01 Feb “The Mail Carrier”
is author of the best-selling book, “Hot Chocolate for Seniors”(winner of national & international awards); winner of Gold Halo Award from the So. California Motion Picture Council for Outstanding Literary Achievement; winner of First Place Excellence in Journalism Award (SPJ –Southern CA); Town & Gown “Phenomenal Woman” Award; former television host & KSPA radio host of “Senior Living at its Best with Jan Fowler”; speaker, contributing author for “Savvy Women Revving Up for Success”; founder of Starburst Inspirations, Inc. 501(c) (3) nonprofit which supports Redlands Drug Court. www.janfowler.com. Jan welcomes feedback and comments about her columns and invites you to leave her a message on her website.
In celebration of Valentine’s Day, the following true life story of how one couple discovered love and romance in later life is excerpted from Jan Fowler’s newest book, Hot Chocolate for Senior Romance ~How great It Is!
“The Mail Carrier”
by Jim and Lisa
As told by Jim:
I had been married before and was currently going through a divorce, living alone, going to work, and doing the normal “old guy” things such as volunteering, working my day job, and staying involved with my older children’s lives.
As told by Lisa:
My story is a bit different because I had never been married. I had been a single mom for twenty years and had one long-term relationship and many short ones, which always ended because they were going nowhere. And that is not where I intended to go. I had been delivering mail for about eighteen years, including ten years on my current route. My daughter was in college, and I decided that it was time for me to get a life.
I was home most afternoons during my lunch breaks as an NBC/Universal broadcast engineer. I had probably spoken briefly to my mail carrier less than a handful of times, when Marion, my neighbor, suggested to me that my mail carrier and I should go out on a date.
One day while delivering mail, one of my customers, Marion, had suggested that I go out on a date with her neighbor, Jim. I told her that I don’t typically date people on my postal route but that I trusted her and would think about it.
One warm day I was home for lunch as usual with the door open when suddenly the mail went flying through the door and skidded along the floor. I got up, walked to the door and asked, “Excuse me, but are you Lisa?” She acknowledged that she was, and so I mentioned to her about my neighbor thinking we should date. I told her we should just make Marion happy and go out on one date.
One warm day while Jim was home for lunch, he purposely had his door open, knowing that I was on his street. Being that his mail slot was in the door, protocol is that you just drop it on the floor as you yell “Mail,” which is exactly what I did. He had to have been watching for me because he was on top of that door the very minute I was and practically caught the mail as I was dropping it. He said, “Hi, you must be Lisa. Marion next door thinks we should go out.” I acknowledged that she had mentioned that to me also. Then he said, “Well, what do you think?”
We tried to settle on a date, but each of us had so much activity going on in our lives at the time, such as Lisa’s family trips and my charity bike ride on the East Coast, that we concluded we probably wouldn’t be able to get together for about a month. But finally we did go out on our first date in June 2003.
As we were leaving the restaurant following a get-to-know-each-other dinner, we decided to do something else on the spur of the moment. “How about bowling?” I asked, probably not wanting the evening to come to an end.
Lisa responded with a cheerful, “Can we go back to my house for my ball and shoes?” (I knew then that I was in trouble. Mixing drinking and bowling on our first date may have been a great icebreaker, but the bowling alley floors must have just been polished because we both slipped and fell on our first ball.) Lisa and I hit it off very well that evening, so she and I went on a second date, then a third, and so on and so forth …
What really makes this unusual is that Lisa’s schedule was such that she came to my house around my lunchtime to deliver my mail, which meant that we were able to see each other daily for at least a little while. As the summer moved on and it got hotter, it became more difficult for me to watch her carry that heavy bag in the heat, and I really felt bad for her.
As I remember (mind you, I’m sixty-seven years old now), toward the end of August, Lisa said that if I was thinking of asking her to be my wife, her sisters would be in town in October. Hint, hint! It turned out to be a good idea, and things just fell into place. I gave it more consideration and eventually we picked out a ring. Then I proposed to her on a windy afternoon at the beach.
As I remember (I’m only fifty-eight years old now), he had brought up marriage a couple times in our regular conversations. Jim had already planned his trip to Chicago to run the marathon and asked if I wanted to go. I said I couldn’t go away with him unless we were married. And I believe he proposed on Naples Island in Long Beach, California, on a gondola ride. Regardless, we scheduled the wedding the weekend before the marathon so that we could go together. And yes, my sisters all came to California for our special wedding!
Ours was a four-month relationship that has turned into thirteen years and counting! Both Lisa and I have retired from our jobs, sold our home in Burbank, and retired to a suburb of Dallas, Texas. We volunteer locally and enjoy traveling all over the United States and Europe. We have three grown children—all married—and seven grandchildren, and we are extremely proud of all of them. She and I are loving life!