During my time working as a shoe repairman in Tip Top Shoe Repair, I still had many outside interests. I was playing a little hockey and also was coaching my brother Paul’s high school hockey team. I also started ballet lessons.
I had always heard that ballet could help in sports like hockey and football, and I was also just interested in trying something new. Therefore, I signed up for beginning adult classes at the Avenue Ballet Studio in SLC, Utah. The teacher’s name was “Bunny”, and despite what you might be thinking, she was a great teacher who had a lot of patience for people like me and she was nice (and pretty…). I enjoyed classes and worked fairly hard at it.
Sometime in December of this year (1980), following a hockey game with my brother’s team, I went with Paul and his friends to visit one of their friends. Her name was Katherine, and she was beautiful! I’m not even sure that Katherine and I spoke that night, because there were many people in her small apartment. (I only later learned that she didn’t know that the bunch of us were coming over, and she was a bit annoyed.)
Then, a few weeks later at a New Year’s Eve party I saw Katherine again, and we had a nice conversation. I had no idea that she had a boyfriend (really!). We both seemed to enjoy that night, and we decided to call each other and to maybe go out.
SLC was in the middle of one of its many winter “temperature inversions”. These are horrible things that cause the valley to get filled with cold, dirty air. It is like pea soup and is awful to breath. It is one of the reasons that would keep me from ever returning to SLC, because these get more and more frequent with so many cars on the road. In order to escape from the inversion of early 1981, my buddy Denny Coello and I decided to ride our bikes out of the cold snog, and we went to Cedar City. That was a great ride with some nice memories… During the ride, I thought a lot about Katherine. I hadn’t yet called her, but I decided to call when we got back.
My Mom played cello in the Utah Symphony for about 40 years. This was always a great source of pride for me, and it was fun to talk to her fellow musicians and the great conductor, Maurice Abravanel. In my teens and early adult years, the symphony also became my “cheap but classy” date, because I got free tickets from my mom. I could also bring girlfriends to the back to meet the musicians after the concert.
It was a slow time at Tip Top, Wayne was out doing errands, and I had finished all of my work for the day. I called Katherine and invited her to the Utah Symphony concert. I think the concert featured the a great soloist, cellist Lynn Harrell. She accepted!!
In case you missed some of my earlier blogs, I was pretty scruffy. I was a hockey playing, ballet dancing, bicycle riding, college dropout (more on that soon), shoe repairman–not exactly the sort of guy that every mother dreams of for her daughter.
However, this was a big turning point in my life, and from that moment, my solo journey in life became a duet…