My new boyfriend, Danny Beard got some unexpected tickets to a Braves game and asked me to go. It was the 13th in a row game streak during the 1982 season. We had great seats and I was excited to go. Dan and I started dating that summer and I used to wait on Dan to close his record store, Wax ‘n Facts before we’d go out. I would go upstairs and sit on a sofa and talk to Don. He sold West coast accounts for Important Records so he was there after East coast hours.
I was fresh from college in a Manager in Training job at Paul Harris, a clothing store at Lenox Square. After that summer my relationship with Danny had ended, though we still remained friends and I was transferred to Columbia SC to manage my own store. Don asked if he could come to SC to see me, I said sure.
I wasn’t interested in a new relationship but Don sure was. He drove me crazy, calling, wanting to come to SC all the time. We dated for a few months but by Christmas I was ready to call it quits. We had a huge fight and ended it, he even returned the Christmas present he bought me (a purse from Neiman Marcus).
In the spring of 1983 I was asked to transfer to Austin, TX to open 5 Paul Harris stores. I jumped at the chance and packed my light blue Monte Carlo and drove to Austin. I was there about 2 weeks and Danny called and said, “guess who’s moving to Austin?” Don, of course. He had gotten transferred to Austin with his company. He arrived a couple of weeks after me.
I loved music and Austin was a happening place. I went to an in-store rock show at Waterloo Records and there was Don. We spoke and decided that we didn’t know anyone else here in Austin so we might as well be friends. That indeed started a beautiful friendship. We went to rock shows together, met everyone in the burgeoning “new sincerity” music scene. We work together on helping bands and promoting music and tours. It was a magical time, some of the best times.
All the while I dated many musicians and when those relationships would go south, Don was always there to console me. I would call Don to pick me up at some party at 2:00 a.m. when I’d had a fight with my then boyfriend. After one particular break up, Don said, come to the New Orleans Jazz fest with me and the gang. It’ll be fun. Off we went to Nola and yes, it was a blast. While there we were in Jackson Square and enjoying some beignets on a park bench, he asked me to marry him. “What? Are you crazy? We haven’t even dated, we’re friends, I don’t think of you that way,” I said…He said, “well could we date then? Could you think of me that way?” I thought, okay let’s see what happens.
So, we started dating, and it was great. It was weird and wacky and wonderful. One year later we went to the New Orleans Jazz Fest again and he asked me in Jackson Square, will you marry me. Yes, I will marry you.
We were packing up his stuff to move him to my house and up in the closet I found a wrapped Christmas present. Weird thing to find. “What’s this,” I asked? That’s the Christmas present you gave me when we broke up in SC. He had not opened it, he had packed it and taken it with him 2,000 miles all the way to TX. Love sick, romantic at heart. We sat there on the bed and opened the present. A set of flannel sheets I don’t even remember buying. A lot of good those would do us in Texas.
We got married on October 18th 1986, 35 years ago. It was many years later that I found out that my first date with Danny at the Braves game, I sat in Don’s seat. They were his tickets, he had given them to Danny because Don’s grandfather had died and he had to go home to Orlando for the funeral. In 1982, I sat in my future husband’s baseball seat.
I think about how baseball, music, and love brought this man into my life. Donnie, love you more than you can ever imagine.