My life course would be altered the day I went to have my Student ID photo taken at freshman orientation at WVU in July of 1984.
My Mom and I visited the Mountaineer Marching Band booth in the main lobby area of the Mountainlair.
There, showing videos of the famed marching band were two upperclassmen horn players who were also members.
I struck up a conversation with them about my being in the WVU Drumline.
I spoke mostly to the one with straight brown hair and a mustache, who seemed very sweet; I showed him my new snare drum pendant I’d received at my HS grad party.
When it was time for my ID picture, we said goodbye/see you at band camp.
Little did I know that following my departure, sweet straight brown hair/mustache guy turned to his friend and declared, “I’m going to take that girl out,” to which the friend snickered “Suuure you will.”
But John would not easily be discouraged, and I promptly forgot about meeting him.
Throughout band camp in August, and into the start of fall classes, band rehearsals and performances John watched me from afar.
I was happily “playing the field.”
On October 2, I caught a ride back to Towers with someone after band practice.
Tuba player John (straight brown hair with mustache from freshman orientation band video fame) was also in the car.
I was still none-the-wiser to his feelings for me.
We ended up at the dining hall with a few mutual acquaintances, and talking about classes.
Lori: I’m having some trouble with unit 9 in Psych 1.
John: (Moving in for the “kill”) Oh, I’m a Psychology major. I can tutor you.
Lori: (Still quite oblivious) OK, I’m in room 1815; how about at 7?
John finally got his “in.” Little did I know I’d royally made this guy’s day!
That night, I don’t know how John kept his cool during the tutoring but afterward he confided his feelings for me.
I was completely blindsided — I’d no idea. I was happy being unattached and seeing different guys and was flattered, but was really not interested.
I tried to politely let him down, but it would eventually prove as futile as attempting to toast marshmallows in a blizzard.
From then on, despite having been friendzoned, John was always there, offering a ride back from practice or take me out to eat. Our first ‘date’ was at Wings ‘n Things (now Wings Olé).
I liked John a lot, but there were no real romantic feelings there. He was far more ‘into me’ than I was him.
John would often come up to my dorm room, but I was thoroughly enjoying the college dating experience and continued to see other guys, which he knew.
He shaved off his mustache when we beat Penn State 17-14, and the sparks began to fly.
All through the rest of the marching season, including the Bowl game trip with the Mountaineer football team at the Houston Astrodome, John and I were together.
Ultimately, John’s sweet persistence won me over, and I forgot about everyone else. I became his girlfriend on March 23, 1985, and we were together throughout the rest of college.
Interestingly, John had transferred to WVU from a small western PA school, and I could have gone to Rutgers. Somehow, we ended up at West Virginia, in the Mountaineer Marching Band.
John and I were engaged 11/18/88, and married 6/23/90. We celebrated our 20th Anniversary the summer of 2010 on a Bermuda/Caribbean cruise, and a week in Aruba for our 25th.
We’ve also joined the Melrose Blackhawks, a local Drum & Bugle Corps, so we can continue to enjoy participating in a marching ensemble together.
Years later, with a crowd of fellow alumni at Homecoming, John admitted that he actually hadn’t changed his major to Psychology at the time he offered me help. He was still in Political Science. Major side eye at the table as the guffaws rolled! But hey, my parents had lied about their ages when they met.
Who needs eHarmony when you can join the WVU Mountaineer Marching Band?