How Mom And Dad Met (Writer’s Workshop)

Me with Mom and Dad, circa 1961 (photo: Fabulous Auntie Jill)

This week, Kat wants to know “How [my] parents met.” It’s actually a pretty interesting story, at least the way Mom told it to me. Or at least the way I remember she told me.

Some time in the late 1940’s, when they were in high school, Bunny (that’s Mom) went on a blind date with Bill (that’s Dad). At the end of the evening, Bill asked Bunny, “Hey, can I have your phone number?” and she told him, “It’s in the phone book.” She never heard from him again.

Fast forward maybe four years. Bunny’s in college, and is “lavaliered” (kind of like engaged to be engaged) to Pat. One night, they were together, and he kept complaining of a sore back, and no amount of her massaging it made it feel any better. He woke up the next morning unable to move. He had contracted a severe case of polio that left him wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life. He and Bunny were supposed to go to a dance that weekend, and Pat asked his best friend, who just happened to be Bill, if he’d take her.

Bill calls Bunny, whose first question is, “Why didn’t you ever call me?” He said, “I couldn’t find it in the book.” Mom’s maiden name (and my middle name) is Connelly, which can also be spelled Connolly, Connally, Conley, and a bunch of other ways. He never figured out the right spelling.

I knew Pat, by the way: he was the assistant principal at St. Ignatius College Prep, where I went to high school my freshman year. He married someone else and they had a bunch of kids. He and his wife and Mom and Dad remained friends.

Just as a side note: yesterday would have been Dad’s 85th birthday.

27 thoughts on “How Mom And Dad Met (Writer’s Workshop)

  1. John, what an interesting story of how your folks came to be! It’s purrty cool that your folks stayed friends with Pat & his wife. Usually, breaks up don’t go well and no one is ever friends again but then that was a different time. People were different. I use to participate in Mama Kat’s meme but gotta away from it. I’m going to have to work it back into my routine. Perhaps after the April A-Z challenge I can figure something out. Thanks for sharing!


  2. Hi John – lovely to read your story … poor Pat must have had a miserable life for a while – Polio was devastating … but am glad to read all ended happily ever after … and congratulations to your Dad for however many years he managed to live … wonderful to read – thank you – Hilary


    1. Dad only lived to almost 35. This year was his 50th anniversary.

      It’s interesting to know that so many people had polio and went on to either beat the disease or learned to live with it and didn’t allow it to interfere with their lives or ambitions. It was a devastating disease, but some people only had a mild case and were able to rehabilitate themselves. What made Salk’s and Sabin’s work so significant was that it meant no one would have to just live with it.


  3. I find it fascinating how some people got polio and others didn’t. I’m glad your mom never got it which sounds like I don’t know much but I know it wasn’t contagious. I have a friend who’s father contracted polio when he was in high school and was already going out with her future mom:) I love reading stories of how people met. It always is romantic.


    1. I don’t know enough about the disease to talk about it much. I know it can be transmitted, but I’m not sure under what circumstances. I’ll have to check with Mary, my amateur epidemiologist…


  4. Great photo! I am curious though how they broke it to Pat that the dance date had gone so well? Seems like he must have taken it well though since they remained friends!


  5. What a wonderful story of how they met – could you imagine if they didn’t? No, don’t think of that. It’s weird how life works sometimes. I just read one of the above comments and saw that Pat’s friends did come after your Dad. I was quite curious since he did kind of swoop in and take his friend’s girl 🙂


    1. I hadn’t heard that part of the story. I think Mom told people different things at different times, or maybe purposely left that part out when she told it to me. Now I wonder what else she never told me…


  6. What a wonderful love story! I bet Pat regretted sending her off on that date. 😉 And I love the picture you used. Bunny looks so adoringly at Bill!


    1. Maybe he regretted it at the time, but he bounced back pretty well. Like I said, he was assistant principal when I was a freshman in high school. One day I got called to the office, and all I could think was “oh sh*t, what did I do?” We just talked for about twenty minutes. I guess he just wanted to talk to his best friend’s son…


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