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Dedicated to my husband, Gil Sax
Submitted by Lois
In 1968 I enrolled at the University of Hawaii to reinstate my teaching certificate and discovered I couldn't avoid the class I considered my nemesis: Educational Tests and Measurements. One afternoon I took my books to Queen's Surf Beach near Waikiki. Being relaxed would help me study. I opened the book to the page: "What Math You Need to Succeed in This Class."
"Are you taking Ed. Psych. 416?" I looked up. A good looking, slim man wearing dark glasses sat on his heels beside me.
"No, it's Ed. Psych. 580."
He looked surprised, and pointed at my book. "Well, it must be 416 because that's the only class using that lab manual. I wrote it when I was teaching here at the University."
"Oh! Guess I mixed up the numbers," I mumbled. I didn't even have the number of the class right!
"Who's your instructor?" This time I had the right answer, so we began talking about school, teaching, and Hawaii. Gil had a direct, wry sense of humor, unlike the distant, stuffy professors I remembered. Now teaching at the University of Washington, he'd returned to teach summer school on the Monoa campus.
We had a drink at the Barefoot Bar, right next to the beach. A former graduate student of his, a lithe, articulate blonde came with us. She caressed her cheek with her drink. She oozed seductiveness. How could I compete with that?
But he didn't seem to notice, and later I told the neighbor who had offered to help me with math, "Guess what! I met the man who wrote the book!"
Our first dinner was at the Kaimana Hotel, where tropical flowers, island music, and the dusky smell of the beach cast their spell. Afterward Gil spotted a beer can pull-tab in the sand and held it up. He slipped it on my left finger and said, "Where have you been all my life?"
"I've been right here." We laughed. It sounded like a line, but I knew it wasn't. Was this Hawaiian magic a premonition?
A few nights later we went to a Chinese restaurant in Kaimuki. After dinner we opened our fortune cookies. Mine said "What's a career compared to marriage?"
Gil looked at his "Many daughters will brighten your home." He had three daughters and I had two. Three plus two equals five: that qualified as many!
A curious thing happened to me that summer. Without realizing, I started saying good-bye to the rainbows arcing the valleys, to the clouds blanketing the Koolau Mountains, and to the "liquid sunshine" blown out of misty valleys. Without ever formally talking about marriage, we both knew it would happen. Our meeting and first couple of dates had been too perfect to be pure chance. We were married in Seattle that September and neither of us has ever regretted it. The Queen's Surf, the Barefoot Bar, Sterling Mossman, and The Kaimana still exist in our memories as they were 31 years ago.