Monday, December 28, 2009

Day 28 Tom and Suzanne

There are three acts to this story.

Act one. Tom and Suzanne meet at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana in 1973. Luckily for both of them, and for women everywhere, Notre Dame started accepting female students two years before that. They each had roommates who happened to fall madly in love with each other in their first week of college and become joined at the hip. And so, by default, Tom and Suzanne became friends. There is an unresolved dispute between them on whether they went on a couple of dates or not. Tom thinks they went on a date or two. Suzanne does not think they were dates.

Act two. They graduated in 1977. Tom moved to Berlin and Suzanne moved to California. They kept in touch through their old roommates who ended up getting married straight out of college. Tom would send the occasional postcard from Berlin, and they would sometimes talk on the phone. They were both seeing other people at the time, and had no romantic interest in each other.

By 1983 they were both living in Chicago, Tom having got there four years earlier. When Suzanne moved to Chicago, Tom organised a long, thorough tour for her. There still wasn't any real romantic interest at this point. Tom is just a really nice guy.

Act three. It’s December 1985 and Suzanne needs a date for her office Christmas party. She needed to take someone who would be good company, someone she wouldn’t need to baby sit, and someone who wouldn’t embarrass her.

Tom: The bar was low.

Suzanne: That’s a high bar!

Suzanne asked Tom to go with her and Tom accepted. He showed up at her house with a small gift; a red cup with cocoa for hot chocolate.

Winter 1985 was the coldest Chicago winter in recorded history. That's pretty darn cold. So when they left the party, which went fine, they couldn't walk anywhere. Tom and Suzanne ran into the first bar they saw. They warmed up with mulled wine and conversation. They talked till the bar closed. And by the end of the night, they developed a closeness that may or may not have been brewing for the last twelve years.

It took Tom and Suzanne that long to get together because they had to become who they were going to become first. Tom remembers two things that made him see Suzanne more clearly. One was the way she handled her father’s untimely death; with dignity and strength. The other was her growth and excitement after coming back from a trip to Europe.

They were married in 1988. They have three boys, an 18-year old, a 16-year old and a 13-year old. Every year in December, Tom gives Suzanne a red cup with cocoa for hot chocolate.


  1. How sweet. Makes me want to have some hot chocolate. You should also know the numbers of Notre Dame grads who marry each other are staggering. Go Irish

  2. so sweet! i need to go catch up on the previous 27 days.