Lola met her forever husband on the first day of college at the University of Iowa. She had signed up for a speech and composition class with an emphasis on women’s studies. When she got to the classroom, there was a note on the door that the class had been moved to another building.
A guy in a paisley button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up appeared next to her and also read the notice. Lola spoke first, and the two of them talked as they walked to the new location. They sat down in two vacant desks in the back.
Every time the class met, Lola and Ricardo sat side by side. Two weeks in, he asked her out for a drink with the stipulation that they go Dutch Treat.
They met at the student union. Lola ordered her own beer and chatted with Ricardo, who couldn’t afford to buy himself anything to drink. He told her he’d been in the military and had also worked construction.
Their second date was to the Bijou, the campus movie theater. Once again, the date was for each to pay his or her own way. He asked if he could kiss her. She said no, thinking that she just wanted to be friends.
At first she’d wanted to be friends so that she could go to wild freshman parties and date lots of freshman guys. They lived on opposite sides of campus but met for meals in the various dining halls.
On the next date she let him kiss her.
Not much into sports, Lola offered him her season pass to the football games that her dad had bought for her.
By the end of the semester, Ricardo would spring for a drink now and then. At their date at the Moody Blue bar on a cold winter night, he bought her a whiskey sour and even had enough money to buy himself one.
By mid-winter, they were seeing each other regularly. One Sunday during a snow storm, Ricardo walked from his dorm across campus to Lola’s dorm just to spend time with her.
By the end of freshman year, Ricardo knew Lola was the one.
“I’m going to marry you someday,” he said.
The first time Ricardo visited Lola in the summer at her childhood home, Lola’s old boyfriend stopped by to see her. Ricardo was not happy. He left in a huff.
The next time he visited her in Des Moines, Lola’s dad said to him, “I guess I’ll be seeing a lot of you.”
Lola’s dad died way too young, in 1987. By then Lola and Ricardo had been married for eight years. Today they’ve been married for 41 years, after their three-year courtship.
Ricardo had been in the service in Monterey, CA. They moved to California, and now they are evacuees from a raging wildfire.
“If we have to rebuild, we will,” Ricardo says.
I like Ricardo. He’s my brother-in-law, and between news of the fire, he and Lola told me their forever-together story.
Couldda Wouldda Didda
Lola signed up for the wrong class. It was speech and composition with an emphasis on international studies, not women’s studies. That mistake led her to the love of her life.
It has been 46 years.