Thursday, December 3, 2009

It Was 20 Years Ago Today

When I was 17 years old, I fell madly in love with an older man. I was just beginning my sophomore year of college. My roommate, Jen, and I were moving in a day later than most everyone else to avoid the craziness. As a result, there wasn’t anyone around to welcome us and we just quietly unloaded into our tiny room.

During this process, I ran into my friend, Jeremy, who was living in the same hall. As we idly chatted in the lobby of the building, a young man came flying into the hall at a driving pace. He was drop-dead gorgeous: huge, dark eyes, dark eyebrows, olive skin, a strong nose, an adorable little mouth. He had thick, dark hair cut spiky on top and a little longer in back (it was 1989, people!). He was dressed in a white t-shirt and well-fitting acid-wash jeans which accentuated his… um… assets.

He didn’t stop to acknowledge me—he may have said “hi” to Jeremy but I don’t remember. In any case, he was past in a flash and I was left wide-eyed and dumbfounded in the lobby.

“Who was that?” I managed to ask Jeremy.

“Oh, that’s Dan Moir. He’s the Head Resident.”

In my mind I said, “That guys is TOO young and TOO good-looking to be my head resident.”

Utterly smitten and childishly idealistic, I set out to make myself known. I was elected Hall Council Secretary which put me in a position to work with him. I found out that Jeremy knew Dan well—Dan had been his Junior Counselor two years prior and had just graduated from the college. Through Jeremy, I met a whole bunch of people who knew Dan and through those people, I got to know him, too.

I also learned, through those people, that Dan was much sought-after by a LOT of women, but remained stubbornly single. I figured he would never really be interested in me as more than a friend so I had nothing to lose in developing the friendship.

As it turned out, we had a lot in common. Some things almost scarily. For instance, in late elementary school, Dan lived in Columbus, Ohio. “Oh,” I said, “My whole family is from Columbus. Where did you live?” Dan lived in Upper Arlington. “Really?” I said, “My whole family is from Upper Arlington.” Dan went to Tremont Elementary School. “Really!” I said, “My dad went to Tremont Elementary School.” Dan lived on Westmont Boulevard. “Um.” I said. “I think my dad lived on Westmont Boulevard.” I later confirmed this and found out that Dan’s family had lived two doors down from the house my grandparents lived in when my dad was born. Moreover, Dan rode his bicycle in the 1976 Columbus Fourth of July Parade—which event my family has on home movie. We still haven’t found the movie, but whether or not it’s on tape, an eight-year-old Dan Moir rode his bicycle right past a four-year-old Rebekah Fergus. What are the odds?

Our friendship grew. By the end of October, it was clear that it was becoming something more. But I was still only 17 and Dan was 22. And then there was the whole “staff-student dating is strictly forbidden” thing we were pretending wasn’t looming.

On November 3rd, I turned 18 and Dan, our friend Rich and I were going to go see a movie. At the last minute, Rich had to back out (which, we now know, was a total match-making ploy—thanks, Rich ☺). It wasn’t a ‘date’ since we weren’t allowed to be ‘dating,’ but I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out one on one with this guy.

It was about 3 a.m. on December 3rd—20 years ago today—after watching our usual late-night TV and laughing at the ridiculous commercials that aired when no one was watching, that we had the conversation that would change things forever. In spite of the staff-student dating ban, in spite of the age difference, in spite of the fact that I honestly could NOT figure out how it was possible that this amazing person preferred my company to that of MANY other interested women, we made the distinct decision to be “a couple.”

And we lived happily ever after? Well, life isn’t a fairy tale, of course. But life's ups and downs are just par for the course. And there's no one else I'd rather be on this roller coaster with than Dan Moir. I am so grateful that 20 years later, I still get to hang out every day with my best friend. Happy Anniversary, Dan!


  1. Bekah-

    This was one of the sweetest things I have ever read. Wow. After 20 years, you are still, and will always be, my best friend. I love you very much.

    "She thinks she can do that to me and I won't tell? Well, I'm telling.." (one of the best late night commercial lines ever!)



  2. Aw, SO cute! But, I have a question: How the heck were you a sophmore in COLLEGE at just 17 years old??