Although it’s hard to find a true beginning to this story, the place I like to start is on a first date.
David and Pamela met at the University of Pennsylvania. Pam was part of the undergraduate dental hygiene faculty and David was a postdoctoral dental student. While passing through dental hygiene clinic one day, David spotted Pam “across a crowded room” and promptly asked the program director nearby who she was.
“Oh, that’s Pamela,” said the director. “She’s lovely, isn’t she?”
And so David, with his thick mop of black-brown hair and his equally thick mustache (all too appropriate for 1974) managed to arrange a meeting and ultimately score a date with a pretty little lady with a winning smile.
That first date started off pretty chill. Just a casual coffee at McDonald’s (thanks to a college-era budget) to get to know one another. It all seemed very light and benign until David pulled out the big guns.
“Do you want to have children?” he asked, catching Pam totally off guard. (How’s that for a first-date-getting-to-know-you conversation starter?!)
“Because if you do,” he continued, “we shouldn’t get involved. I don’t want to have kids!”
For David, children were a deal breaker. Even the consideration of children was a taboo topic.
Pam, pulling from her years of classical ballet training, maintained her poise under the pressure from such a weighty question from this soon-to-be dental specialist. She may not have realized it, but the couple’s future depended very heavily on how she answered his question.
She had grown up very active in her high school, captain of the cheerleading squad, secretary of her class, crowned homecoming queen, and on the go with lots of extracurriculars and social engagements. She had danced for years, pursuing ballet for the sheer love of the discipline. She had recently graduated from the University of North Carolina and was now teaching at an Ivy League school, focused on her career and shaping the next wave of hygiene students. She was in her mid-twenties and living in Philadelphia, enjoying all that life had to offer.
Now she was on a date with handsome older student who appeared to have a bright future ahead of him. And of all things, she was being asked about her family plans.
To put it mildly, David’s question was from way out in left field. This was not typical first-date chatter. But it seemed critically important to him, and his question required an answer.
“No,” she replied, “I’m not all that interested in children either.”
There would be a second date, after all.
And that’s the first miracle.