”Yes, it was love at first sight. I feel that after all these years, I have finally found my soul mate.” –Barbara Hershey
Jones Beach, NY, Saturday, August 29, 1981
It was a “love at first sight” encounter between Steve and myself that evolved into an everlasting love story. We were both so smitten with each other, that Steve wrote a short story about how we met and fell in love and I followed suit. Steve called it For Your Eyes Only, after a movie that came out that year.
I recently found the handwritten story Steve had given to me in December of 1981. Also, with that treasured gift, I found my version of our meeting that I had written for Steve. Below is what Steve had written in its entirety and excerpts from my version of that week follow.
Through Steve’s Eyes and in his Words:
Jones Beach, NY, Zach’s Bay 1:00pm
Once upon a time a young man named Steve was on a run with two of his friends. They usually ran only four miles, but today, they had decided to go six miles which would take them through Zach’s Bay. Steve had been running all summer and the runs were always predictable. The scenery, the pain, the sweat; it was all very predictable. But today was different. Today, Steve was to fall in love with a beautiful girl named Jean.
As they ran past the bay, Steve quickly noticed three roller skaters, but after having run four miles already, he was too wrapped up in the pain to really notice how attractive Jean was. As though Jean knew it was important, she started oohing and ahhing to get his attention. And she did, because Steve looked over his shoulder and gave her the sexiest half smile ever. The runners motioned for the girls to follow and after Jean tripped, the roller skaters started following the runners through the parking lot at Zach’s Bay. The girls had on Sony Walkman’s and as they skated, they let the runners listen to them.
Steve had been running about ten yards behind Jean and was fixated on her lovely legs and purple Dolphin shorts. It was very strange because even without being introduced there was a twilight zone attraction between Jean and Steve. Just as Steve was yearning to talk with Jean, she slowly looked around and her eyes looked right into his with a feeling that almost knocked him out. Before he knew it, Steve was at the end of the lot and it was the point where the roller skaters had to part. He wanted to ask her out right there but it was all happening so fast that the best he could do was help his friends invite them to a lifeguard party that night. Steve felt really awkward, almost like a little kid, because he looked right at Jean and said “you will come tonight won’t you?” He was extremely pleased when she answered “definitely”. As they parted he kept gazing back to watch Jean skating off in the distance.
The rest of the day was a fairly restless one for Steve. He kept thinking of Jean, hoping she would come even though he was very nervous at the thought of conversing with her.
Jones Beach, NY Field 1, 5:15 PM
Steve was sitting on the main stand and kind of depressed because the weather has turned sour and he thought the girls would figure the barbecue was off. He was lazily gazing out at the ocean when the phone rang. It was Greg, one of the other runners. He was hysterical and was yelling that the girls came down and while he took a shower some of our buddies just let them take off. Steve looked back up the beach and saw them skating on the boardwalk headed towards Field 2. When Steve told Greg where they were, Greg told him to run up the beach immediately. Steve jumped off the stand and made it up the beach in record time. As he got to the lifeguard shack, Eddie (the third runner) told Steve to get in Greg’s car.
Steve then saw Greg revving up his Datsun and with the passenger door open. Steve only got one cheek on the seat when Greg already had the car screeching out of the lot. They pulled into Field 2 and Greg skidded to a stop on the boardwalk. They both popped out of the car and waited for the girls to skate up. Steve just sat on the railing and try not to look too excited about seeing Jean again.
When they went back to Field 1, Jean and Steve talked some more and then Jean asked Steve if he wanted to take a drive to the airport to pick up a friend. The two of them were a sight to behold. It seemed as though they had been both struck by Cupid. The only thought that kept rolling around in Steve’s head was that there was something special about this girl, really special.
The ride to JFK was an awkward and exciting one for both Jean and Steve. The conversation was very stimulating, especially when Steve told Jean he thought she graduated in 1975 and her eyes started to glow (only the first of many times Steve has made her eyes glow). By the time they got to the airport, they already felt like they knew each other really well.
After picking up Jean’s friend Vanessa, they went to Aspen’s for a burger and probably the corner table there will never be the same. Afterwards, Steve walked Jean and Vanessa to their car and he was nervous about seeing her again. He felt as though she wanted a good night kiss as badly as he did, so he leaned into the car and practically broke both their noses in the attempt. They finally parted after some more great conversation (mostly giggling), with Jean asking Steve if he would call her in the morning.
Sunday, August 30, 1981, 4:00 PM
Steve had been debating all day if it were wise to follow up on this girl because he knew there were problems ahead. He thought that after one date with Jean, they might definitely fall in love. Finally, he realized fate had brought them together and he didn’t want to pass up the chance to finally meeting a truly wonderful person.
As the phone rang about ten times, Steve was almost ready to hang up but then heard a loud clunk and a bang and a giggly hello. He realized Jean had tripped while running to answer the phone. All of his reservations vanished when Steve heard how excited she was to hear from him. Jean invited him to go skating that night and although he wasn’t into skating, he said yes.
After work, Steve drove to Jean’s house and she met him about half a mile before he got there. He remembered how pretty she was and that day she had on white Dolphin shorts. They went skating and had many laughs, both trying not to let the other know how attracted they felt to each other. The attraction was stronger than anything they had ever felt.
After skating and watching a gorgeous sunset they went back to Jean’s place and Jean made them fresh orange juice. It’s funny how some things that later would bother Steve, meant nothing to him then because he really wanted to know Jean before getting bent out of shape about peripheral trash even on this first date. They both realized they were falling in love.
With a show of great will power they ended the date with a kiss. Jean walked Steve to his TR6. The date had gone well and on the ride home with the hot summer breeze in his hair, Steve thought to himself that this was only the first date of a long and lasting relationship with Jean. With that thought in his head he cruised west on the Southern State Parkway with a big smile on his face in wild anticipation for the future.
Through Jean’s Eyes and in her Words:
Jones Beach, NY, Zach’s Bay, 12:30pm and beyond
It was a typical hazy Saturday afternoon in August as my friends and I laced up our skates at Cedar Creek Park. Little did I know that today, something was going to happen that would profoundly affect my life.
The skate on the path was quiet and uneventful. We decided to go to Zach’s Bay and get a drink before we turned and headed back to the park. As we sat and talked about how depressing it was that the summer was coming to an end, I looked to my right and saw a sight to behold! Three unbelievably good-looking men with outrageously built bodies were running through the bay. The guy in the middle was to die from!! I had always said I was going to meet the man of my dreams on the Jones Beach bike path and as the sexiest half smile I’ve ever seen lit up the face of the runner in the Bill Rodgers shorts, I knew he was the one.
Then something came over me that even to this day I can’t explain why. I started catcalling and skated after those heavenly bodies with my eyes glued to the runner in the middle. As the guys rounded the corner to the parking lot, I figured I’d head them off at the pass. There, as I was trying to impress them with my infinite gracefulness on skates, I ended up landing on my ass.
I quickly picked myself up and resumed the chase. My friend Lynn ended up skating alongside Greg and I was letting Eddie listen to my Sony Walkman as he ran. But where was the man of my dreams?? Almost as if he read my mind, Steve came up alongside me and asked if he could listen to my tunes.
Eddie, Greg and Steve were lifeguards at Field 1 and they invited us to a beach party at 5 o’clock that afternoon. As we parted to go our separate ways, Steve turned around and said to me; “make sure you come back”. I smiled and said we will be there and thought to myself that I wasn’t going to miss this for the world.
As the day progressed the weather worsened and while I paced back-and-forth in my living room, I asked Lynn if she thought they would have a party even if it rains. She said “sure, we will go anyway, what do we have to lose?” The thought also occurred to me that maybe these guys are just playing games and there was no beach party.
Five o’clock rolled around and Lynn and I drove to the beach. When we got to Field 1, Greg was there but he looked surprised to see us. He talked to us for a few minutes then disappeared into the locker room. Eddie dashed off to the lifeguard shack and Lynn and I were left standing there wondering what was going on. So, not feeling like we were wanted, we skated the boardwalk to Field 2. I was so sad. Steve was nowhere to be seen. As I was trying to console myself by thinking he was your typical womanizer lifeguard with many girlfriends, I saw two figures up ahead. One was standing in the middle of the boardwalk blocking our path and the other was sitting on the railing. As we got closer, my heart jumped because I saw that gorgeous smile once again and knew it was just for me.
Back at Field 1, Steve and I talked a little and the sparks were flying! When he told me he was a student at Stony Brook, warning signs started flashing in the back of my mind because I realized he was more than only a year or two younger than me. I had initially figured he was about 24 or 25 (I was 27). I thought to myself that I should not get involved as he is too young. But, the attraction was too strong.
I glanced at my watch and realized it was time to pick up my friend Vanessa at the airport. I asked Steve if he wanted to go for ride and was ecstatic when he said yes. We talked some more and I found out he was only 20. I told myself I’d worry about that later, realizing that the more I talked to him the more I wanted to know him.
After we picked-up Vanessa at JFK, we headed to Aspen’s for a bite to eat. When it was time to leave, Steve didn’t want me to go and I hated to leave him. Vanessa was in NY just for the night and I really had to go. He said he would call and I thought to myself this is too good to be true. What could he possibly see in me? Being as handsome as he was, I was sure he had plenty of girlfriends. So needless to say, I just about held my breath until he called on Sunday. We set a date to go skating that night. That was the first of several nights we went out that week with each time bring us closer and closer to each other.
After having known Steve for only a week, I realized that I was intensely in love with this man and my life would never again be the same.
In the beginning I was very insecure about Steve’s feelings towards me and I was always kidding him about taking the 6:40 train to leave town. As time went on we grew closer and closer and slowly but surely all my insecurities faded away. It was becoming more and more difficult to be apart from each other.
Steve is truly the man of my dreams. He’s so affectionate and gentle and yet he is also a pillar of strength for me. There will be problems in this relationship, mainly due to our age difference. However, Steve and I both realize this and we know that we can overcome any and all obstacles because our love for each other is immense and it will give us the strength we need.
This is not the ending to my story. It is only the beginning. There’s a big beautiful world out there and Steve and I are going to explore it together; sharing our tears and fears and our joys and happiness.