How I Met Your Father

One fine autumn evening, a small town girl,  a new student at St. Martha’s School of Nursing, along with her best friend, and armed with the knowledge that she looked quite smart in her newly borrowed outfit (not my uniform and cap), walked into the hallowed halls of the town’s University, to attend the First Dance of the Academic year.

Little did she know that this night was to mark a new beginning like she never could have imagined.

18 year old Helen

I was young and innocent and my eyes were filled with excitement at what the world may have had in store for me.

OK so it took a while before this  scene played out but you get the picture.

Anyway, as soon as I walked in the door, with the Beach Boys or some 60’s music blaring, Ray walked right up to me and pulled me on the dance floor. I could say the rest is history but there is really much more to it than that. (Isn’t there always?)

So we danced through the night, and we held each other…..ah, well no, that is WHY I kept dancing with the guy. He was so polite and a real gentleman. My experience up to then had been that in the slow dances, the guy tried to make his big move…he would pull you in tighter than a roll of pennies and then the hands would start their wandering …ya know. Well this young man couldn’t have been more the gentleman. (He says now, his definition of a gentleman has always been, “A wolf with patience!”)

He walked me home that night and we held hands. The moon was out and the stars were twinkling out romantic messages. It was obvious that he was not a Canadian and even perhaps had some sort of exotic look so I asked him about that. He explained that he was a Bermudian of Portuguese heritage. My heart did a little pitter-patter. I asked him if he spoke Portuguese and he answered yes. My heart held it’s crazy beat for just a moment as I dared ask, “Will you say something to me in Portuguese?” He looked up at the heavens as though to grasp a phrase from out of its depths and said, “Tu….blah….blah…blah….” and smiled into my eager face. He was probably ticking his figurative finger in his mind as one huge checkmark…score! But then I asked him, once my heart started to beat again, with a soft little catch, “What does it mean?” He looked long and hard and perhaps a little forlorn, before responding truthfully, “You have the face of a monkey!”

“WHAT?”….he smiled sheepishly and said it was the first thing that he could think of.,

I SWEAR I did not see this photo of him till AFTER we were married!






AND YES, we continued to date. Two major things were revealed to me that night in September 1967…..he was a gentleman and he did not tell lies.

Forty one years of marriage later………….he IS a gentleman and he never ever lies!

And THAT, my children (and all of you out there) is How I Met Your Father


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