The Cat Liked Me First

by Diana Bennett Wirtz • Member { View Profile }
Life on the beach

The cat liked me first. He kept sitting closer and closer to me as I talked to my future husband, eventually stretching out, yawning and going to sleep across my briefcase.  Studying interior design in Los Angeles, I worked full time afternoons and evenings selling window coverings for a well-known department store.  The receptionist thought I should be married, so any and all single men that called were scheduled for appointments with me.  

Fred was my first appointment on a sunny Saturday morning. He answered his door with a huge smile and welcomed me in to his beach front home. I sold him brown mini-blinds with no samples.  I stopped by later over the weekend with the sample color; which he immediately loved, and my dog, which he did not immediately love.  But I guess I would not have been impressed if someone’s dog immediately peed on my pant leg, as I came into my house.  He laughed and thought it was funny, so I knew he was a great guy!

About week later, my receptionist gave me my messages and there was one from Fred.  The year was 1974, so cell phones were not yet invented.  I just thought he was calling to check on his order, and being  a poor college student was surprised and delighted that a successful attorney would ask me out to dinner.  I had been a college cheerleader, a sorority girl and was a straight A student, but he didn’t know any of that, he just thought I was beautiful, as he told me when we went out.  He picked me up his gold Porsche 911.  I laugh about it now, as we were both dressed in polyester.  He wore a denim leisure suit and a bright blue polyester shirt embellished with yellow butterflies; and I had on a halter dress with cut-in shoulders in yellow.  We went to a very upscale restaurant in West LA, and talked and laughed till the restaurant closed.  I called my mother the next day and told her I met the man I was going to marry.  She laughed, but knew I something special had happened.   

The next night we went out again, and he brought me a beautiful gold necklace.  He was always bringing me surprises. We went out every night the next week.  My grades were starting to suffer, so Fred asked me if I would move in with him, so I could do my homework.  After that first week, I hardly ever went back to the house I shared with a friend, so I thought why not.  Young and impetuous without a worry in the world, I packed up and moved to Manhattan Beach.  The first weekend after I moved in, one week after our first date, we went for sushi at Oh So Sushi in West LA and after several glasses of Saki we decided to get married.  We were both ecstatic.  To this day neither one of us remembered who asked who to get married, but didn’t care. None of my friends could believe how happy we were, and one of them even took my dog.

My whole life changed in the next year.  I gave up selling window coverings and went to school full-time finishing my MA in interior design.  I watched and learned how to dress, how to shop and how to entertain.  We both grew a lot in that first year.  The first time Fred cooked dinner for me, as I did not know how to cook at the time, he made Spam and vegetables. I had never had Spam before and have not had it since. The first time I cooked I made stuffed sole with red wine.  I didn’t have any white wine and didn’t think it would make a difference.  Three attorneys from a very prestigious law firm and their wives ate pink fish and never said a word.  I decided cooking lessons might be in my future.

Our wedding was on a friend’s lawn in Del Mar, and would have been perfect if Fred’s mom had not gotten lost on the way there.  We waited for her, as she was wonderful and would have been upset. My own grandfather had too much champagne, as he had diabetes and ended up in the hospital.  Other than that it was outside on a day that rained in the morning and the sun came out just in time for our perfect wedding.  We drove away in Fred’s Porsche filled with balloons and cans attached to the bumper.  Friends followed us down the highway.

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