For always

I graduated from high school in 1966 and, at the end of the summer, started college at Arizona State University. My best friend Cyndi and I had already started hanging around with a group of college kids we had met in our senior year. At the beginning of the school year we attended parties with these friends and that’s where we both met Kim. Cyndi and Kim started dating and I was dating Kim’s best friend Ross. So we were a foursome. And we were hippies; it was, after all, 1966. Ross and I lived together for a while during that year but eventually we went our separate ways. I moved in with Cyndi and he moved in with Kim. Then Cyndi and Kim broke up as the school year was coming to a close. Kim and I found ourselves alone together more and more and had a little flirtation going on – feet accidentally touching, eyes locking, well, you get the idea.

Two of our friends wanted to go to San Francisco. It was the “summer of love” and I had a great old car just perfect for a road trip. We pulled out the back seat, filled the empty space with pillows and set off. Our many adventures will have to wait for another time, suffice it to say we arrived safely.

That was the beginning of our love affair. We spent two wonderful weeks together exploring the city. Then Kim left for Europe and I went home to Scottsdale, to my mother’s house. When he returned he stayed with me until it was time for him to start school again. I wasn’t going back – I had spent that time learning about Scientology, which, unfortunately, was to become increasingly important in both our lives. I did courses at the mission in Phoenix and then went to England for more. When I got back to Arizona Kim and I were together for a short time. I left again to join what is called the Sea Organization, a Scientology group that requires complete lifetime dedication from its members. I was gone a year and a half – that was all I could take. And I was pregnant. And not married. And I didn’t know where Kim was. I hadn’t seen or written to him for about two years and now was wishing I knew how to get in touch with him. I found out that he had gone to Scotland to work for one of the many Scientology organizations. So I wrote him a Christmas card and casually told him about my situation. He dropped everything and came to Arizona to marry me. He didn’t care one bit that I was pregnant with someone else’s baby. He never even asked me about it. He only wanted us to be together – white picket fence, rose bushes, and all that. He was ready to be my baby’s father. Meanwhile, I was going through a rough patch, full of fear and worry, probably connected to hormonal upheavals. I wasn’t very helpful or communicative and eventually my mother persuaded Kim to leave. (I found this out years later – Kim would gladly have stayed and patiently seen me through whatever nasty business was going on.)

So in February 1970 my daughter Allison was born, healthy and beautiful. I took college classes offered on TV (a very new thing then) and I did a little work for the local Scientology mission. Gradually I completely lost contact with the mission and the other Scientology organizations and went about my life raising my daughter, with my mother’s help. I went back to college and was working on getting a degree when friends in California asked me to house sit for them the summer of 1975. I had not spoken to Kim since he left my mother’s house.

I knew that he had returned to work for Scientology in California and I wanted to marry him. I wrote to him and told him I was coming for the summer and that I was now ready to get hitched. He wrote back saying “YEAH!!” Off we went, Allison and I to stay in Claremont for the summer. About a month before Allison and I had to return to Arizona Kim told me he wasn’t ready to leave what he was doing right at the moment (turns out he had joined the Sea Organization). I said we’d have to call it quits right there because it would be much harder at the end of the summer. Sadly, Allison and I went home to Tempe, without Kim.

Seventeen years went by. Kim had married someone and they had two children together. They left the Sea Organization so they could raise their family. They divorced. I had also married. That marriage lasted about 4 years. Allison was in college when I divorced my first husband, sold the house and bought a small condo. I lived there and worked and kept to myself for 3 ½ years, thinking about Kim all the time.

My friends heard about Kim so often that finally one of them said “Put up or shut up.” I knew that Kim was the only one for me and that if he didn’t want to be with me I would be better off knowing it so I could just get on with my life.

But 17 years had gone by. We hadn’t kept in touch at all, nothing, no letters, no phone calls. How was I supposed to find him? He could have been anywhere. That was the summer that Sleepless in Seattle came out. As I watched it I knew what I had to do. I simply had to find him. I started with L.A. area phone books, looking up Scientology organization numbers. I didn’t call any of them, not in the beginning. I also wrote down a few numbers for Hawkins, still not making any calls. I was terrified. What if he said “Cathy who?” or “Oh please, not again.” Or “It’s great to hear from you, I know you’ll just love my wife and kids, can’t wait for you to meet them.”

Then I saw a movie that had been out a while but I’d never seen: Home Alone. There’s a scene where the little boy is in a church on Christmas Eve, talking to his neighbor. The man said he came to watch his granddaughter in the Christmas pageant on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas day because his son was angry with him and he wanted to avoid a confrontation. The man said he wanted to make up with his son but was scared of what his son would say. The little boy said, “What have you got to lose? He might still be mad at you but he might be glad you talked to him.” Well, that did it.

I started making calls from the phone numbers I had collected. I ran into several dead ends. But one day I called the place where I thought Kim had last worked. I asked for him and was transferred to the woman who had taken his job. I asked her if she knew his address and would she forward a letter if I sent it to her. She said yes to both.

It took another bout of nerves to write the letter and I tried very hard to sound nonchalant. I mailed it and waited to see what would happen.

What happened was that Kim got my letter, went through his own ordeal over what to do, decided to call me (my number was in the letter, of course) and we were married a month later.

After trying for 26 years to have a life together, we finally made it happen on October 3, 1993. We’ve been blissfully married for 14 years (okay, maybe not blissfully the entire time, but certainly now we are sure that this is exactly right). Our rings are engraved with Pour Toujours, for always.

This is the short version. There are innumerable side stories. Another day perhaps.

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