The Greatest True Story I Ever Told
My mom and I lived in New York. It was just the two of us. She had me through the crazy scientific process of artificial insemenation. And we lived happily; I didn't know it was unusual to just have one parent, it's what I'd always been used to.
In February of 1999, we took a trip to Arizona to visit some family. We went for a week, stayed with my grandma, pretty standard.
The one souvenir my mom wanted was a pair of cowboy boots.
Only problem is that she's four foot ten and a half and has tiny tiny feet. So because of experience shopping for shoes, she called through the boot stores and asked if they had boots in her size.
After a half dozen unsuccessful phone calls, she found a local boot shop in the Yellow Pages-- the employee on the other end of the phone said he had boots in all sizes, and she should come try some on. So my mom, my grandma, and I (I'm 5 at this time) go to this store. Everything from the cow skull above the front door to the cowboy hats lining the walls, the ostrich, alligator, rattlesnake boots.... It screamed the stereotype a young boy from New York had of the wild, wild west.
My mom looks around and decides on a little pair. She buys them. The minute we're out the door, my grandma (old, Jewish grandma) finally says what she'd wanted to say for a while:
"Laura! when are you going to get married? You need a husband; Josh needs a father! you're not getting any younger."
My mom thinks it's ridiculous. She has a PhD, a good job, a great son... She doesn't think she needs a husband. But she wants to show up my grandma. So she says, "Mom I'm not in a relationship because I don't want to be in a relationship. I could date any man I want to. You know what? I could even... I could date the boot seller from that store!"
My grandma: "Oh really?"
So we get back to my grandma's house, and my mom gets the phone number for the boot store from the receipt. She calls up, and the man from before answers. "You might remember me from earlier this afternoon? I bought some boots with my mom and my son etc etc." He remembers her. She asks, "Well I'm visiting town and I was wondering if you might be able to show me around town, show me the nightlife of Tucson."
After a moment, he replies, stuttering, "I'm afraid my wife passed away a few years ago and she was sick for a very long time, and I don't know if I'd be qualified to show you the nightlife of Tucson."
"But I could try my best."
And that's that. They have a date. They go to some club and after their date, exchange addresses. My mom and I go back to New York.
It's a non-event in my life, my mom goes on a date? I probably don't know what that means as a 5 year old. But something for her clicks. They write letters. They start talking on the phone. He comes to visit us in New York. She goes to visit him in Arizona.
7 months later, we moved in with him. Two years after that, they got married. And that week, he legally adopted me and became my dad. My mom wanted some new shoes, and she ended up with a husband.