I’ll never forget the day I first met Stephanie.
It was the beginning of the fall semester of 2010 at Luzerne County Community College. I had two sections of the same class, Introduction to Mass Communications. One met Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the other Tuesdays and Thursdays.
When I called roll on the first day of the Tuesday section and Stephanie answered “here,” I looked at her and said, “Uh oh. I have to tell you right now I am probably going to call you by the wrong name all semester because in my Monday class there’s a girl who looks just like you.”
“You must mean my twin sister,” she said.
I admit I didn’t believe her at first. “This is the same girl playing a trick on me,” I thought. I wondered who put her up to it.
But I was wrong. There were two of them, all right. Two intelligent, interesting, enthusiastic, dedicated, talented, wholesome, young women, who looked exactly alike.
I also remember the first day Jimmy met Stephanie.
Just before the start of an Advertising Theory & Design class, Stephanie walked in to ask me a quick question. Jimmy was sitting in the front row at a computer. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the look on his face. And I could almost see little birds flying around his head as they do in the cartoons. I could have sworn I heard his heart pounding.
Her question answered, Stephanie turned around and left. And Jimmy, saying he’d be right back, ran after her.
Before long, Stephanie and Jimmy were “studying” together most every night, and soon they were the unofficial couple of the mass communications department.
I’d like to say it was clear sailing after that, but it was not. Stephanie arrived at a point where she felt she needed to stretch her wings.
One of Jimmy’s friends didn’t like what was happening and took it upon himself to tell Stephanie what he thought of her. But he didn’t get very far. Ever the gentleman, Jimmy, broken heart and all, stepped in and told his friend to leave Stephanie alone. Jimmy didn’t know if Stephanie loved him, but he sure knew he loved her.
Although each kept in touch with me via email or an occasional visit, I lost track of Stephanie and Jimmy a bit when she went off to Bloomsburg University and he to Misericordia. But Jimmy re-emerged as a newspaper colleague after he earned his bachelor’s degree, and during the final weeks of my stint as editor of the Sunday Dispatch, wound up assigned to my staff.
One evening, just after he took the job, Jimmy was to meet me at the newspaper office for an assignment. When he walked in, he had Stephanie on his arm.
You should have seen the looks on their faces. It was most likely only topped by the look on mine.
“God is smiling today,” I recall thinking. “These two belong together.”
Well, I suspect God was smiling again last Saturday.
That’s when Stephanie and Jimmy got married.
A little more than four years from the time they showed up together in my office, and almost eight years to the day from the time they first met at the college, they made it official.
Watching them dance their first dance as a married couple, my thoughts returned to that first newspaper assignment I gave to Jimmy. I told him to go down to the Second Friday Art Walk on Main Street, talk to some of the people and develop a story.
Hand-in-hand, off he and Stephanie went.
They came back about an hour later with an apology. They couldn’t find the Second Friday Art Walk, they said.
“You have to be kidding,” I thought, but I couldn’t be upset. Jimmy and Stephanie had found something a lot more important than the Art Walk. They’d found each other.
Besides, Jimmy had plenty of Second Friday Art Walk stories to write in his future. And Pittston Tomato Festival stories. And Paint Pittston Pink stories. And St. Patrick’s Day Parade stories. And West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival stories. And school board meetings, and council meetings, and all sorts of other things.
Jimmy is Jimmy Fisher, a young man who became to many in Greater Pittston what I once was, the face of the Sunday Dispatch. Everyone who dealt with him over the past four years got to know him as the salt-of-the-earth gentleman he’s always been.
Jimmy is about to move on to another venture in the media, but I have no doubt he leaves behind a most favorable impression on the hundreds, if not thousands, of people he’s served.
I’ve taken a few minutes to tell you about Jimmy Fisher today because Jimmy Fisher has proven something I need to have proven.
He’s proven Leo Durocher wrong.
Durocher is the baseball manager who said, “Nice guys finish last.”
Ed Ackerman writes The Optimist every week. Look for his blogs online during the week at pittstonprogress.com.