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Did you meet your spouse or significant other and just know “this is the one”? I have to tell you a little story about Snell and me.

Snell and Marlene Buchanan

Marlene BuchananThe first time I met Snell was at a testing training session at Dyer Elementary School. This was in 1972. I had a very short skirt, very long hair, uppies for boobies and an inny for a waist! I was 22 and teaching at Duluth High School. I thought I was cute. Apparently, he was not impressed. He later told me I was too young for him. I think that was his cover story.

In October 1974, we met again while administering the Governor’s Honors Tests. I was in charge of the Spanish language exams. Snell was giving American History exams in another part of the building. We met in the lobby/courtyard area of the building and got to talking. He told me he was from Snellville and I told him that my parents and I had moved to Snellville just a couple of years before. I asked him what there was to do in Slug City besides watching the changing traffic light. He laughed. Yeah, I wasn’t good at come-ons. 

Time went on, and Bubba Lawrence was an Assistant Principal at Duluth. Bubba was trying to fix Snell up with my friend Sharon Varner. Sharon was big into sports and was very active with the record keeping of the various teams at Duluth. Frances Williamson was the counselor there. One day she and Snell were talking about school-related business, and my name came up. He ended up calling me.

We had our first date on December 14 of that year, and it was nice. We talked and laughed and had to acknowledge that we had nothing in common with sports. He filmed all of the Varsity football games, coached the eighth-grade football, assisted with the Track program, and attended almost all of the basketball games. I went to the games and sold tickets. I visited with people in the bleachers. I knew the scores when the games were over, and I saw some amazing plays, but that was kind of lost on me.

Still, he called again. And again. And we went out again. And again. He was not intimidated when he met Daddy at the door for the first time. Daddy always greeted my dates. He usually was wearing his gun. Even the dog liked him.

Snell and I found more things to talk about. We enjoyed searching antiques and junk shops. One of my favorite dates was early in the relationship. We went to Stone Mountain and visited the Old Plantation. We ate Sunday dinner at Arby’s on Memorial Drive. Lots of sauce. I love the sauce.

There is a little age discrepancy between us. Snell is ten and one-half years older than I. He remembers Elvis from the beginning. I know Elvis from his 1960-70’s comeback tours. Snell listens to Country and Western. I listen to Rock and Roll. Buddy Holly is who Don McLean sings about in American Pie. Snell remembers him changing the sound of music.

When he kissed me good night on that December 14th evening, I knew I would marry that man. We married December 13 the following year. 364 days later.

I had to wait a little bit for him to get ready to get married. He turned me down the first three times I asked him. Then one night we went to see The Return of the Pink Panther at Lenox Square. We wandered around Davison’s and saw they were having an estate jewelry sale. I found the ring. It is an antique from Italy. It has inset mother of pearl and a few little diamonds. It isn’t a very valuable ring, but it is a fortune to me. The next day, he asked me to marry him, and we went to Davison’s and bought that ring.

Snell said he fell in love and got married during his mid-life crisis and had a baby in menopause. That’s prob-ably true. We were married seven years before James came along. It has been 42 years since that first date. And we just celebrated our 41st anniversary.

I always said I was going to marry an old man with money. I only got the old man, but I wouldn’t trade him for anything. He is perfect. We are well suited, and he is ying to my yang. He is calm and easy going. I make Type A personalities shiver in fear. He rarely gets mad or loses his temper. I self-ignite. I am keeping him forever. After all this time we are well ‘broke-in” to each other.

Weren’t we lucky to find each other? I think it was destiny.