I just noticed we never put up the update that we had moved to Minnesota, specifically Eagan, which is located in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area.
My cousin Stacy Bowers had a little writeup in the Lincoln Journal Star.
Pinning on a relationship
By Colleen Kenney
Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 – 12:07:41 am CDT
He has a crush.
She’s tall and blond and pretty. A real nice girl. But she has a boyfriend.
So Mark Kommers watches from a distance.
Junior year in chemistry at Kearney High, she first notices it – their chemistry. They’re washing out test tubes together after an experiment. He’s cute and funny. He’s throwing bubbles at her, making her laugh.
Making her confused.
These butterflies don’t mean anything, Stacy Bowers tells herself. Just friendship.
She phones him one night.
“Hey, uh, what do we have to do for English tomorrow?”
“We don’t have anything, Stacy.”
In his house, just four blocks from Stacy’s house, Mark smiles. Maybe he has a chance.
Senior year at the Homecoming dance, he watches her dance with her boyfriend. She’s wearing a long, silver dress. She’s the Homecoming queen. Her boyfriend leaves the gym to go to the restroom.
Mark makes his move.
A song from The Dave Matthews Band is playing. “Crash.” He holds her close, imagines she’s his girlfriend.
In a boy’s dream – In a boy’s dream – you come crash into me –
Stacy and her boyfriend break up. She cries on Mark’s shoulders.
She gets back with her boyfriend.
Mark plays football. One night after a game, he calls her and blurts it out. He loves her. She’s upset. But she also knows she feels the same way.
The next morning, he goes around the neighborhood, picking flowers from yards. He puts them on her car’s windshield. He tapes a penny on the window.
“What’s the deal with the penny?” she asks him later that day.
“Well, it’s just me making a wish on a penny that we will be together someday.”
She grows confused. This isn’t right.
She and Mark don’t talk a lot. She knows he’s disappointed. Angry.
But pennies keep showing up on her car.
The summer after they graduate, she can’t take it any more. Late one night, she walks to his house and throws rocks at his second-story window. He doesn’t wake up. She climbs the white wooden trellis of the porch and stands on the roof under his window. She knocks.
He opens the window and thinks he’s still in a boy’s dream.
“I miss my friend.”
He climbs down the trellis and they talk.
All freshman year at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, they’re best friends.
He joins a fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon. She joins a sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta. She breaks up with the high school boyfriend. But she’s not ready for another serious relationship.
Mark waits patiently. Makes her laugh when she starts feeling homesick, when the university seems so big. They go to each other’s parties. Study together. Just friends.
He doesn’t date any other girl.
In the Greek system, there’s a tradition called pinning. A guy from a fraternity pins his house badge on his girlfriend. One night that freshman year, there’s a pinning ceremony – a guy from Mark’s house and a girl from Stacy’s house.
“You know, Stacy. I’m getting pinned when I’m a senior. And do you know who the lucky girl is going to be?”
“Are you talking about me?”
“Yeah. Icould see it.”
If I’ve gone overboard, then I’m begging you, to forgive me, in my haste
When I’m holding you, girl, so close to me –
By the end of the freshman year, the Dave Matthews song is their song.
The Kappa Alpha Theta girls have chicken and rice this Monday night.
Before dessert the “hashers” -the guys who serve dinner – dim the lights and bring out a candle. The girls know this means there’s a pinning tonight. They pound the tables and scream.
Someone reads a letter from a fraternity brother, telling about how he’s always loved a certain girl. But no names. It’s still a secret.
The candle passes around the table until it gets to Stacy, a senior everybody loves like a big sister. She blows it out. The girls cheer.
She goes upstairs to change. The girls line up on the foyer stairway, seniors at the bottom. The seniors light candles.
As the girls practice singing, someone looking out the north window by the baby grand piano sees a group of guys in suits walking down 16th Street.
They’ve been dating three years now. Their relationship has made the two houses feel especially close.
“They’re coming! Shhh!”
There’s a knock on the door. About 30 guys walk in, followed by Mark and his parents.
The girls are singing as Stacy walks slowly down the stairs in a strapless green dress.
Mark watches her. His eyes misty.
He hands her a red tulip. On the walk down 16th Street, he had picked it from a church yard.
“I finally wore her down,” he says, and everyone laughs.
A lot of people look at a pinning as a pre-engagement, he says. But to them, it’s more of a celebration of their love with people they love.
“But there is no doubt she is the first and only girl I’ll ever love.”
Then it’s Stacy’s turn.
She looks at Mark. Her eyes are misty, too.
“You were always my best friend, Mark. Thank you for having so much faith in me and in us. I apologize it took me so long to realize it. But I’m glad we’re here.”
He pins his badge on her dress, kisses her, and they hold each other so close.
Reach Colleen Kenney at 473-2655 or email@example.com.