Cornelliana legend says that about 60% of Cornell students marry other Cornellians (although according to Uncle Ezra, in reality, the number is closer to 8%). During Orientation Week at Cornell, I remember reading about this legend in the Student Handbook, but the thought never occurred to me that I might meet my future husband there.
I had met Jack briefly at a friend’s apartment one random Friday night during my junior year, but honestly didn’t think much of the encounter. You meet a lot of people everyday in college, especially when you go to a school as big as Cornell.
A few days later, I was driving through campus during a terrible (but fairly typical) Ithaca snowstorm. Who knows why I thought it was a good idea to drive through campus in my little Passat during white-out conditions! I obviously lacked good judgment during my college years.
As I tried to drive up a hill near the Engineering Quad, my car got stuck in the snow. I tried every trick I knew to get my car to move, but it simply would not budge. There I was stuck in the middle of the road with not a single person in sight. How was that even possible at a school that big in the middle of the afternoon?
Of course, the cell phone that my Dad had given me just for emergency situations like this had a dead battery. And the only person I would’ve called, my housemate, Josh, wouldn’t be done with his shift at the Statler (Hotel School) until the wee hours of the morning anyhow. I sat in my car thinking that someone HAD to come along eventually and hoping another car wouldn’t plow into me while I waited. There was literally not a single person in sight in any direction. Just as I was about to break out into hives and have a full-on panic attack, I spotted a person walking towards me. I remember wondering if I’d be bold enough to ask a stranger for help and then thinking, “Wait… I think I know this guy!” It was Jack.
After I awkwardly flagged him down, he got my car unstuck with so little effort it made me feel foolish. I forget where I was going that day, but I never got there. Jack safely drove me back to my apartment, and we’ve been best friends ever since. Five years of marriage and one beautiful baby boy later, I now know that there are some upsides to those grueling Ithaca winters.
In retrospect, it’s pretty remarkable that of the nearly 20,000 people in Cornell’s student population, Jack was the one person walking through that part of campus that afternoon. I’d like to think it was fate. Either that or he was stalking me…
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!