Hap, hap, happily ever after | PostIndependent.com

Hap, hap, happily ever after


I first spotted Hap Young back in the late ’60s riding his bike with a friend to the Big Top. The Big Top was a convenience store and popular hangout for kids in our Applewood neighborhood. My brothers and I would ride our bikes everyday during the summer and I couldn’t wait to catch a glimpse of that cute boy.

At 10 years old, I was in love. I found out he attended the public school. I was a student at the local catholic school. Our paths would finally cross as sophomores at Wheat Ridge High School.

As luck would have it, I sat in front of him in Mrs. Byrd’s English class. The boy on the bike was sitting behind me and I could not get up the nerve to talk to him. He had the longest lashes I had ever seen! Eventually Hap initiated a conversation and we began dating.

I was the first girl he kissed. Later we realized our fathers worked in the same building, on the same floor, but for different oil companies. Our birthdays are a day apart, in February, with Hap as my elder (I love that!).

We went to the Homecoming dance together and all was going well when a friend of mine, a senior, didn’t have a date for the prom so he wondered if I would go with him as friends. (This part of the story has been a point of contention for years). I asked Hap Young if he would mind as I was under the impression that he wouldn’t be able to take me to the prom.

Boy was I wrong. Hap Young was not a happy camper!

He didn’t have the heart to tell me the whole idea bothered him. He reluctantly gave me his blessing and I accompanied my friend to the prom. I truly felt guilty the entire evening and I know I wasn’t the best date for my friend. That evening Hap and a friend went out and they had a bit of a mishap with the family car. Hap’s dad was not amused and as punishment banished him to the oil fields of western Utah for the summer to work off the car repair. If you’ve ever been to Roosevelt, Utah, you know that it’s hardly a hot bed of teenage summer fun, especially for a kid from Denver. Hap and I wrote each other every week. I lived for those letters. I spent that summer working at Casa Bonita as a waitress.

My mom thought we were getting too serious for high school kids so I sent him a “Dear Hap” letter, thinking I was appeasing my mom. I know what your thinking, how could I? Bad, bad move on my part. We broke up. I wallowed in teenage heartache.

During our senior year Hap dated a bevy of beauties. I dated other people but still pined for him. He tells me he did, too. Hmmm, I wonder if the cheerleader he was dating knew that. Eventually, our high school careers ended. Hap went off to study pre-med at Notre Dame and I art education at UNC. I saw him twice, once during our college years and the other during our 10-year high school reunion. I lived in Denver and Hap traveled the world as an Army doctor. We both married others and I had a beautiful daughter.

Our respective marriages ended in divorce and our mutual childhood friend, Mark, told Hap I was available and so we reconnected after a 17 year “break.”

Our first date lasted one week! After a couple of years, he asked me to marry him and embraced his role as a stepfather to my 7-year-old daughter. We had a Christmas wedding in 1994 and surprised our classmates and the cheerleader at our 20-year high school reunion in 1997. I must admit I enjoyed watching her jaw drop when I pointed out my husband in the crowd.

We are happily living in Glenwood Springs with Hap practicing radiology at Valley View Hospital and me teaching art at St. Stephen’s School.

Looking back I know I should have asked my friend to ask someone else to the prom. What was I thinking? Isn’t it amazing that the boy with the long eyelashes (he still has them), that rode his bike to the Big Top, and sat behind me in English class, would become my amazing husband and life partner? Even more amazing my mom says that she always knew he was the one for me.

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