2010.02.10 The story was never written

Written by David Green.


There’s a feature story missing from this week’s Observer. It just never got written. It was my wife’s idea. I think she saw a story in a magazine where people told how they met their spouse and she knew it would be good for the paper on the week of Valentine’s Day.

Good in theory, at least, but would it really work?

First of all, in small towns like Morenci and Fayette, about 95 percent of the people met their mate in elementary school. We all went to school together. Everybody knows everybody.

I would think about asking someone and then I would remember that they dated in high school. There’s no interesting story there.

I thought in that case maybe it could be altered to ask: When did you first become aware of your mate as a future mate? That didn’t seem so great and it was never asked.

At the office Kim and I repeatedly forgot to ask people. Once they concluded their business and were walking away, I would remember what we forgot.

Someone came in the office Friday to renew his subscription and I asked the question. I was very pleased with myself. Finally, this story was going somewhere

So I explained what were doing—stories about how people met their mate—and his response was: “I can tell you how I got rid of my mate.”

That soured things a little, but I didn’t give up. I tried again with another visitor.

Q: “How did you meet your mate?”

A: “We grew up together.”

That wasn’t much of a story, and besides, I kept wondering if that meant he married his sister.

So there’s the small town thing where most everyone married someone they went to school with, but that was only part of the problem.

I stood in the gymnasium last week across from the Morenci fans looking around the crowd at the basketball game. I actually had a pencil and a pad of paper in my hand, ready to go to work. Maybe “ready” isn’t quite the right word. I was willing to go to work.

I don’t really like to go around asking questions like this. We’ve had a lot of this sort of story in the Observer over the years—good ones that people have enjoyed reading—but often it wasn’t me doing the asking. Someone else collected the information and I did the assembling.

But I was there with writing gear looking through the crowd. I spotted a couple and knew they went to school together here. And another and another. They probably knew each other since kindergarten.

And then came the changes in marital status. A remarriage here, another over there. There were situations in which I didn’t dare ask. I didn’t want to know the details of how they got together and I wasn’t about to inquire.

I was with a group of friends Saturday night and sized up the crowd with regard to the Big Question. There was only one couple among the six that grew up in the same town. One couple probably wouldn’t want their how-we-met story as part of a newspaper story.

I couldn’t remember the origins of the other three. They possibly had interesting stories, but the details were lost to me.

At that point there were three possible couples for one of those large Observer features, and a long, long way to go. I knew I couldn’t spend Sunday calling around town embarrassing myself by asking the wrong people, so the question wouldn’t be asked. Besides, at that gathering Saturday we were too busy talking about death. That must be what happens when people in their 50s and 60s get together for fun.

I have about 600 characters remaining to tell you the only story I know.

College, Saginaw, Maine and Oregon were over and, strangely, I was back in Morenci living at home. My parents were going to the MSU homecoming football game and I went along for the ride. It would be a good chance to visit with my little brother, Tommy.

Tom and I cut through the library en route to an Ultimate Frisbee game and Tom encountered a young woman he knew from housing co-op where he lived.

Where did I meet my wife? Near the circulation desk of the Michigan State University library. The rest, as they say, is history.


  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016