As soon as she finished telling me this story, I started freaking out. How romantic! I mean, the part about not really wanting to marry my dad was a little upsetting, but this sounded like the love of her life. I told her that we should try to find him—maybe he was divorced, too. Pretty much all the baby boomers were divorced, so I thought her odds were pretty great.
She replied, "I did find him."
To give you a little backstory, my mom worked as a janitor in a courthouse. Yes, a janitor. She cleaned up jail cells and bathrooms and actually enjoyed her job. That's just how living saints roll, I guess. Apparently she'd been cleaning a courtroom the day before, and a lawyer came back because he forgot his briefcase. She looked up, and it was Tom. They both stared at each other in silence for a second. My mom uttered, "Tom?" It was like the Luke and Laura reunion on General Hospital, but without the male perm. They slowly approached each other in shock. She said he looked exactly the same, except he was bald. She said they talked about how long it had been and compared notes on their families. Then my mom dropped the "I'm divorced" card, just to see what he would say. Tom replied,
"I'm separated from my wife." Ding Ding Ding!
I said, "Mom, it's meant to be. This is the love of your life! I can't believe you guys found each other like this." But being more Catholic than the pope, my mom replied, "Well, I can't pursue anything until he's completely divorced."
I begged her to at least go to dinner. She already believed she was going to burn in hell anyway for getting a divorce from my dad, so I said, "Why not just be naughty, since you're already going to hell?" She laughed, and I was able to hear in her voice an excitement I hadn't heard in years.
Mom and Tom were married in April 2000 and are still going strong. They talk about "doing it," and it completely grosses me out. But I'm happy she's happy. As for my dad, he's still single. Please write to me if your mom is looking for a guy who can dance like a spider monkey with a little too much whiskey in him.
In the meantime, Facebook your first love. Hopefully he doesn't look like Don Rickles!
Watch Jenny tell this story to Oprah
Jenny on her breakup with Jim Carrey