brothers from another mother

25 years ago this weekend I went away to college at Central Washington University in Ellensburg. Freshmen got to go a week early, to get acclimated and meet people – Preview Week, they called it. So I loaded up all my worldly possessions into my friend Amy’s ancient Suburban and our moms took us off to school. We had chosen to live in the 24-hour quiet dorm, as if we weren’t dorky enough. A divine decision that turned out to be, for it was there that I met my Central boys.

Jay was on staff at my hall – a Living Group Advisor (LGA). Even then, he was turning up the charm, because had they known how he would go on to corrupt us innocents he never would have made the first cut. I can’t remember how we ended up connecting so thoroughly. It was a big hall – lots of other people surely more interesting than a skinny freshman from Kent.

Jay in Idaho

Jeff was another incoming freshman, and I can’t recall what brought us together, either. He’s a good dancer for a white, straight boy, so that may have been it. It could have been our similar sparking wit and intellect.

One of my favorite pictures. Don’t be fooled – he’s holding onto the counter to remain vertical.  Jay’s apartment.

It’s been 25 years since we met (seriously, am I THAT freaking old?!).  But I can remember like yesterday Jay buying us our first strawberry champagne (you WILL still pay for that crime against humanity, my friend), microwaving a frozen pizza he stole from the 7-11 IN THE 7-11 before running out to hide in the newspaper bin, labeling everything in his room with post-its, celebrating Katie’s birth, dinners at the Valley and Supermothers at the Tav, Jeff falling down giggling like a little girl over who knows what til we almost peed our own pants, going to dance with the cool kids at the multi’s in Stud Vill, road trips to the Pink Door and the divey teriyaki joint before hitting The Vogue, Tugs and Watertown, telling more than one person that NO, I was not dating Jay, living together in the Shaw Apartments the summer I met The Geek, Jay falling out of a tree while I was *ahem* otherwise occupied with a cute stoner boy at 5 am, eating copious amounts of pumpkin chiffon pie, AND let’s not forget the time Jay set my hair on fire and ran of his apartment screaming…  Now we go to parties at Jay’s new house and see other Central friends and his mom and sisters, we camp with Jeff and his girlfriend and go to Disneyland with his brother’s family and drunkenly plan drunken Thanksgivings.

We don’t always talk everyday, and months might go by without seeing other, but we still speak the language of friends who go back that far, whose history binds them. It’s a comfort to know they would do for me without asking why, and I for them. I hope they know that. And if they didn’t before, they do now. As long as it doesn’t involve strawberry champagne. Or setting my hair on fire.

And now back to our regularly- scheduled programming. No more sap for a while, I promise.


One lazy day in July 1987, I crashed my bike on a gravel alleyway in Ellensburg, embedding some blood and rocks  in my knee and hand.  This was a convenient excuse to ask my cute new neighbor for some first aid.  As they say, one thing led to another – he was my first and last boyfriend. Today marks our 19th anniversary of mostly wedded bliss.

We were fairly young when we got married -24 and 25.  We’d planned a trip to Hawaii using my bosses’ c0ndo, and I pretty much convinced The Geek we should just get married and the trip would be our honeymoon.  Yep, no big proposal and to this day I wonder if he ever would have- it was probably just easier to go along with it, still our general operating procedure.  Two kids, a bar and a dog later, here we are.

To be sure, we’ve weathered some ups and downs, including one pretty big down where I wondered if we’d come out the other side, that maybe this was it, the end.  What if I’d chosen the wrong fork in the road? Or maybe he should have ended up with someone else.  We’re still on THIS road however; the ride isn’t over.  It’s bumpy at times, high-flying at others.  We do the best we can with what we’ve got, with what we’ve made.  We’ve made two pretty great kids, and made a second family with some of the best people in the world at the Roanoke.  So lucky to still be surrounded with stand-up people from E-burg, Federal and Green Lake.

So thanks to The Geek for living with my cookbook and fabric collections, putting up with my anal planning of camping trips, building my garden beds and fireplace mantle, installing baseboards while I research new kitchen floors, walking the dog and picking up 95% of his poo, disposing of all spiders post-haste, and teaching the kids that some fathers do say “I’m sorry” and “I love you”.

Nineteen years is a long-ass time.  To do anything, let alone live with one person.  It helps when you marry your best friend.  I didn’t get you a present.  I guess you could say this is it.  Love you.

August 1987