John and I met twenty years ago through a personals ad at least a decade before the virtual avalanche of online dating sites. I was Jewish and had never been married or even engaged. John was Catholic, divorced, and the father of three grown children. I was a writer and had just published a book about women who married for the first time after 40—the result of a highly publicized cover story I had written for New York magazine. In the course of my research I had obviously worked through whatever blocks I’d experienced and was finally open to a serious relationship.
John was a news correspondent with ABC radio. I lived in Manhattan. He lived in Westchester. He was tall and dark-haired. I was 5’5” and blonde. He was born in Minnesota. I was born in Western New York. He had a constantly changing work schedule; I created my own schedule, and we managed to date regularly from the very beginning, spending holidays together and taking one long trip each year. I met his children and traveled out West to meet his three older brothers. He traveled to Rochester to meet my family. My brother gave him a stamp of approval and invited him to sail with him; my sister confided right away, “He’s a keeper.”