I wanted to be Loyd Dobler. You remember Loyd. Nothing beats that moment, when Loyd stood outside of Diane’s window boom box over his head blaring “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel. He was nobody. Just an average guy who took a chance and got Diane Court to go out with him. It was a simple, honest, and real love story. I searched yard sales, flea markets and video stores for years for a copy of the movie. Before iTunes and the internet it was pretty tough and expensive to find a copy of a movie to watch at home. One random afternoon about 15 years ago I went into Brandon Discount Video. It was an old “mom and pop” run video rental store. It was have a “Going Out of Business Sale” at the time the new Blockbuster down the road and Kroger Video rental made it impossible for them to compete. Inside the dusty old trailer of a building I found it. Sitting on the shelf was an original 1990 copy of Say Anything on VHS still in the original packaging.
It was awesome and it was going home with me! I binge watched that film like it was a season of Walking Dead on Netflix. I loved it and pined for my own Loyd Dobler moment with my “Diane Court.” I had movie issues, and then one day… it was gone. I wasn’t sure where or how or what happened to it. Before I had kids, I was a media hoarder. So I must have assumed that it was there. I remember one afternoon hearing “In Your Eyes” on the radio and spending an hour scanning the shelves for my movie. It wasn’t there. I was super bummed. Like most first world problems, I forgot about it quickly. It still hurt because I loved that movie, but I had other things to keep me busy. I had just started teaching fourth grade at a new school and was bar tending on the weekends.
Two Years later…
I had planned to attend school in Hattiesburg in the fall and Stephanie, a friend, had mentioned that Leah her sister would be returning to Hattiesburg too. I had always known Leah but never really spoke to her. Her sister, Stephanie, had two baby girls that we both adored. I was planning to attend school in Hattiesburg in the fall and Stephanie had mentioned that Leah would be returning to Hattiesburg too. She suggested that maybe we could be roommates. I called Leah one evening to talk about it. The phone call led to a movie. (I will share the birthday party story another day. The Birthday Party preceded the movie. It included Leah’s date and my girlfriend at the time) The movie led to dinner.
The first time I went to Leah’s apartment, she was showing me around and there on her shelf was a 1990 VHS copy of Say Anything in its original packaging. I told Leah that is one of my all time favorite movies. In my head I was thinking, “We both loved John Cusack so we had that going for us.” Turns out she had gotten it from her sister’s house. Stephanie had borrowed it from me. She loved it too! I had found my movie and at the same time my “Loyd Dobler Moment” with my own Diane Court!
“The resolution of all my fruitless searches….” In Your Eyes…
When I think about all the little things that had to fall into place that led me to that video store that day, it baffles my mind. That movie was rented and thankfully returned to that store for me to find, buy, love, lose, find again, and love. It led me to the woman I love. I didn’t see it at the time; but now I know that every little thing that led me to a movie that led me to Leah, now my wife, was God working and guiding me on the path he wanted me to be on. There is no other way to explain it.
My 15+ year marriage started partly because of previously viewed 80s movie on VHS. Our first date was in February of 2001. We got engaged on Valentine’s Day and were married in July of the same year. People thought we were crazy and it would never work. July the next year, we had our first of three children. Shortly after that, two of the three were diagnosed with autism. So now, we had people expecting us to fail and statistics predicting our failure too. 80%+ of all couples who have ONE child with a disability end in divorce. We had two! Nobody thought Leah and I would work. Leah was my gift from God and I know that there is nothing else I would rather do then be with her! Things get messy, loud, gross and sometimes downright unbearable in our life but I am so grateful for it.