Sunday, August 13, 2023

How Did You and Gmom Meet? How Did That Develop Into a Relationship?

 I thought it might be a good idea to take our minds off the dementia journey for a few minutes, and focus on something more emotionally enjoyable.  So I wrote about how Pam (aka Gmom) and I met.  Enjoy.

Once upon a time, in a location far, far away, I graduated from college.  It was April 1971.  I was single, without a job, and homeless.  Despite the fact that I was engaged when I first started college, I had no girlfriend.  I had several while in college, but none developed into a long-term relationship.  So with few connections and even less money, I headed to Hudson, New Hampshire where my parents lived.

I had grown up in Milford, Connecticut and went away to Daytona Beach for college when I was eighteen.  While I was away, my parents moved to Hudson because my father’s job had been transferred to Massachusetts.  How embarrassing, at twenty-three years of age I had to move back in with my parents.  I had two younger brothers that were still at home while they finished high school.  I set up in a spare room built into the basement.  Penny-less and car-less, I began looking for a job.  I had majored in Aeronautical Engineering. And while there were very few opportunities to find that kind of job in New Hampshire, I focused on any job with the word engineer attached to the title. 

Several weeks into my search, I was finally offered a job.  While it did not have engineer in the title, it was in the engineering department and afforded some opportunity to achieve that goal.  So in July of 1971 I began working at Sanders Data Systems (a division of Sanders Associates) as the Senior Inspector in the model shop.  The model shop built the engineering prototypes for new equipment.  Sanders Data Systems built a display terminal to compete with the IBM 2260.  Later in 1971, IBM introduced the 3270 interactive terminal system and Sanders began engineering a competitor.

One of the first tasks that my new boss had was to introduce me to the company.  That began with a review of the product and shortly after, resulted in a tour of the manufacturing floor.  Off in the front corner of the manufacturing area was Sub-Unit Test.  An array of large test stations that were custom built to test circuit boards.  I was introduced to each of the test operators during the tour.  Among them was Junior Test Technician Pamela Woods.  She was a very skinny blond with very long hair and very pretty smile.  We greeted and then moved on.


The model shop was located at the other end of the building from Sub-Unit Test and I had no interaction with them in the execution of my job.  Right next to the Model Shop was the Shipping Department.  I soon got to know Doris, the Senior Inspector in the Refurbish Department, located right next to Shipping.  She introduced me to the secretary in the Shipping Department.  I don’t remember her name but she was about my age and very pretty.  Most noticeable among her attributes were her large hair and her large chest.  Doris was working very hard to get me to date this young secretary. But it never came to be.

One afternoon, around the September timeframe, I had a need to go to the rest room.  It was located about 100 feet from where I was working, down the hall and a hard right turn and down the next hall.  As I was approaching the right turn, that skinny Junior Test Technician from Sub-Unit Test was returning from the rest room.  We physically ran into each other at that right-hand turn.  She immediately said “Hi Bruce” and kept walking to her post.  I was dumbfounded!  I remember having met her, but had no recollection of her name. And I thought to myself… she remembered my name!  Why did she remember my name?  I was impressed.  Besides she was very pretty.

That was it.  That one simple event.  The collision on the way to the rest room.  It made a lasting impression.  An impression that has lasted over fifty years.  It was not long after that that I found a reason to go to Sub-Unit Test and chat with Pam.  We started to get to know each other.  And not long after that that we went on our first date.  It was a mixed affair.  We spent some time in her apartment on Library Hill in Nashua watching TV.  One of the most popular shows at the time featured a skinny blond with long hair as a member of the Mod Squad!  When that was done, we headed to the sea coast to see a local ensemble group known as Mac’s Mob.  They were playing at the Peppermint Lounge in Salisbury Beach MA.

So that is how we met. 

I don’t think either of us felt like it was “love at first sight”.  But clearly, the relationship developed quickly.  We only dated about ten months before we got married.  But there is one interesting side note that should be included here.  As I mentioned, Pam lived in an apartment on Abbott Street in Nashua and I was living at my parent’s home in Hudson.  When we first started our relationship, we would hang around her apartment until late evening.  At that point I needed to get back home to get some sleep.  But I still had no car.  So I would typically leave her apartment around 10 or 11 pm and try to hitchhike back into Hudson.  Not only was this an arduous task late at night, it could also be a little dangerous.  She voiced her concern about the danger and began convincing me to stay overnight at her apartment.  But having been raised as a ‘prim and proper’ young man I was not very aggressive, and maybe even a little shy about intimacy with women.  The result was that on those nights that I did stay over, she would get dressed in her pajamas and slip under the covers and I would sleep, fully dressed in my street clothes, on top of the covers.  I have no idea how long that lasted, but I would guess that it was not too long.  And as they say… the rest is history.

Not long after our first date, Pam’s landlord let her out of the lease because her “friend” had bailed out and left her hanging for the full cost.  Pam was able to move in with me at my parents’ house, although my mother was not pleased with the example it set for my younger brothers.  To be respectful of her concerns, Pam and I quickly found our own place.  We rented a house not far away, with another couple.  That didn’t last long because the other guy was pretty strange. So we rented one unit in a three-family town house in Litchfield.
  I distinctly remember the day we were married.  We were planning to go to Cape Cod for a quick honeymoon. After the reception, we returned to the town house to rest up before the long drive.  As we got out of the car, many of the neighbors were outside and Pam yelled out “I finally got him!  We’re married now.”

An interesting side story about the town house… one day there was a knock on the door.  A gentleman announced that he was the new owner of the building.  After leaving, Pam mentioned that she did not trust him because he was from Lowell, Mass and he talked out of the side of his mouth.  Sure enough, a few months later he was arrested for trying to have his wife killed for the insurance money.

But just before our lease was up, we met another Sanders employee that had a mobile home for sale.  She had been divorced and was getting remarried, so she no longer needed it as a home.  So Pam went to the local bank branch and took out a personal loan to cover the down payment.  A week or so later, I went in and took out a loan for the balance of the price of the mobile home.  The unit was located at Olsen’s Trailer Park on Route 3A in Litchfield.  There were two sections to the park.  The lower section was a loop road with mobile homes placed in line right next to each other all the way around the loop.  If you continued in on the access road, and up the hill, you would find the upper section.  It was an L-shaped road with just a few units spaced out from each other and a large open field across the street.  We bought that mobile home and lived there for several years.