Bill & Carolyn: A Love Story
Tomorrow will make 45 years of marriage for my parents. But before they became known as Mom and Dad, they were simply Bill and Carolyn. Here is their story.
Bill and Carolyn both attended Florida State University. Their respective roommates, Richard and Ruth were dating, so they undoubtedly knew of each other. Carolyn was engaged, but her fiancé, Barry, was killed in an auto accident. Bill went to the airport with Richard to pick Carolyn up after Barry’s funeral. There were so many people in the car that Carolyn had to sit on Bill’s lap. But this did not mean they noticed each other. Carolyn grieving, the passage of time, and their roommates were all necessary for what was to come.
The following scene was recounted by a fly on the wall of Bill and Richard’s dorm room (it lived to be a very old fly).
Richard: So who are you taking to the Circle K Picnic?
Bill: I don’t know.
Richard: Why don’t you take Carolyn?
Bill: Carolyn who?
Richard: You know, Ruth’s roommate.
Bill: Oh, okay. Yeah, I guess.
Carolyn agreed because she figured they’d be with their roommates. But when Richard came down with pneumonia, Ruth showed her solidarity and sat in the infirmary with him. Bill was later asked how the picnic went and replied, “Okay I guess. Carolyn went out with me again.”
In the spring semester of 1965, Bill took Carolyn to see The Sound of Music on the big screen. Afterward, she agreed to wear his pin (meaning they formally became a couple). Then they both went home for the summer—Carolyn to Miami and Bill to Orlando. Unfortunately, Bill had a writing problem: he didn’t. His lack of summer correspondence made Carolyn think the deal was off. But Bill actually couldn’t wait to get back to school to see her. He made sure to be there to help her move back into her dorm, which set her doubting mind at ease.
The next part of their story is highly debated between the two. Bill can still visualize the moment—while sitting in the lounge at Cawthon Hall—when he got down on one knee and asked Carolyn to marry him. Carolyn denies this event ever occurring. She claims Bill just started talking about “when we get married.” But none of it really matters, because they obviously did get married.
And now—45 years, 3 children, and 2 grandchildren later—they are still going strong.
I love you two crazy kids. Have yourselves a happy anniversary.