Our Spot in Camelot ~
by Joanne Kidd
It was the summer of 1974, and I was spending that summer
before starting college as a nanny/babysitter with a family
at their summer condo on St. Augustine beach. Living in the
same condo complex that summer was someone who would change
my life forever.
He had just moved to St. Augustine from Indiana with his
mother and stepfather, and they had a condo unit on the
second floor overlooking the swimming pool. He was not only
a blonde cutie pie, but he carried himself with such an
air of confidence that it was hard not to watch him strut by. I used to position my chair next to
the pool so that I could watch the two little girls I was in
charge of that summer and still get a glorious tan. Every
day he would take a few extra steps in order to walk in
front of my chair instead of behind it.
After a few more days of obvious strategic strutting and yet
still being ignored, he suddenly popped up next to me in the
pool, asking, "Are those your kids?" I think I said
something like, "Um, No, Mr. Math. I'm only 18." My
cleaver, whippy comeback didn't discourage him in the least, and
that first conversation ending up lasting for hours. The next day,
guess who was strutting past my pool chair once again! (I
think I pretended to ignore him that time, too, but I kept
an eye on him because that strut was just kind of cute.) It
didn't take long before I had help with my nanny duties, as
we were spending every day playing at the pool or on the
beach. We became best friends and surfing buddies. Our
friendship was completely innocent. In the evenings we would
walk for miles on the beach, talking and laughing. We could talk about
absolutely anything and everything. (Still can.) It was the most beautiful summer, and
one that would carve its place right into my heart.
I moved back home to start college at the end of that summer.
A few weeks later, there was an incident where Jeff was the
unwilling recipient of his stepfather’s fist, and he called
me at 2:00 a.m. one morning to ask if he could come stay with us for a
while. Although my parents had never met him, when he called
they didn't hesitate in saying, "Tell him to get here
as soon as he can." While his mother dealt with
their situation and was making preparations for
the two of them to move back to Indiana, he stayed with my family.
Sometime later that year when she sent for him, two best friends parted and
promises were naturally made to one day reunite. We kept in
close touch through letters for a couple of years, but we also continued on with
our own lives.
While in college I met a cliché "tall, dark,
charming, and handsome" man that I eventually would marry.
Meanwhile, in Indiana, Jeff joined the army. During those first couple of years when he
would write, he kept telling me about his new passion of
body building and how he was going to become one of those
muscle-building guys. I snipped him off a letter one day that said something
along the lines that he might be able to impress his gym
buddies with all of that muscle-flexing-in-the-mirror stuff, but not me. (Oops!) Oddly, that
was the exact same time he lost my address and phone
Flash forward twenty eight years...
I found his old class ring in the safe deposit box one day
and thought he might like to have it to pass on to someone
in his life, so I did a search for him on the internet. I
knew nothing about him by this time, or even if he was even
still alive. With a list of about 200 possibilities, I was a bit
overwhelmed, but saw one email that seemed to just pop off
the page. The stars must've been aligned perfectly when I
push that "send" button, because I emailed only one
person with his name in a list of about 200 and I found him on the very
first try! It didn't take long for us to realize that the
other one was exactly what we’d each been missing for the
past 28 years and that somehow we'd always been a part of
each others lives. Even with all those years and miles
between us, the unexplainable connection had never been broken. Within six months he sold everything he owned,
gave away his horse (and cowboy boots and hat) (thank
goodness!) (I'm only sayin...), packed up his trusty
dog, moved to Jacksonville, and
we were married. Yes, he had been a body-builder-muscle-guy about 20 years
had won Mr. This, Mr. That, and Mr. The-Other, but I’m glad I missed out on
those years because when I
look at the photos and see him posing in his little black
Speedo, it just makes me snicker!
is not just my honey-pie-romantic-guy, but he's is still my BFF
and he reminds me almost every day of our little story of
romance and the miracle of how we found each other again
twenty eight years after that magical, unforgettable summer of 1974.
Oh, and by the way, we lived happily ever after.
~ The End ~