25th anniversary

I met my wife in a bar.

Great line, guaranteed to get a laugh, but it’s true. I was a non-violent bouncer at a fern bar (Please sir, stop choking your girlfriend and leave the bar without striking other patrons with your beer bottle) in San Francisco’s Marina District (The Balboa Cafe, run by a colorful gentleman named Jack Slick) and she was a waitress. We were both woefully young, recent college graduates stranded by the Carter recession in an economy where English lit majors aspired to be bartenders. On first meeting we played the “do you know?” game to vector in a common friend who became the basis of a platonic friendship enforced by Mister Slick’s warnings to kill and woodchip any employees of his establishment who dated and therefore in his eyes became co-conspirators who would rob him.

Photo by Thomas Hawk

Photo: Thomas Hawk
One day I quit in a fit of 23 year-old stupidity and became eligible to date my wife, which I did, inviting her to a BB King concert. I cooked her dinner. A month later I moved in with her, abandoning my Haight & Masonic basement apartment (next door to the San Francisco Beer Pong Arena) for her former bordello apartment in the far cooler North Beach neighborhood. Proposed a month after that, she accepted, I asked her father for her hand in marriage, he asked me what I did for a living (poor man, the first time he met me I was asking the ultimate question), I told him I was an unemployed bouncer/bartender and unpublished novelist who specialized in maritime historical themes. He was great, he said yes.
And that was that. Dragged the poor woman out of San Francisco to Boston, where I promptly found a job as a dishwasher in a Cambridge jazz club. Big break was getting a newspaper job that paid $113 a week. We had no honeymoon.
Patience does not begin to describe her.
Twenty-five years and it seems like yesterday. Expecting that this is not the Formica nor appliance anniversary, I need to pull a major rabbit out of the hat. She won’t read my blog, so I’m safe making that admission here in public.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

0 thoughts on “25th anniversary”

  1. Shiny and able to cut glass would be the best description of what’s called for. Not that I’m one to offer advice, as neither of my two marriages (not concurrent…) has lasted nearly that long.

  2. great story…I would love to have seen my wife’s parents face in that exact situation

    Good gift advice…

    the little blue bag with the little blue box with a little white ribbon.


  3. A Silver ingot would be nice, indeed. Daphne and you are great people.
    Moza; Tov, my friends! OH a silver colored tabby named “Chatfield”, especially if you got it in Fullerton, might be fun, Dave.


  4. Hi David,

    A big congratulations to both you and your wife on your 25th wedding anniversary.

    I am inspired and I will wait for another 19 years to tell my story.



  5. An anniversary ring always does the trick for a quarter century. Congrats to you both! My sis, who is merely 12 months older than I, just celebrated her 30th. Impossible…

  6. I will forward your post to a dear friend of mine, Mary Ann McDonald (now Russell) who lives in Australia who worked at the Balboa. Now do you remember the pickup rules at the, I think called the Pier Street Annex?

    Best for the next 25.

  7. The Pierce Street Annex. Nope. Rules? Like the man said, no rules in a knife fight.
    Yeah, the Love Triangle of the Balboa on one corner, the Dartmouth Social Club on the other (owned by Jack Slick’s brother, Henry (Norman Hobday) Africa, and then of course the Pierce Street Annex.

  8. Thanks to my great friend Jeff for forwarding to me–what memories and a great description of’ Jack and of course his wonderful brother Norman (for whom I also worked at Henry Africa’s). I actually defied the rules and dated a bartender while working together–we were rebels! Early 80’s in the City are memories I will always cherish, and I congratulate you and your wife on 25 years!

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