I never should have started this project with a memory like mine! :) I'll just have to give it to you in bits and pieces that I can remember.
Rather than "dating", it seemed like we mostly just "hung out" together. One of the things I do remember is that I instantly liked his friends. I remember driving down to Whiting Bros in Doug Chlarson's little blue car they called the "Mirth Mobile". Having grown up in 3rd ward up at the stake center, I didn't know the guys from 1st and 2nd ward very well. Soon I knew the Doug Brothers, Doug Chlarson and Doug Lisonbee, and Troy Adair. I remember one of our first dates was getting pizza with Troy and Melissa and driving out east in Spence's old brown truck named "One in a Million". The car naming phenomenon again.
It seemed like we would always end up down at Whiting Brothers around closing for the half-price burritos. Does anyone else remember this? After 10:00 pm or so, Whitings would mark down their burros (that was about all the food they sold besides corn dogs back them). Half price wasn't good enough for Spence; he would always manage to talk the clerk on duty into throwing something in for free or marking them down early. Now I remember why he can always talk me into anything. Everywhere we went he'd talk people into giving him the "employee discount" or some other outrageous deal.
I would ride with Spence out to check waters or break ice at the ranch out east. I thought it was kind of cool that he wore Wranglers when he went to work. I had only known him as "Skater" up to this point and had no idea about the cowboy within. :)
The Winter dance was coming up and we both already had dates with other people. But now that we liked each other, we couldn't bear the thought of not going together. Does this sound like teenage minds or what???? Somehow we finagled it so that we traded dates and the other two went with each other and we got to go together. I'd like to take this time to apologize to the other two people even though they'll probably never read this. What can I say...we were crazy in love or like or something like that. At this point we'd been "dating" about a month. I was proud, at the time, to say that we'd never kissed. Doesn't one month of no kissing constitute a considerable foundation of friendship before becoming an item? I thought so.
After the dance, Spence talked me into (remember, he could talk me into anything and still can) dropping everyone else off at home first so I could take him last. I went inside his house with him and we were standing in the kitchen doorway talking. After some smooth talking on Spence's part and some awkward side-stepping on my part, he finally kissed me on the cheek. I was still holding on to the thought that we should be friends for a while. Not to be deterred (he's going to hate that I'm saying this about him...I better get his side of the story later), he eventually maneuvered in and landed a big one right on my lips. I'm not going to go all "pioneer woman" on you all and tell you all the steamy details, A. because I can't remember them and B. because our parents will read this, but I do remember thinking he was the best kisser I'd ever come across.
In months that ensued, we became inseparable. Dating Spence entailed a lot of waiting. He was notoriously late to everything. I spent in inordinate amount of time at his house chatting with his family while he showered and dressed. He never seemed to actually start to get ready to go out until he heard me ring the doorbell. He is to this day, meticulous about his grooming, but has perfected the 3-minute shower, so I have to give him some credit! As I sat waiting in his living room or kitchen, he would inevitably come out with socks and shoes in hand and proceed to put on one sock, then one shoe. The other sock and then the other shoe. Is it just me or is this weird? I guess it stands out in my mind because the whole putting on of the socks and shoes might take anywhere from 5-15 minutes (depending on whether or not he misplaced a sock during the process). I might be exaggerating here, but I swear it did.
As our senior year drew to a close, we had no idea what the future might hold. We'd been "steady dating" (I'm not promoting steady dating here :) for about eight months by this time. Would we go our separate ways? Would we try to make a long distance relationship work? Surely there would be college and a mission? We marched down the auditorium aisle arm in arm to receive our high school diplomas. It seemed like a surreal and euphoric event in the mind of a 17-year-old. School and friends were the only life we knew up until this point. I think we were both feeling pretty nostalgic and emotional about leaving it all behind. After the ceremony ended, we snuck behind the stage and out into the hall by the band room for a moment alone. I remember Spence picked me up an swung me around and his first uttered "I love you" was met with my quick "I love you too" in response. Was it just two teenagers who thought they knew what love meant? Was it real love that would endure the test of time and space? Only time would tell.......
More embarrassing photos:
No wonder Spence fell for me....look at me! All curly hair and crazy bangs flying in the air...what's not to love???
Spence, Kellie, Courtney Grant.....Boyd Lee, Tana Udall, Ben Heap
Ben had been stepped on by a bull in a rodeo earlier in the day. I think he lost some teeth and had stitches, but he still made it to the dance.
There's those white Guess jeans again!
Prom....which we actually made it to...late, and then left early.
On a side note: People always find it interesting that I got my degree in Special Education and then had a special boy myself. As I was remembering high school, I thought back to some other encounters that may have helped prepare or at least foreshadowed Spence and I having a child with special needs.
I don't know if any of you remember Maria or Serena, but they were two girls who were in special ed in high school. Maria Hensley was a short, petite girl with big glasses, and Serena (I don't know her last name...would someone look it up in their yearbook for me?) was a sassy, dark-haired girl with feathered bangs and an attitude. She used to do the "Oh no you di-in't" head shake and snap like a black girl. Well, these girls LOVED Spence. When we were dating, they would be at his locker between EVERY class hoping for a little teasing from Spence, which he would always come through with. I think that they could have taken or left me....which is totally wrong, because I had spent my whole junior year as the aide in their special ed class with Ernesto Lopez. (I guess I didn't have Spence's charisma! :) The only need they had for me was when they wanted to tattle on Spence for something he said or to pass along some kind of message to him. I was always impressed with Spence's kindness. He made those girls feel good about themselves. His teasing was never mean-spirited, it was exactly what they wanted and it made their day. Just one more thing that makes me love him. When the day is done and he forgets to take out the trash or doesn't do the dishes he promised to do, I can always come up with off-setting qualities that make those little "insurrections" not seem so important.
I just found this photo in an album Trish gave me. He started early charming the ladies with his guitar! :)