Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It's a small world. Maybe a leeeeeetle too small . . .

Number One Son is a nuclear engineer. He's decided to spend a couple years working at the local Navy base in the field of nuclear engineering before pursuing grad school. Right now he is facing a lot of training at the base before he begins the actual task of engineering--nuclearly.

He came home today and told me that one of his training instructors knows Hubby and me. Instructor went to high school with my brother, was acquainted with me, and met Hubby through me.

This description could fit any number of friends my brother and I had in school.

"I think his name might be Rick or something like that?" Number One helpfully added.

Still not enough information for me to narrow it down much. But then he tacked on this detail: "Oh yeah," Number One remembered, "he mentioned that until a couple years ago, our families used to exchange Christmas cards."

Ohhhhhh. That guy.

None other than my high school sweetheart, Eric.

I dated Eric off and on (mostly on) starting when I was still in junior high (okay, we weren't "dating" at that time so much as we were going steady) until I met my sweet hubby after I finished high school. That's practically a marriage in teenager terms.

Eric's family moved back to Connecticut a week after he graduated and from there Eric joined the Navy. During his time in boot camp, I met and got engaged to Hubby. But, lonely for his roots, Eric had kept up contact with my parents and brother a bit, even after I married someone who wasn't him.

Twenty years later, Eric retired from the Navy and, with his wife and son, moved back to western Washington where he took a job at the Navy base. I had no idea what that job was until today during the conversation with Number One Son.

What a coincidence that after all the years of traveling around the world--and with all the choices of jobs he could have had--he ended up standing in the same room with my grown son as an instructor.

Hubby, having been present during this whole conversation, made some snide remark about Eric. I think that's the required reaction for a husband when the subject of his wife's ex comes up--no matter how far in the past it lies.

After Hubby poked some gentle fun at me, I said that Eric was a nice guy and generally a good person. Number One agreed that he seems like he's nice guy.

And I didn't mention it to Number One, but I silently thanked Eric for having been tactful and gentlemanly in the way he said he knew Number One's parents and went to school with Number One's uncle. He could so easily have stated things differently to Number One. Like,

"Yeah, I know your dad. And I never thought he was good enough for your mom."

Or,

"When I was already feeling the most vulnerable, your mother broke my heart."

Or,

"Your mom is Kristin? Yeah, I tapped that."

9 comments:

Whitenoise said...

Tapped that? Say, don't your kids read your blog? No secrets now, eh?
;-)

countrymouse said...

Good point Captain : ) It's only my daughter who reads it and I figured she'd think I was old and misused the phrase ; )

ajooja said...

I think the guy was pretty nice about it too, but I'd be careful.

My wife has at least three different ex's who consider her "the one who got away." Two have been nice and cordial. (Including the one in prison.) The other guy started out nice then got real weird, real fast.

Tink said...

I think I know what "tapped" means but in case I am i need of a vocab lesson you will be getting a call.
Love,
Grasshopper

countrymouse said...

Yeah, Grasshopper, it means what you think it means. He and I seriously thought we were going to get married--so that makes it okay, right? : )

And not to worry--I've already warned Beautiful that she probably doesn't want to read this one : )

Mary said...

What a turn of phrase you have, Kristin. Absolutely perfect post.

As for the kids, it's good for them to know that their parents aren't cardboard cutouts who didn't exist fully before they arrived.

Right?

Or am I just kidding myself??

Miss Got Wings said...

Too funny. The past always finds a way of coming back to us. But I'm glad to read that he's a decent guy and all. I'm just getting back into blogging on a regular basis. I've got a lot to catch up on here! Hope all's well :)

CSY said...

An ex of mine dated my best friend. My husband knew that 'Michael' was to me the 'one that got away'....guess who my best friend was dating? Hubby even LIKED him! We didn't tell Hubby who he REALLY was until like 6 months later...I'll NEVER live that one down, will I?

Anna See said...

Very, very funny! My college boyfriend lives 2 doors down. A fact that I learned after we both bid on the same house. Eek.