has shown me her daughter’s children and

grandchildren. I was particularly glad when she started to tell me

about her granddaughter who is in her late twenties. The daughter

has lovely reddish brown hair, her children all having brown eyes.

Then, her granddaughter has reddish brown hair and bright blue eyes.

Her three great grandchildren all have blue eyes, she showed me

their photos along the way, but had not ever shown the father in

any of her photos. Apparently, in 2011, her granddaughter, Torrie,

got fed up with being a busy nurse, mother and wife with a husband

who was a video game fanatic, rarely keeping a steady job. When he

lost his Pizza Hut delivery job, she decided to make a clean break.

Debbie said that summer, while pushing her daughter of three and

holding her six month old on her hips, she ran into her old and

dear ‘best friend ever,’ Justin. He was being the ‘good guy’ that

he ‘always was’ by taking his niece and nephew to the park. They

were 7 and 9, Debbie told me. They could run and play by themselves

at the park, while he chatted and offered to hold the baby so that

Torrie could put her three year old on her lap to swing together.

I perked up right away, I mean I had only known of two other Torrie’s

in my life!

One had been a sweet actress in my senior high play I directed, “Take

Her, She’s Mine.” The other one, had been a character in a love story

told to me in the summer of 2009, by Justin.

I asked her, “Was this man’s name Justin?”

She said, “Oh, you might know him on the shipping floor since he is

the supervisor. I didn’t realize you may know my granddaughter’s

husband.”

I asked, “How did it come about, since I thought she was single?”

And that is how she told me about running into each other, at the

Mt. Gilead State Park. How their ‘destinies’ were to become joined

by being each other’s best friends in the beginning and now, were

married. Debbie told me a few more details about her granddaughter

as I tried to continue to fill my orders, she followed me down

my zone. She told me that she had insisted on paying for a ‘big

wedding’ like she had always wanted. That the six month old was

about nine months, held in someone’s arms but the three year old

great granddaughter had been the flower girl and a cousin had

been the ring bearer. They had married in the Spring of 2012 and

have the littlest girl, in 2013. I admired the photograph, now

feeling very connected to their love story.

I could not have imagined when I heard the beginning of their love

story, told me by the considerate, sincere and quiet Justin in 2009,

that I would be hearing a happy ending.

This ‘happily ever after’ shone strongly in the faces of each member

of this family, like a shining beacon.

Debbie’s family portrait held the strongly bound lives of three

sisters, a loving mother, Torrie and father (stepfather), Justin.

Bonny and Ralph

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While sitting at a table with my Mom at dinner, I like to observe a

very affectionate and laughing couple at the next table. Their names

are Bonny and Ralph. (It would have been cool if he changed his

name to Clyde, just for this retelling of their love story! Just kidding!)

This supportive couple of my mother’s friends live around the corner

on the second floor and we pass their door at least 4-6 times a day.

Mom considers them some of her best friends she has made since she

moved in last Spring, 2012. The husband, Ralph, we already have

named an “honorary member” of our family of R’s.

My Mom named (us) three kids, my brothers and I, the 3 R’s since

she was a teacher. Corny, but true, because of ‘reading, (w)riting and

(a)rithmetic.’ My Mom’s name is Rosalie and my Dad’s name was

Robert. Thus, Ralph fits right in with us!

I was able to extract from Ralph’s wife, Bonny, their love story of over

50 years this past week finally by joining them for breakfast today. I

cannot remember jokes or I would regale you with the ones Ralph

was telling to my mother while I listened to Bonny.

Bonny was a student at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio

in the fifties. It was a ‘tough school with challenging subjects,’ Bonny

began. Although she was from a suburb of Cleveland, she was not sure

she would be able to be “up for the task” of her reaching her dreams.

She wanted to pursue pre-medicine at OWU and then, follow with her

medical career by studying at Ohio State University.

When she met her first husband to be, he was a local firefighter. He

was a “townie,” as the students called people who lived in Delaware.

They, of course, were equally disdained by the so-called “townies”

who thought the college kids were “spoiled” and contributed to the

long list of  youth with charges of “disorderly conduct” in the local

Delaware Gazette.

Bonny was out with a group of her girlfriends and enjoying a beer

while talking to some peers at Kintz’s (present name) bar. She is

not sure what it was called then. She went out on the dance floor

and got asked to dance with a man, separating her from her friend

who was also out on the floor. This man was the “wrong” man for

Bonny. She says in an exasperated voice,

“Long story short, Tom married me and persuaded me to work in the

local drug store and I gave up my dream of becoming a doctor.”

Then, one year later, while feeling down and very “backwards” due

to the mismatched marriage, she met the “right” man: “The One!”

She was taking a prescription of a man who seemed familiar, at the

counter of the local pharmacy. She glanced down, read the name,

and then looked up “into the bluest eyes I had ever seen,” Bonny

recounted. They seemed vaguely familiar to her but until she looked

at the prescription a second time, she was not sure of who he was.

Bonny said, “I recognized his name as a fellow student at OWU.”

Ralph said, “I remembered how clever she was in one of the toughest

science classes I had there.”

She says, “To this day, I cannot believe that just seeing his kind face,

his beautiful eyes and then, hearing him make this corny joke…well,

I asked him what he was doing?”

He says, “I was so glad she asked because I told her I had switched

majors and graduated with a bachelor’s in business administration.”

She goes on, “Right up his alley! He could talk you into trying anything!”

They both chuckled at the memory of the awkward but poignant moment.

After Ralph made several trips back to the pharmacy for different items,

they went on a few walks and held long, heartfelt talks around the local

Blue Limestone Park. After time passed quickly by, they met for several

cups of coffee at the local diner. The last time, as they parted, they

exchanged one quick, chaste kiss.

This made them both realize that they needed to get Bonny’s situation

changed as soon as possible. Ralph said,

“Sparks flew between us in that moment!’

Bonny says, “I just could not believe he would want me as a divorced

woman!”

That is exactly the conclusion that they both had come to!

Bonny found both her parents agreeable to her getting a divorce from

what they had considered a ‘controlling man.’ They put the money out

for the dissolution. They also proceeded to provide money for a smaller

second marriage and reception for Bonny and Ralph.

Bonnie was encouraged by Ralph to pursue her dreams of being a medical

professional. She became a licensed physician assistant. They are both

retired and the abundance of joy spreads to their neighbors and family.

Bonny and Ralph have two children who fill their life together to the brim

with happiness, which includes four grandchildren now.

Ralph likes to joke with my Mom by telling her he still hasn’t seen all

of her hats yet after a whole year of living at the senior apartments. He

came up behind her while my brother, Mom and I were eating last night

with his menu in hand and swatted my hatless mother. She just said,

without turning,

“Now, Ralph, quit that!”

If you knew my serious mother and saw her big grin, you would know this

man has an amazing personality and sense of humor. Just the right “dose” to

keep Bonny happy for the rest of their lives.