How I Met The Love Of My Life, Part I

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A few weeks ago on her blog, my friend Shirley Showalter, told the story about how her parents met and fell in love. She asked me in her reply to my comment, how Bill and I met. So here it is for all the world to see.

December, 31, 1963.

William-Rough_HS4 (1)I was attending Castleton State Teachers College, now Castleton University, just outside of Rutland, Vermont. I lived at my dad’s ski lodge, The Summit Lodge, in Killington, one of Vermont’s newest and upcoming ski areas at the time. I commuted to school, and waited tables at night at the lodge. When there weren’t enough chambermaids about, I cleaned toilets, made beds, and did all the stuff that being in the hospitality business is all about. I wasn’t crazy about the work. But it was what I did to pay my way through college.

I wasn’t dating anyone seriously, but flirted with Bob, another college student who washed dishes at the lodge whenever school was on break. He wanted a serious relationship with me, but I wasn’t interest. He was one of twelve kids, and told me he wanted a huge family like his own. I didn’t really know what I wanted, but I knew it wasn’t a whole bunch of kids. I loved learning, being in school, and didn’t want to limit myself to changing diapers, housekeeping, and chopping wood all winter in the mountains of Vermont.

Being New Year’s Eve, the dining room was filled with skiers of all ages, shapes and sizes, celebrating the end of another year. Outside the snow was piled high and still falling. The wind was cold, whistling down the chimneys and occasionally bringing in big puffs of smoke that were supposed to be traveling upward and out, not back into the room.

Tired of the holiday rush, waiting on tables, and connecting with the public, all I wanted was for everyone to go celebrate somewhere else, so I could relax instead of being constantly at someone else’s beck and call.

As the dining room was clearing out, my father introduced me to a couple from New Jersey, who were there skiing with their kids … and their daughter’s boyfriend. I had served their table.

That was the first time I laid eyes on Bill. He was tall, handsome, had dreamy blue eyes, and a cute chin dimple that I liked. That was it. No wedding bells rang. Cupid was off shooting his arrows somewhere else.

I didn’t see him again until May, when school was out. In the meantime, my dad had finished building us a house separate from the lodge, so that we could have some privacy as a family. We’d moved in to our new home during the early spring.

I was aware that Bill had been staying at the lodge occasionally and had become friends with my father who helped him purchase a piece of land, where Bill wanted to build his own private ski house. But I hadn’t seen him or talked to him.

Working as a cashier at one of the grocery stores in Rutland for the summer, I was bored out of my mind and trying to save up more money. One day after work, as I walked through the front door of my house, Bill stepped out of the bathroom off the hallway, freshly showered.

Everyone wants this part of the story to be different, but trust me, he was DRESSED in jeans, a tee shirt, and hiking boots.

The Round House as it stands today under it's newest owners.

The Round House as it stands today under it’s newest owners.

It turned out he was in the area for the summer. He and one of his college roommates at Princeton, an architect, were beginning to build the ski house they’d both been dreaming about. It was to be round and made out of stone. They were camped out at the house sight in a huge tent furnished with cots, a refrigerator, a telephone, and a tiny television set. But there was no shower and since the creek at the bottom of the property was icy cold, my dad had kindly invited them to shower at our house anytime.

Bill hired both of my brothers as gophers to dig holes, move rocks, and do whatever needed doing as the building process began. Reid couldn’t have been more than ten years old, which would have made Zed fourteen. He paid them a dollar an hour and as a bonus, took them and three or four other kids he’d also hired to the movies in Rutland every Friday night.

Bill and Russ, his roommate, were frequent shower users at my house and often stayed for dinner. My mother, a fabulous cook, loved their oohs and aahs over the food she prepared, which guaranteed them seats at our dinner table whenever they were around … which was a lot of the time.

They were both really nice guys, but I wasn’t shopping at the time. It was a period of my life when I spent my time as one of the walking dead. I worked by day and went home to my parents home, bored and wishing I was anywhere else. School was out for the summer so I wasn’t seeing anyone I knew. But having left school after my freshman year to go back to Long Island to work and figure out what I wanted to do with my life, all I wanted now was to get my degree, go off on my own, and find a teaching job somewhere far away and hopefully interesting. I didn’t want to live at home with my parents and never dreamed I would find love in the mountains of Vermont.

Oh, Darn. There isn’t enough room here to tell you what happened next, because the love hadn’t started yet. So you’ll just have to wait until next week to find out how our first date worked out and how a VW bus full of kids helped me find the love of my life.

In the meantime, you can talk amongst yourselves, share how you met the loves of your lives, and begin writing your own story. It’s important to do that … everyone wants to know about it, especially your kids and grandkids! 🙂

Oh, and forgive my use of current photos.  After searching through many boxes I discovered that Bill and I weren’t using cameras very much at that time.  


  1. Love this story. And you told it so well. I was so taken by the romantic set-up in that dining room. Reminded me of Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn in Holiday. Didn’t they meet in Lake Placid??

    I had heard bits of this story before, but this one had more detail. Made me laugh. Glad you are making a series. I’ll be back.

    And, oh yes, thanks for the shout out to my site also.

  2. Oh, you’re so welcome and thank you for inspiring me to write it. I’m happy to hear it made you laugh. It is a funny story, especially Part II, so do come back!

    • Wait! What? Well, OK! Enjoyed this so much – but me writing about the love of my life? Hmmmmmmmmmm!

      • Joan Rough says:

        Well, I forgot about your kind of story. So sorry. All I can say is that the love of your life doesn’t need to be human. 🙂

  3. Joan, you are a wonderful storyteller. I love this story and am hooked into knowing what happens next. So glad you are doing a series. I’ll definitely be back. It’s also nice to see a current photo of Bill–you two have movie star smiles. 🙂

    • Joan Rough says:

      Oh my, Movie Star Smiles?? Wow! Thanks, so much Kathy. It’s a fun story and I’m enjoying sharing it.

  4. I responded to you “True, Crazy Love Story” a few weeks ago, but now I see there’s more. Who doesn’t savor a love story!

    You got me hooked here with your will-they-or-won’t-they technique. Of course, I’ll be back for next week’s installment. Joan.

  5. Joan — I love a great LOVE STORY and you’re telling yours so incredibly well! I’m wait, Wait, WAITING for the next installment.

    • Joan Rough says:

      Thanks, Laurie. I’m sure the time will go quickly and I’d better start putting the second part down on paper!!


  1. […] For those who are waiting to hear Part II of my love story, here it is. If you missed Part I you can read it here. […]