I suspect from today until the day I die I will get asked the quesion,
"how did you and Mary meet?" And with technology as it is, I find
telling the whole story over and over via the Internet rather
cumbersome. This is for obvious reasons, for those of you who have made
a mistake while typing and suddenly…the whole email has vanished to
Well, my point is I decided to write this piece of work because I can
easily distribute it without working on my carpal tunnel, and I can
tell many more of you how exactly Mary and I met…..again. So, get
comfortable and take the time to read a truly amazing story about two
people in this big world.
Let's back-up to December 2004 when this story starts to take shape. We
all know the wonders of the Internet. You can do, find, buy, sell, or
auction just about anything or anyone if you look hard enough. So I
thought, living in Portland and living with my mom (I know…slightly
sad for a 30-year old, but it makes sense later). What better time than
now to really delve into Internet dating. What most of you don't
realize was that around the age of twenty-six I started focusing in on
my Catholic faith and found that I really wanted to meet a woman who
fit into that area of my life. So where does a Catholic male turn to
find a Catholic female? No better place then Catholic Match.
All through 2005 I belonged to this site but my "special someone" never
really came to fruition. Plus, I was shelling out thirty dollars every
three months. By the time 2005 was coming to a close I had been
accepted to a doctoral program in Perth, Australia, but I thought to
myself, "it is a global website so I will just wait and see if I meet
someone in Perth." I know few of you have been to Perth so I will just
say, it is pretty far from a faith-based community. I guess that is
what happens when it is sunny 300 days a year. You just are happy and
carefree and don't think about faith. Anyways, after a month I just
gave up on the Internet dating thing and was really focusing in on
school. But CM dings you if you don't check the button that says,
"Cancel auto renewal", and I continually forgot to check that button.
It is now mid-April and I am dating a Perth girl, who I met through a
friend. However, I knew early on that I was not goint to be spending
the rest of my life with her. It was one of the "good time hanging
out"…..you know, the "cool girl things." It was Easter weekend and I
received an email from CM stating that I had once again been charged
the thirty dollars. I thought, "This is really becoming ridiculous."
So, whenever you go onto the web site as you all know it shows you your
most recent "matches". The problem that I found is that they could be
from just about anywhere and everywhere in the world. On this
particular day I was cancelling my membership and one of my matches had
a photo of a woman standing in Hawaii in running gear.
Being the curious individual that I am, I read her profile. She went to
Notre Dame Unviersity, played water polo, does triathlons and lives in
St. Louis. At this point I had only one true intention and that was to
write her and tell her I really liked her profile, I really liked the
fact she did triathlons and I really liked the fact that she was
Catholic. I also said that I knew it may be strange to get an email
from a man living in Australia, but I am actually an American getting
his doctorate. At the close of my email I wished her the best, pressed
send and hit the cancel button to end the subscription.
Since you prepay for the month I got an email notice stating that
"Mary" had sent me a repsonse. This was my first encounter with Mary
and she was very terse, very direct and really kind of nasty. She said
thank you for the email, but why would she be interested in a man like
me who didn't fit the complete Catholic critieria? She was a 7 out of
7, but I was a 5 out of 7.
This created a slight prick in my side and presented a slight challenge
and a reason to write back. I was gnashing my teeth as I sent back a
long defensive email stating my point of view on our differences.
She emailed me on more time and said that she appreciated my honesty
and directness. From there we chatted on-line a few times and then we
started talking. In our first conversation I stated that I was dating
some one and needed to end the relationship before I could continue
talking to her out of respect for everyone.
That same night I ended the relationship with the woman I was dating,
and that very next day Mary and I began talking on the phone. This went
on every day, twice a day for up to three hours a day for three weeks,
non-stop. The on one afternoon all that I knew about Mary was turned
upside down and backwards in a 45-minute conversation.
Two brief sidenotes–First, if you have gotten this far in the story,
good for you. Second, once I moved to Australia my name seemed to go
from Jim to James. According to the graduate school admin staff I fit
the name James much better then Jim. So, from Feb 06 moving forward I
have introduced myself as James…this included Internet dating as
well. Now here is the meat and potatoes, the real gusto of the story.
Like any good story you have to set the stage. The stage is now set to
really tell you the truth about Mary.
As all new couples do, you share stories about your past experiences.
The was the case for us when I was sharing with Mary my excursion that
took me from Tokyo to Cincinnati for my friend Gus's wedding in 2004.
Mary: "Gus? Gus from Dayton?"
Me: "Yeeeeeaaaahhhhhhh?" How do you know Gus?"
Mary: "He walked in on my talking to a boy in 1998 at a Notre Dame water polo tourney."
Me: "Who was the boy?"
As I am saying this, I am going through a catalogue of events in my
life trying to squeeze out any memory of that time and I was drawing a
Mary: "I don't remember."
Me: "He went to Dayton though?"
Me: "Are you sure?"
Me: "What do you remember about him?"
Mary: "I think his name was Jim, but I am not sure. The other thing was
that the following weekend was Easter and he came out to visit me."
At this juncture my heart skipped a beat and my tiny little world came
to a halt. I was thinking, "was I at Notre Dame? Nah, I was living in
Dayton and wasn't playing water polo. Could I have driven to St. Louis?
Nah, that is too far a drive not to remember. Who was she talking to?"
Me: "Well, it couldn't have been me because I wasn't playing water polo
anymore and I know I didn't drive six-and-half hours to St. Louis to
see some girl. I would remember such a drive. What else do you remember
about the guy?"
Mary: (A long pause) "I remember a couple of things. One he drove a Ford."
My brain was racing like a dog chasing a rabbit at the track. I was thinking, "Did I have a Ford?"
Me: "What kind of Ford?"
Mary: "It was a blue Ford something – a sedan of sorts."
Again, I was checking my catalogue of historical events in my life and
yet again drawing a big blank. Then Mary said the following.
Mary: "I also remember that he brought his dog with him to my house when he visited."
The alarm bells began to sound and it was a four alarm fire. DOG!!!
With him….he went to Dayton…he played polo…NAH, there is no way
it was me. I might as well been an addict in denial of his drug
Mary: "Did you have a car then?"
Me: "Yeah, but it wasn't me, promise. I would REALLY remember if I drove 6 1/2 hours to visit a girl."
I am saying this with such conviction that I could have convinced a
priest that I never sinned a day of my life. WE went back and forth for
about a half-hour. Finally she said that she had to go to sleep and she
would talk to me tomorrow.
After I got off the phone I was in such shell shock that I couldn't
think, so I did what any respectable student would do – I got on the
bus and headed home to take a nap. Halfway home I got a call from Mary
and she told me to check my email.
I raced home, grabbed my laptop and rushed to the local internet cafe.
I logged on to my email account and saw that I received and email from
The subject line read, "Mystery solved."
The body text read, "Scroll down."
As I scrolled down I saw that there was a photo attached. The photo was…
Yep, you guessed it. It was me with my arm around Mary in 1998 at Notre
Dame. I had gone the following Easter weekend to visit her in St.
Louis. We saw each other that weekend and for some reason decided not
to pursue the relationship.
Since this discovery we both pretty much knew that we were meant to be
together. We have now visited each other twice. I came to the
conclusion early on in our conversations that I wanted to marry Mary.
So, on Friday the 8th of of September, I asked Mary to if she would do
me the honor and she graciously said yes. Mary is moving to Perth late
November and we are getting married June 23rd 2007.
That is the truth about Mary. The story is one in a million if you ask
me, but you can be the judge of that. If you made it this far, you are
a complete trooper and Mary and I appreciate the effort.
Whether you call it coincidence, fate or divine intervention, some
force brought us together and made us realize that this world is not as
big as we thought. If fact you realize in moments like these, just how
small it really is.