Introduction: Today happens to be my birthday. In light of this annual event, I have decided to share what will eventually become the Prologue of a book I am writing about my parents as a gift* for their upcoming 50th wedding anniversary in 2014. This may change once I start to sit down and write the book, but it will be in some form of this. Enjoy!
*I think they know I am doing this. If not, they do now.
I was born at 9:47 pm on Saturday, December 20, 1980. Historical weather records indicate that it was cold, which would be expected in Utah in the middle of December. I was born at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, which I believe has a new name these days, in Provo, Utah, while my family was residing in Orem, Utah.
I don’t really remember the particulars about my birth, as I was not yet cognizant of what was going on, but I do know that less than 16 hours later, I was at church with my parents and my older brother Michael and my sister Kathleen. I was named Robert Lee Eberhard, my first name from the actor Robert Wagner, my middle name from my grandfathers, and my last name from my German ancestors. I was the third of what would eventually be six children, a mere 15 months younger than my older sister, and 15 months older than my sister Stefanie.
But this is not going to be a story about me. Sure, I may play a part in it, but how big a part we won’t know for sure. This is a story about my parents that day and now, a couple of kids who met 17 years prior at Brigham Young University when my dad was studying economics and trying to get into law school and my mom was visiting her sister at school. Fifty years later, despite some rough spells along the way, their love and devotion to each other, and their family, is a model to which other relationships could be measured.
I may be slightly biased in this regard, but I think my parents were the best. Any attempt to buy our love wouldn’t have worked because we were so poor, so it had to be genuine. We may not have had all the newest gadgets, but we had two parents that were home most nights of the week. Parents that were invested in our activities. Parents that would make sure that we had enough before even their own needs on some occasions.
As sad as it might be to say, if my parents were to meet today as 20-year old kids, I don’t think they would end up with each other. My dad is a very quiet person, just plugging along and keeping his emotions in check. A modern Ronnie Eberhard would probably be like his two younger sons, waiting for a girl to show interest prior to putting himself out there. He would probably crush a lot, but would resist approaching even the most approachable girl because he is afraid of rejection. My mom, on the other hand, is very outgoing, starting up conversations with perfect strangers, often to the embarrassment of her children waiting in those Albertson’s checkout lines with her. A modern Stella Bowen would be a social butterfly, probably all over the interwebs and involved in all sorts of different things. She might notice Shy Ronnie, or she might not.
The modern dating world would not be the place for my parents. When they met, my father was going on a blind date with my aunt’s roommate. My mom happened to be there visiting her sister and took notice of the dapper young man at the door… or at least this is how the story looks in my mental movie. My pops goes on the date with the roommate but is distracted by the girl that was left at the apartment, hoping that she noticed him and maybe she’ll try and get a hold of him. If it was today, he would probably spend a little too much time on Facebook trying to find out some information on this mystery girl.
My mom, meanwhile, is gushing with her sister over the guy that just picked up her roommate and decides that she needs to get to know him. She might not be visiting for that long long, but will make sure to come back and visit, maybe even perhaps come back to school in the fall to study nursing, hoping that Shy Ronnie won’t find someone else. Luckily, when she gets back on campus in the fall, he’s still available and has been secretly hoping that you would come back. A few months and some dates later, Shy Ronnie might be too shy to realize that he is in love with this woman, and she knows this. So instead of waiting for him to ask him to marry her, she asks him instead, and over 50 years later, they are sitting at a banquet table enjoying the company of friends and family.
But first they have to actually meet.
Until next time…