It was a dark and stormy night. All right, not stormy, but certainly dark.
Nothing too dramatic this term. Marge and I had become quite attached to each other and we often went for little drives just to be together. We just liked to be together. One drive was to a suburb of Syracuse, Dewitt, about 15 miles west of Syracuse. There there was a drive in restaurant (remember them) called the Pig Stand. They featured a pig barbeque sandwich for 35 cents. Marge always ordered a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato slices. I think I ordered the barbeque, not exactly sure of this. If fact, when at home that is what a Marge grilled cheese sandwich consisted of, cheese with tomato slices, and I made them for her as long as she could eat them.
Another place she liked to visited was about 15 miles to the east. It’s name was Jack’s Reef and she just liked the name. Originally it was a bar, I believe on an ox bow on the Seneca River. When the Erie canal came through it bypassed Jack’s Reef, though I believe the area still exists with that name as a suburb.
She did not like Weedsport, just because of the sound of it and Port Byron, roommate Roy’s home town was no more glamourous despite its name. They were both originally canal towns as I recall. Still there in faded glory.
Since I was graduating in the Spring, job interviewing had now begun. We were now on our own. No coaching about how to present oneself or anything like that, just sign up for a slot in a company we wanted to talk to and show up. So, IBM was one I chose. One, because it was a prestigious company and two because Marge had family in the Endicott, NY area.
So, down we went, Margery to stay with her aunt who was OK at the time but later came down with cancer. I stayed at whatever place the IBM had arranged for me. The next day, it was interview time. I am fuzzy at the details, but it seems I interviewed several people in the morning. Then in the afternoon, a carload of fellow would-be graduates were taken to a luncheon at a club that I believe was part of IBM. I suppose that they were sizing us up as to how well we socialized, dined politely, etc. and it was very unnerving for me, especially as this was my first interview experience.
We got out from IBM in late afternoon and Marge and I took off. It is still a 4.5 hour drive with Interstates, and considerably longer in 1958 from Binghamton to Dannemora. this was in November and it got dark early. After a few hours drive, it was obvious that we had to stop for the night. We found a motel somewhere in the middle of nowhere and signed ourselves in as Mr. & Mrs. I don’t think we fooled anybody, I did pay cash in advance.
I was very exhausted from the interview, and I suppose we were pretty naive and neither one of us wanted to disappoint the other. So, our first night of sleeping together in a strange motel was just that. SLEEPING. The locale certainly was not romantic either, just a mom and pop motel somewhere, we were both tired and still had a long drive ahead of us in the morning. So, when morning came, we got up, cleaned and packed and left. All in all, probably best considering the circumstances, since the whole night could have been a disaster. Possibly not, but without really leading up to this, I think we both did the right thing at that time for our relationship.
Our destination was to go to my home in Dannemora, NY for Thanksgiving. I had been to Marge’s home for 2 times, so now to see my parents. My parent’s next door neighbor was an enthusiastic hunter and had recently shot a moose and gave us some moose meat, so that was the plan for Thanksgiving dinner, moose not turkey. Marge asked about the meal and we told her we were having steak for a change. True enough. However, moose steak does not look like beef steak. It is leaner, has a dark red, not dark brown color, and a more “gamey” taste. No wonder. Marge did take a few bites and asked “What kind of steak is this?” and so we answered “it’s something special, moose”. That was it, no more meat for her that dinner.
We left early enough on Sunday to make the drive back to Syracuse in plenty of time. The weather did not look good and when we got back to Syracuse, the temperature was about 32 F and very sleety. We went up to Mt. Olympus when we got to S.U. and took time to unwind. The weather had become a few degrees colder, and the sleet froze the doors shut. I still remember driving Marge to her dorm, then she held her door handle down, I managed to turn around inside, put my feet on her door and give it a great shove. The ice broke and she was able to get out and safely into her dorm. A dark and stormy night indeed.
To me, it is amazing how the time telescope makes it possible to zoom in, recall, and visualize all these events of over a half century ago. I treasure these memories greatly.