My love story begins in 1974, when a new girl came to my school whom I was instantly infatuated with. She was beautiful, shy, quiet and had the most stunning blue eyes I'd ever seen. As it turned out she became friends with another girl I was acquainted with, so I got the chance to get to know her. Before long, we were going steady. As things often happen in high school, we broke up and went our separate ways, remaining friends until graduation, after which we lost touch.
Fast forward 28 years, and I found myself in the unenviable position of being newly single and wondering whatever happened to that girl. A quick search on a social media site for former classmates to connect yielded a result and I sent her a message. Within an hour I received a reply. I was so excited to hear from her and find out where life had taken her.
We corresponded for several months and it seemed that the time that had elapsed didn't matter. It was as if we'd remained friends the entire time. We arranged to meet the next time she was in town and after doing so decided that we enjoyed one another's company and would continue to see how it went.
The next several months were spent talking on the phone, exchanging emails, and spending time together when we could. The fact that we lived several hours apart made that a bit difficult, but we managed to take it slow and really get to know one another.
As our relationship progressed, a big portion of our time was spent traveling in one of two classic Corvettes I had at the time; a 1961 283 cubic inch 245 horsepower beauty and a 1972 coupe that had at one time been featured in Vette Vues magazine.
Teresa was the perfect travel companion. She shared my appreciation for old cars and was an active participant in cleaning and detailing them before and after each adventure. Our relationship blossomed and we found that we loved spending time together and each other.
One particular long weekend we planned to spend at a cabin in a state park in the beautiful mountains of Eastern Kentucky. We played each day by ear, venturing out sight-seeing and visiting museums, nature preserves, and other points of interest along the way. Each morning over breakfast, we would discuss where our beautiful red '61 would take us that day. On our last day at the cabin, we continued with the same question we posed to one another every day; "what shall we do today?". With Atlas in hand, and unsure of her reaction I off-handedly said "well, we could travel down through Tennessee and go to Jellico and get married". She just as casually said "Okay, that sounds like a great idea" and off we went.
We both gave the other several opportunities to back out along the way but upon arriving in Jellico discovered that we both wanted to take the plunge, and so we did!
For those who have never been to the small town of Jellico, Tennessee, it is a very quaint little place that has long been known as the "go to place" for folks who want to elope. We went to the County Clerk's office, got a marriage license and the clerk made the call and found a minister who could stop by on his way home from his day job and perform the ceremony. We were both dressed very casually, wearing jeans and t-shirts; had no rings and no plan as to what to do afterwards, as Teresa had to return to her home in Middle Tennessee and I had to return to work in Central Kentucky.
When the minister arrived he asked us where we wanted to get married. Hmmm, hadn't really thought about that either. Teresa and I looked at each other and grinned. We both blurted out at the same time "can we get married in our car?"! And so we did. Unorthodox? To be sure. Silly? Absolutely. But it was fantastic and something we'll both cherish for the rest of our lives!
I'm sure the folks in Jellico have seen and heard almost everything over the years, but I'm fairly confident that we were the topic of conversation in and around Jellico for at least a few days afterwards. And ten years later, it's a fond memory and frequent topic of conversation among family and friends. Our only "wedding photo" is of us standing beside our Vette with the camera sitting on the electrical meter across the alley. But we wouldn't take a million for it!