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Summer Love to Married Love

We were sitting on the wooden steps that lead to the beach. They were covered in sand but I didn’t care. My heart was beating so fast and I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath.

I was scared to death and at the same time there was nowhere else I wanted to be at that moment in time. I looked up at the sky and gasped, I had never seen so many large bright stars. His hand was warm as he brushed my cheek, and he moved closer, he was going to kiss me and just as his lips brushed mine the ground shook and the sky exploded into brilliant color.

Scared, we scrambled to our feet.  He grabbed my hands and held them tight.

We had no idea where those fireworks came from.  We thought the beach was deserted.

We never saw anyone.


A few minutes passed, we relaxed and chatted the night away.

This is it, I thought. The beginning of a summer love, something before now I only ever dreamed of having.

Ten years ago I was living with my daughter, helping her and her husband with their newborn son and their son with special needs. The stars had finally aligned in my favor. I was able to make a break from an abusive relationship.

Once I settled into my new surroundings my girls decided I should do some online dating. It was more like they were going to do it for me. You see, my picker was broken. I lacked the ability to pick myself a good guy.

I learned a lot during my thirteen months of online dating. I felt the way I always imagined a teenager felt.  I was out five nights a week, usually with a different guy each night.  I became an expert at sneaking into the house at dawn and not waking the kids.

Having been married at sixteen, a mother at seventeen, divorced in my twenties, and then a single mom into my forties, I never had the opportunity to know what it was like to act like a teenager. I certainly did make up for lost time.

After thirteen months I decided to take a break from my dating escapades and devote my free time to writing a book, something I always wanted to do. The break was short lived.

When the girls first showed me his picture my gut reaction was, “oh hell no!”  This guy leaning on a motorcycle and he was wearing a wife beater. His pick-up line was, “I see you love to cook and I love to eat, I think we will get along great.” I wanted to laugh but my daughter said look at his eyes. He wore a smile but his eyes told a sad story.

We emailed, texted like teens and then graduated to phone conversations. We both agreed it was finally time to meet.

My daughter and I went shopping for a new outfit. It was May twentieth but still a bit chilly in the Philadelphia area. I picked out soft spring-colored sweater. I was giddy, a foreign feeling for me.

When we left the restaurant the sun was still shining bright. I wondered if he was going to try to kiss me when he said goodbye. Instead he asked me to take a ride down the shore with him. I had butterflies in my stomach and felt a bit dizzy.

I wanted to say yes but what if he was an axe murderer? The shore is pretty much deserted that time of the year and there had been shark sightings. Why did I watch so many episodes of Forensic Files the night before?

I looked up at the dashboard of his truck and saw a little stuffed Winnie-the-Pooh and blurted out, yes I will go to the shore with you!  No murderer would ever have a Winnie-the-Pooh Beanie Baby on his dash.

My first summer love and I were married thirteen months later on that very beach where we shared our first kiss on our first date.

Eight years later, along with Winnie-the-Pooh on the dashboard we ride down the shore as often as we can just to sit on those wooden steps for a few minutes. We hold hands and look up at the sky to see all of the brilliant possibilities still ahead of us and feeling grateful for our midlife, endless summer love.

Read more from Doreen McGettigan on her blog

Doreen McGettigan

When Doreen’s brother was murdered, she was shattered. She dove head first into working; writing and learning. Anything to keep herself from feeling or dealing with her loss and the complete unraveling of her family. Doreen was fortunate enough to come in contact with some very special people at the Network of Victim Assistance. She joined a Homicide Survivors Group and then became active in the state of Pennsylvania’s largest and most comprehensive victim service organization, NOVA, as an advocate, board member and speaker. She has become a voice for those affected by violence and bullying. She has also become a champion for the elderly; who sometimes have trouble admitting they have been victimized. Doreen has written for several Philadelphia area newspapers. She is now a respected freelance journalist, content writer, ghostwriter and author. She works part-time as a caregiver for the elderly, most of whom are hospice patients. She is an active member of and also sits on the board of The Press Club, is a member of the Military Writers Society of America, the Nonfiction Authors Association, LB Creative Writers, Hot Pens, BC Speaker’s Bureau, and a workshop facilitator. She also owns a marketing company. The author lives in Delaware County, Pa. just south of Philadelphia with her husband John and two little dogs. Doreen and John have 5 grown children (2 more in heaven) and 13 grand children (their own little cult). Their lives are not boring.Instagram: doreenmcgettigan

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Cindy Falteich

Saturday 9th of August 2014

Touching post, Doreen. Thanks so much for sharing.


Friday 8th of August 2014

So so beautful.

You make me believe in love at mid life--and I don't. I know it happens but I'm so determined to be set in my ways

Doreen McGettigan

Saturday 9th of August 2014

You have to be open to love for it to find you:)

Carol Cassara

Thursday 7th of August 2014

The best things happen when you least expect them....

Doreen McGettigan

Friday 8th of August 2014

It really did sneak up on me. I never expected it to happen, ever.

Helene Cohen Bludman

Thursday 7th of August 2014

I love this story, Doreen. So happy that you finally found the man of your dreams and now you're enjoying life the way you should.

Doreen McGettigan

Friday 8th of August 2014

Thank you, Helene. I never in a million years thought I would be here.

Dr. Margaret Rutherford

Thursday 7th of August 2014

Doreen, this was breath-taking. What a journey you have had and I am so glad you have found happiness with what sounds like a wonderful man.

Doreen McGettigan

Friday 8th of August 2014

Thank you so much. The dreary day to day along with life's tragedies sure are easier to live through with an amazing partner. I'm still getting used to that...

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