There have been many skeptics of online dating, who came to CatholicMatch with their share of doubts about this mode of meeting people. To call Annie one of those skeptics would be to understate the case.
“The answer (regarding online dating) was not only ‘no’ but ‘hell no,’ the 68-year-old Catholic high school teacher from northern Virginia said. “I thought it was a scam that would get me raped, pillaged and plundered.”
In spite of her strongly held, and colorfully stated objections, Annie still remained opened to persuasion. It was a friend in Florida that kept suggesting CatholicMatch. Finally, the friend made it more than a suggestion. “Next time I call, if you haven’t joined, I’m hanging up.”
“What the heck,” Annie thought. “It’s thirty bucks.” ($29.95 for a one-month full membership).” She decided to join.
Sal was 69-years-old, and a retired IRS agent living in Baltimore. He and Annie saw each other’s profiles in June 2012 and after a couple months of correspondence, they got together in the quaint Maryland town of Frederick, about halfway between the two. For their first date, Sal and Annie walked, had coffee and dessert, and watched an old-fashioned unicycle race.
“His honesty was the thing that attracted me,” Annie said, looking back at how the relationship continued to develop. “I was looking for someone I could trust.” Her own 46-year marriage that produced four children and 10 grandchildren had ended because of infidelity. And that’s why Sal’s faithful actions were so special.
For example Sal told Annie he would call her when he went away to California. Sure enough, he called every day. When Sal returned to the East Coast, he had a box of chocolates. “That’s not the best present he gave me though,” Annie said. “The best present was that he kept his promise.” Sometimes keeping what seem to be small promises, have great consequence.
A weekend trip proved to be a seminal moment in their relationship. Sal joined her on a drive into Pennsylvania, and she was lamenting the condition of a ring she was wearing. Sal took a look at the broken gold overlay and said he could fix it.
When Sal returned her the repaired ring, Annie asked him a direct question—“Would you have any objection to putting this ring on me?” She noted that she didn’t have anything on her left hand. “That’s where jewelry goes when someone gives it you.”
“I would love to give you a piece of jewelry,” Sal replied. And thus, started the ring shopping.
When the ring was picked out, the right time had to be chosen to give it to her. It turns out that right time came on the road, on I-95 at the Pennsylvania-Delaware border. “At least it wasn’t in the middle of a traffic jam,” she said with a laugh. While other drivers were simply crossing state lines, Sal and Annie were symbolically crossing a new border of hope in their lives.
The ring reminds Annie of her mother’s—that was a ring that had gone to her sister, and eventually to her niece. This ring was similar in the message it sends. Sal summed it up thusly—“It’s not a ring that shouts ‘how big is the wedding going to be and how many people are coming.’” It’s a ring that is truly her.
Annie will soon relocate to Baltimore to teach in a private girls’ high school for a year or two to get her past financial obligations together. The couple is hoping to eventually settle down in a log cabin home together.
Sal and Annie have both come through a lot and are looking forward to their lives together.