Courtesy Nancy Firko

She wasn’t wild about Harry at first, but he kept popping up.

My sister Diane had a date with a fellow, Omelan Mycyk, for high school graduation dance in Chester, Pennsylvania, in 1963, and Omelan brought his best friend, Harry, to be my date. Harry was a gentleman, for sure, but at 6 feet 1 inch, he was too tall for me. I’m barely 5 feet. He was very skinny, which made him look even taller. He was blond, and I liked brown hair.

We went dancing and he was good at it— so good that he was doing splits and stuff like that. It was a bit embarrassing. I was having a good time, but it felt awkward being with such a tall guy. We’d pass by windows and I could see how huge he was compared to me.

Harry asked me out for the next night, but I’d accepted a blind date with a boy named Tony. He was a lot shorter than Harry and had brown hair. To my surprise, Harry showed up at my door the next night anyway, and we all ended up going to the dance together. It was embarrassing, to say the least, but since we were all blind dates, we weren’t invested in each other. At the end of the night, Tony kissed me good night— and so did Harry.

I asked Tony to my graduation party. We went on a few more dates, but that was it. Meanwhile, Harry would knock at my door now and then, and we’d go for a walk or have dinner. Harry didn’t talk much.  wasn’t into Harry.

He showed up one day when I was ice skating. He’d never skated before, but he bought new skates and walked several miles to the lake to skate with my sister and me. Two hours later, he walked home. My father gladly would have driven him home, but as I said, Harry didn’t say much, and he certainly didn’t ask for favors. I always knew, however, how he felt about me.

In the summer, my sister and I were at the shore with family when Harry and his father drove up, towing a boat. We invited them to stay the night, and the next day, they taught us to water-ski. What a blast, though it still was embarrassing because they’d invited themselves. By then, though, Harry was growing on me.

Years passed, and Harry joined the Army and went to Vietnam. We corresponded and got to know each other much better.

Conversation had never been Harry’s strength, but he wrote meaningful letters. By the time he got out of the Army in 1970, it no longer mattered to me how tall he was or that he had blond hair.

We have been happily married now for 47 years. Harry is the best thing that ever happened to me.

 

– Nancy Firko