Monday, 27 September 2010

Introducing my darling Mr PB: a love story Part 1

Hello, lovelies (and a special hi to those who have just joined us on Planet Baby), now that you’ve met Sam, India and Joshua, it’s about time I introduced you to my darling husband, Mr PB. Want to hear how we met? I thought you might! Well, settle in, pull up your chair, go get a cuppa if you’d like, and let’s go. We both commenced studying at the University of Tasmania back in January 1990. Different degrees, different faculties. But Hobart being the small place it is, I started my Arts degree with his twin sister. So I knew vaguely about him.
The striking new logo
He started going out with an old friend of mine but I didn’t meet him until one cold winter night in August 1990. I had invited the two of them to my 20th birthday party at a Greek restaurant (the old Aegean for those Hobart locals). They appeared, I kissed my friend and greeted her. I then turned to Mr PB and was struck dumb. To my utter surprise (and extreme embarrassment), I then found myself thrusting out my hand to shake his and (cringe!) announcing my surname! Yes, my surname! Oh, I nearly died. I immediately blushed bright scarlet. Why had I done that? Well, I had just spent a year living in Germany and that’s how Germans introduce themselves to strangers! Why, oh, why, had I done that, of all things? The embarrassment! So un-Australian and so very formal. To his great credit, he calmly shook my hand and kissed me on the cheek just as I was able to stammer out my first name! He smiled. I looked into his eyes. That was it. Love at first sight.

Yes. It really was. Kaboom! My heart was racing. My palms were clammy. I was smitten. The whole Cupid's arrow thing. It really does happen.

But he was going out with my friend, so that was the end of it. I wasn’t going to interfere (I found out later that he had felt the same thing but didn’t know what to do about it). The party proceeded as planned. I didn’t tell a soul. They were a very tight couple for a few years. I, meanwhile, was single all the way through. Not in the ‘pining-for-Mr-PB’ style, just in the ‘not-able-to-find-anyone’ style. I had a large circle of friends, most of whom were partnered, and the two of them were often present. Mr PB and I became firm but platonic friends.

And then in the summer of 1993, they broke up, quite abruptly, taking people by surprise. I had spent Christmas 1992 in Germany with my host family from my exchange year in 1989 (which I mentioned here) and when I returned just before uni started in January 1993, had no idea what had happened. I found out a couple of weeks later, once uni started. It was all a bit awkward as his ex was studying with me and we had lots of mutual friends. You know what that’s like, when friends have to decide how they’re going to handle their relationships with each of the former couple. Mr PB stayed away from the Law School for a while and busied himself in his studies on another part of the campus.

Anyway, fast forward to 7 April 1993 and we were celebrating the start of the Easter holidays at the Law School with a ‘barrel’ (I think that used to refer to the barrel of beer which would be consumed by the thirsty students but now, in these days of canned beer, the old term had stuck to describe a regular faculty gathering over alcoholic drinks). I was there with my sister and some friends. Mr PB appeared with a mutual male friend. I told Mr PB I still considered him my friend despite their breakup. He was really touched. What occurred over the ensuing few hours will remain forever shrouded in mystery. However, put it this way, by the end of the evening, we were together. An item. A couple. I couldn’t believe my luck. Neither could he.

Pure happiness
And then the next day, he flew interstate for Easter. It was all like a dream. Had it really happened? I wasn’t sure what was going on. Then he returned a few days later and we took my dog, Robbie, for a very long walk. And talked. And talked. And talked. If only Robbie could speak, he would have had a pretty tale to tell! By the end of the walk, any concerns either of us had harboured were gone. It was real. We were together.

News travelled pretty quickly in little Hobart Town. Our friends were delighted. His ex and I coped with the change in our circumstances. I was euphoric. My family was fascinated. You see, I’d never had a serious boyfriend before that. There had been crushes and friendships which petered out but that was it. Nada. And now, it was the real deal. Within a few months, we were dreamily writing down a list of children’s names. Many months passed. We were inseparable. Then in September 1994, Mr PB applied for a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to study in the UK for a year for a Masters degree. I encouraged him, thinking it would be a fabulous opportunity. He won it. He was ecstatic. I was delighted for him. Then the reality dawned. We would be apart. For a whole year. I wept. Privately.

The planning and packing commenced apace. Soon, all too soon, we were sharing our last meal together. We wept inconsolably in the taxi home, holding hands. The next morning, I drove him to the airport and waved away the love of my life. I attended a Law School cocktail party that night where our friends consoled me. How would I cope? Don’t forget that then, the internet was in its infancy (it’s quite unbelievable now, isn’t it?). No one had a mobile phone. So no SMS. No quick calls on the move - you had to sit down at a telephone plugged into the wall. Overseas telephone calls were expensive – about $20 an hour. People used to write letters with stamps, the old-fashioned way. And then wait a week for them to arrive at their destination. And then a week or two for a reply. It sounds positively quaint now! We helped keep Australia Post in business.

I busied myself in the final tiring and stressful months of completing my law degree. I spent countless hours at the computer laboratory (we didn’t have a PC at home as they were so rare and expensive) around midnight, sitting there tapping out e-mails to Mr PB on a good old Macintosh Classic – remember them?! And to think it was state of the art back then!

We would arrange it with the time difference so that he would be there e-mailing me that morning his time and we would attempt to have a ‘real-time’ e-mail conversation. Unfortunately, the web being in its infancy (we had the WebCrawler search engine - imagine a world without Google!), the satellite connections were patchy and often dropped out. That meant e-mails didn’t appear in response and I suspected he had slept in while at the same time, he thought I hadn’t bothered to turn up. Only the next day when the e-mails finally flooded in did we realise what had happened! I do wish I could print out those e-mails now – they’re on an old disk which I’m sure is quite incompatible with any retrieval method. Sigh.

We wrote to each other every week, without fail. They were letters of longing, of yearning and of missing. I treasure those handwritten missives I received from him, now safely bundled up together. My letters to him are somewhere, probably in the shed – we should reunite them and read them together for a giggle! I worked my part-time jobs and saved prodigiously. The result? Let's just say it involved a breathless reunion at Heathrow Airport in December 1994. And that, my friends, is the next instalment!

* Rewound at Weekend Rewind at Life in a Pink Fibro on 26 February 2011.


  1. Oh, how I love a good love story... I had a long distance love story for a short while (when the hubby went back to the States)... I love the formal addressing... made me chuckle! Thanks for your lovely comments the other day... I love your style of writing! I love it when people have a good story to tell and can tell it well! Lx

  2. Oh, and I can't wait for the next installment!

  3. Hi Laura Thanks so much for stopping by and joining up on PB! I'm glad you're enjoying it. I am thrilled to have found yours as well. Oh, and I won't leave you hanging long - with any luck, I'll finish it tonight! I'll see if I can find some old photos in the shed to add as well. J x

  4. Aww how sweet ,i always love to know how people meet and get together.i'm a true believer in LOVE at first Sight *Sigh* have a lovely day Jane XX

  5. Thanks, Mirela! I would never have believed it until it happened to me ☺ J x

  6. Aww Jane, what a beautiful love story so far! I cannot wait to read more:) Yes, it really does happen (Cupid's arrow...the same for me and my hubby!). Looking forward to the next instalment!! Hugs ~ Tina xx

  7. So sweet Jane, so love at first sight hey? It does exist :)

  8. Why, thanks, ladies! It's a bit of an epic...And Tina - you're the only other person I know to have had that happen ☺. Time to get some dinner organised! J x

  9. Sounds like a perfect romance to me - you are both very lucky!
    I remember the mac classic's at uni ( I went to art school and then main campus for Dip Ed in 1990-93) and weren't times different.

  10. Can't wait to hear the rest! And I know that restaurant in Hobart!!!

  11. Yes, Sarah, it felt really alien writing about that time which wasn't that long ago. But what a world removed!

    That's funny, Emma. It closed years ago but it was such an institution in its heyday. Many a plate was smashed and Zorba the Greek danced there in our uni years! J x

  12. Oh what a gorgeous time to find your blog!! I met my husband & fell instantly in love, as a teenager at Uni, but 16 years & 4 children later, i know it was the real deal!! I just got him back after a 9 month deployment in Afghanistan, yahoo. So distance has never worried us, even in the early years, you fall in love with a soldier, you have to learn how to communicate well. It's so refreshing to read a blog so happily talking about love & marriage. Congratulations!! Our children are growing fast & realising that they have 2 parents very happly in love & they think it's great (eldest about to start high school so i'm sure she'll be horrified soon enough). Love Posie

  13. That's a great tale, well told. Actually takes me back to my uni days and my first love - it didn't survive to graduation but I did pretty well in the end! How lucky you and Mr PB are to have a years worth of passionate love letters - you should definitely get them together!

  14. I feel like a bit player - "I was there - I was there!!!"

    Well not quite but close by. Now I'm dying to know who the ex was and which cocktail party and was I next to you tapping out essays on those tragic old macs we had.

    Go on write some more. A x

  15. Hi Posie Thanks for visiting PB and signing up to follow life on this crazy planet! Then again, it sounds like you're already acquainted with it - four children is most impressive ☺. And wow, being an army wife to boot. I look forward to peeking at your blog - I've just signed up, too.

    Thanks, Sarah. Mr PB and I have just been up in the shed by torchlight, retrieving said love letters and old print photos. Have just photographed some (all pre-digital) so all will be revealed shortly!

    And, Ann, you crack me up. Yes, you were there - I have just discovered some photographic proof. You helped me finish that law degree by keeping me occupied with the Careers Journal and TULS in my spare time! Ooh, just thinking about that crowded computer lab gives me the creeps. It's getting a bit late now to start - next instalment tomorrow morning...J x

  16. Fabulous. You are a great story teller. I enjoyed reading your tale and will come back for the next instalment. Young love is so fabulous :O)

  17. A lovely story. Interesting to relive the UTas computer labs (I was there a couple of years later!)

  18. What a great story! Hubby and I were apart for 18 months (he was living in WA) before we got married. It's a wonder at my young age that we lasted...but fate is fate - so it was meant to be :-)

  19. Oooh, I'm glad this is a rewind post, and now I know I can go straight away searching for the next installment ;)
    We had cupid with us too.. it really is real huh?! Kaboom!

  20. Love it! Can't wait to find out what happened next...

    Thanks for Rewinding at the Fibro - and for taking the time to comment on so many posts!

  21. Thanks, ladies. It was fun to walk down memory lane again. J x


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, you gorgeous soul. You've just made my day! J x

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