2010.02.10 The story was never written

Written by David Green.

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.

 

  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.

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