Our Story Part 1: The 'Tour'
We often have thought about sharing our story with you, but time just hasn't been on our side in the midst of growing this business. For the past two and a half years Hannie has been immersed in creation. She's incredible, and I am in awe of her capacity to create this experience for you. When we talk about the creative side, she's quick to point out my influence on the creative aspects of the business. In reality, I have very little to do with it. I give feedback, insights, and help with storylines, etc...but the experience you get in the letters? 100% Hannie.
So, since she doesn't have time you'll get my side of things. I just have a disclaimer: I reserve the right to be corrected by Hannie, on any or all of the details you are about to read over the next several days. Over the last 18 years, it has become clear that I am not as good at remembering the fine details of our relationship, but Hannie is. So here is my version. Perhaps and hopefully when Hannie is available, you'll see her side.
I grew up in a smaller town outside of Boston called Belmont, Massachusetts. Hannie grew up in a truly small town outside of the metropolis of Delta, UT called Oak City - a population of around 600 people.
We met when I was 14, Hannie 13, at our sibling's wedding. My brother is married to her sister! I was 14, clueless, and not very bright as it pertains to matters of the heart as most all 14-year-old boys are. There were no 'sparks' and we didn't date from that time on or even have a relationship. It's just when we met.
My brother and Hannie's sister moved to Boston and a few years later Hannie came to visit. Still no sparks or interest, but I do recall our siblings trying to 'set us up'. I was still very much not in tune with these things.
A few years later and after some growing and maturing experiences on my part, I was looking for colleges to attend in Utah. I was visiting with my brother and Hannie's sister, and they played a video of Hannah singing in a competition. She sang a song called Havanna Nights and was wearing a red dress.
I couldn't look away. Immediately the thought came to my mind...wow she's amazing. She looked beautiful and was obviously talented.
From that point, I couldn't get Hannie out of my mind. I remember talking with my mom and she asked me if something was wrong. Yes, was the answer - I couldn't stop thinking about Hannie and I told her as much. I was planning to visit Utah the next week and she said I should go see Hannah. So, I worked through her sister to have Hannie show me around a college she was attending.
I am fond of a good love story, contrary to my appearance and experience as a perceived 'jock'. I cried during The Notebook several times, just to get that out of the way.
This is one of the reasons we started with the World War II era. There is something refreshing about 19040's romances. Back then they didn't have a lot of time to 'mess around'. Expressions of new love were to the point, no-nonsense, direct, and unambiguous.
I am kind of a no-nonsense guy, especially when it comes to love. I think it's rude to lead a girl on that you're not interested in and just as rude not to tell if you are. My thinking is hey, let's just make it clear so we're not so uncomfortable when we're downing nachos at Applebees. You may agree or disagree but this was my approach with Hannie.
Now back to the story...
To be clear, I had no need of being shown around the University. It's all pretty self-explanatory - there's a classroom and another one. Here's where you learn some stuff about things...etc. etc. My 'ruse' if you can call it that, was to be close to Hannie and be in her presence.
When I arrived in Utah I called her to arrange our meeting. She met me, and I had the same feeling I had when I saw her in the video...I was captivated. We walked around and Han did her best to show me some things, but we mostly talked and laughed.
Toward the end of the 'tour,' Hannie said she had to go to work. I felt this pang of sadness hit me. I had plans that night, but I asked her if she was available after work. She said she was, and I said this...
"Well, I've got some plans with some friends tonight but I'd rather be with you. Can I take you to dinner?"
Now, I've said a lot of dumb stuff before then and since then...but I take pride in this being one of the best, smartest things I have ever said in my entire life.
And the truth of it is, since that day I've had plans with a lot of friends and family but one thing remains true...
I'd much rather be with Hannie.