Most of you know I was born Marjorie Howden and I have explained in my Maggie Mae blog entry how I got the name Maggie. Now I want to tell you about the name Holmes.
A friend named Kathy Holmes and I went to camp one summer. After our week of camp her parents took us to the lake for the weekend. It was a lot of fun. We went for boat rides, had campfires, and Kathy, her fourteen-year-old brother Neil, and his friend, waterskied. I watched.
One evening, the four of us went for a walk. Kathy and Neil wanted to show us the ski jumper’s ramp and the turtle pond. As we walked down a trail through the bush, I noticed that Kathy and Neil’s friend were walking in front of us holding hands. Then I felt Neil take my hand, and he stopped. That stopped me abruptly too. He leaned over and kissed me. In shock, I turned back toward the path and began walking again. I had just turned twelve, and wasn’t interested in boys yet. After we saw the turtle pond and the ski jump, I felt myself hurrying back to the campsite. I didn’t want to get stopped by Neil again. I think he got the hint. He never tried a second time.
Two years later, I was sitting in English class working on a poetry assignment. I was trying to find a poem that I liked. We were supposed to research the poet and write a paper on him or her. I read a lot of poems before I found one I understood and liked. When I turned the page, and finished it, I read the author’s name, Marjorie Holmes. I thought about Neil. I thought of his curly blond hair, nice skin, his blue eyes and the kiss. ‘Marjorie Holmes, that would be nice,’ I thought. I continued to research Marjorie Holmes, and found out that she had written a lot of different things, including many poems.
A short time later, the grade twelves were holding a hop, which was a junior high dance in the school gym. My friend met me at the end of my lane, and we went to the hop together. We had been best friends since she moved to town, when I was ten and she was eleven. You didn’t hear one of our names without the other for many years. It was either Val and Marj, or Marj and Val. People always got us confused when we were alone, and some people still do.
Anyway, we went to the hop together. We danced a few dances with each other and with a few other girls. Then the announcer called out a Sadie Hawkins dance, which usually included about three dances in a row, where the girls were to ask a guy to dance. I thought about asking Neil to dance but I was too chicken. What if he said, “No?” I leaned in to Val and said, “Ask Neil Holmes to dance and then I will.”
She kind of looked at me funny and said, “Okay.”
I went and asked a guy to dance who had asked me to dance at a previous hop. I was pretty sure he wouldn’t say no to me and he didn’t. Val danced with Neil for all three of those Sadie Hawkins dances, and for a few more after that. I found girls to dance with and had a pretty good evening.
When Val walked me home, we stopped at the end of my lane and she said. “Neil and I are going steady.”
I was a little surprised but I thought, ‘Val had no idea I had a little crush on Neil. He didn’t even know I was interested and he probably wouldn’t have wanted me anyway. Val was more his type.’ And from that point forward, it was Val and Neil, and I got used to that. Although, I can say I never really felt relaxed and comfortable around him.
A year and a half later, I began going out with Val’s brother. The four of us spent a lot of time together double dating, camping, going to drive-ins and just hanging out at each other’s houses. Val and Neil went together for nine years. When they broke up, Neil moved up north.
I married Val’s brother in 1984 and we had three beautiful daughters within the next ten years. After fifteen years, my marriage fell apart. This shook me up a lot but I lived through it.
A year after my marriage split up I met Neil on Main Street. He had moved back from Thompson, MB and was now working in Saskatchewan. He came by a couple of times after that and played computer games with the girls. Then, one day he called me up and asked if I wanted to go up to his place and watch a movie with him. “Just two old friends hanging out,” he said.
I thought about that and wondered if we could stay in the friend zone. I was pretty lonely for adult company so I said, “yes.” It was just that, two old friends hanging out and it was nice. The next time he asked me up to his house he had made a meal to go with the movie. Ham and scalloped potatoes, homemade macaroni salad, lettuce salad and the works. I was impressed.
A few weeks later, I had plans with Val to go to the lake for the long weekend. It was to be Val, the girls and me. I was looking forward to spending some time with my friend and with the girls. But Val had to cancel. This is not a regular occurrence; it was just the way it happened. I wandered around the house like a lost puppy wondering what I was going to do with my July 1st weekend now. I thought about going to a hotel, just the girls and I, or getting a cabin at the lake but neither intrigued me at all. I felt very alone.
Then the phone rang. It was Neil. He wondered what I was doing on the weekend, so I told him what I had been thinking. “Why don’t I get us each a room in Minot and we’ll take the kids and do everything there is to do there?” he asked.
So that’s what we did. He was great with the girls, and a complete gentleman with me. The only thing I noticed that was kind of strange was that anytime we were close he shook like a leaf. I took that to mean he was uncomfortable around me as well.
My barriers came down a bit that day, and the flame that I once had for Neil began to reappear. As time went by I learned to trust that his kind heart would keep me safe. The fact that he already cared for the girls made that part a lot easier.
So that was how the first boy I ever kissed came back into my life. We were married in the year 2000 and haven’t looked back. And I think it is neat how I am enjoying writing, and my name Is Marjorie Holmes. But if you haven’t read it, you will want to read Maggie Mae.