Copyright Joanne Kidd

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 clever, 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, and 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. 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 number!  Go figure!

Flash forward twenty eight years...
Years after being divorced from Mr. tall, dark, and charming, I found my old friend's 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 if he was even still alive. With a list I printed from online somewhere of about 200 possibilities, I was a bit overwhelmed, but saw one email address in that list 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. Despite 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 six months later we were married. Yes, he had been a body-builder-muscle-guy about 20 years prior, and 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!

Jeff 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 ~


Copyright Joanne Kidd



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