Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Love Story Chapter 3: Valentine's Day, 1969

Water color by Micah Halverson

It was barely light when I peeked outside that morning. The aroma of fresh bread and hot chocolate warmed my chilly room and I followed it downstairs for Früstuck. Salzburg breakfasts are worth getting up for. Baskets of crusty Semmeln (rolls) chewy and soft, frosted with unsalted butter and raspberry jam; white teapots filled with cocoa—sleepy students perked up, and the dining room awakened to quiet chatter.

Früstuck in Salzburg

Valentine's Day, 1969, started as usual. After breakfast I skipped upstairs to get ready for class, and there on my table was a little bouquet of daffodils. A blue piece of airmail stationery was folded and propped up with a note that said Zu die Marty für Valentine's. I remembered my solicitation for flowers and knew Dee was the delivery boy.

My roommates came in and the news traveled quickly around the hotel. I was a celebrity . . . a very minor celebrity, but we didn't have any others that day, so it was exciting.

Dee met me on the stairs, and I asked quietly, "Was it you?" He nodded, I gushed and blushed and we walked to class. At lunchtime there was an incident. A guy in our group, (who wore bright turquoise levis, by the way) was offended that someone had singled me out. He said we should be careful not to pair off; we should just be a big, happy family during our semester abroad. He didn't want anyone to feel left out, so he had a big bouquet of flowers with a card that said, "To all the girls, from all the boys." There may have been a few who were touched by this gesture, but I privately thought it was lame. Besides, I liked being singled out.

That night at dinner I looked around anxiously, having planned all day how I would casually sit down by Dee and flirt a little. He didn't come. Maybe he was embarrassed by all the notoriety.

Dom, Salzburg

The next day was Saturday and I went with my friends to tour Salzburg. We walked up Getreidegässe and bought gloves, scarves and hats, took pictures of the horse baths, and looked inside a few churches. I was distracted—shivery, weary and queasy. I hadn't received any mail from home yet, and suddenly six months seemed like forever. The novelty was past, washing my clothes in the basin was a pain, my bed was lumpy and I wanted my mom. Homesickness was new to me and it was awful. My heart started racing, I felt dizzy and like I was going to throw up.

Looking back, I think I had a panic attack. Realizing that I couldn't call, or get in touch with anyone I loved, thinking that someone could die while I was gone . . . all the emotions of being far from home for the first time overwhelmed me. Plus, I figured I'd blown the whole daffodil surprise completely out of proportion. Obviously Dee wasn't even going to talk to me again. It was a pretty miserable day.


Dee was having his own miserable day. Anxious to go skiing in the Austrian alps (but unable to afford it) he'd put together a ski trip for 25 of our students, arranged for ski rentals, buses, and lift passes, all so he could get a discount on his own. He acted as the translator while all the girls got their boots fitted (the clerk couldn't get over how big the American girl's feet were!) and finally they left for Kleinarl.

After they got to the ski area, Dee made sure everyone could get along OK, and then took his first ride up the lift. At the top he saw our buddy (the turquoise levi boy) laying in the snow, bleeding profusely. Getting off the ski lift, he'd stabbed himself in the leg with his ski pole.

Dee got the ski patrol and then stayed to translate, skiing down with the stretcher. He ended up riding in the ambulance back to Salzburg. It was his only experience on mountain curves at high speeds—his ski day was over.

The next afternoon, I was studying when Dee knocked on my door. He suggested walking down the hall to a little office. When we got there, he said he'd been anxious to apologize to me. He was afraid the daffodils had offended me! I quickly assured him that I was thrilled to get them, and we started talking. I told him about being homesick, and how I missed my family, and all about them. I thought later what a great conversationalist he was . . . he just listened and let me talk about myself for two hours! How cool can a guy be?

There was a poem on a calendar on the wall, and I asked Dee to translate it.

It means:

"You are mine, I am thine. This must you always remember. You are locked inside my heart, and the tiny key is lost. You must stay inside forever."

Our hearts were opening to each other. We were getting ready to invite each other in, and we were completely unaware of what that would mean . . . forever.

Immer noch.


Christie said...

This is such a sweet, romantic story. I love getting all these bits and pieces of it. So fun to picture young Dee and Marty in Salzburg...we just love you guys!

kelly said...

I love these stories! Because of them I am getting to know a different side of both you and Dee. I'm so excited to hear what happens next! Thanks for letting us re-live your memories with you.

Anonymous said...

I never get tired of this story. I love knowing Dad is a hopeless romantic. Your story of how you met tops anyone. It needs to be made into a movie. Too bad Audrey Hepburn isn't around to play Marty. She'd be perfect.


Moon said...

Great story! I love reading this and the pics are so fun to see also, thanks so much for sharing!