Chuck and I – How We Met

I have had so many people lately ask me how Chuck and I met and this is how we met. Since I have had many people asking, I figure I will share this with you all. I’m trying to keep it short, but I have a hard time since I’m long-winded lol.

A few years ago I wrote about how my husband and I met and about our marriage.

Chuck Divan- This is the picture that my mother in law showed me when she came into my work

Chuck and I met around July of 1980. His mom Marjorie came into a donut shop (Winchells) where I worked. She told me that she needed to get two dozen donuts because her son Charlie was coming into town since he was going to be on leave. Chuck was stationed at Fort Hood Texas and he was only going to be in town for a few days. She showed me his picture and I gave her my number in case he wanted to go do anything. I guess the whole idea of a man in uniform sounded good to a teenage girl lol. She took my number and that was that, or so I thought.

When Chuck got into Tucson his dad told him that there was a girl who gave his mom her telephone number. She had no intention of giving him my number, but his dad thought it was awesome.

I received a phone call the next day and Chuck asked me if I would like to go do something. I told him I was in a beauty salon since I was getting a hair cut and a perm. I told him that we could go do something, but it would have to be later since I was still getting my hair done. I told him I can go do something around 4 or so, and he was OK with that. We ended up meeting at the Winchells. I gave him a description of what I looked like and he told me what he was driving. I learned a very valuable lesson that day. That lesson was to look in the mirror before meeting a strange man.

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Like I said, I was getting a perm and a hair cut. When I left the salon, my hair was still damp. I didn’t think there would be an issue with my perm. It was supposed to be just a wavy perm. If I knew I was meeting Chuck for the very first time, I would have also chose something else to wear. I was living in Tucson with friends because I ran away from home. I didn’t have my own clothes. I was borrowing some clothes from my friend Robin, which she and her family were more like family since we all were raised together. But, Robin wore totally different clothes than I did. I was wearing shorts, not regular shorts, but ones that were like Daisy Dukes. These were for sure not the kind I wore. I also was wearing a tube top, which was revealing. Since this was at the end of the 70’s and 1980, it was the typical style of clothes. I did have my own shoes, but I had a pair of hers on since they looked better with the shorts.

b82b2b1b79a30057a78eb410fbd4d9d2I couldn’t figure out why I was having people, mostly guys whistling at me and stopping to see if I needed a ride. It didn’t even register with me. I don’t have a picture of what I looked like at the time, well, not till I walked into Winchells and one of my friends gave me this look and it wasn’t a good one at all. By this time my hair was dried. So, let me break down the over all look for ya. I had a perm that wasn’t wavy by the time it dried, it was kinky, not a little kinky, a lot kinky. If you know what an afro is, well, there you go. Then, I had the shoes which was like heels, but I can’t remember the name of them. I had red short shorts and a white tube top. When I seen how my hair looked like, I was assuming the reason I had guys stopping was because they thought I was a hooker. I would have thought I was also with how I looked lol. Needless to say, the following week I had my sister Joyce sneak me back into my house so I could get my clothes.

Chuck was sitting in his truck where he said he would be. I knock on the window of the truck. He opened his window and he gave me this crazy look lol. I didn’t look like the girl who his mom described to him.  He thought I was a hooker also. He couldn’t believe his mom gave him my number. I told him that I normally don’t look like that haha. We hung out for a bout 4 hours and then he went back to his parents home. I never thought I would see him again. If I remember right, he told his parents what I looked like. He ended up going back to Fort Hood that morning, so it was just the 4 hours that we hung out. He told me he would call me when he got there. I didn’t believe him when he said he would call, I was shocked that he actually did.

Over the next 6 weeks, we would talk on the phone and that was about it. He and I would talk about how he thought I should come to Fort Hood and move in with him. I mean, it was just talk. I was pretty impressed that he did call me every day and if he said he would call at a certain time, he called exactly at that time. If he said he would call at 6 pm, it was 6 pm, not 6:01. We started talking more and more about me moving to Texas. At the time I was 17 yrs old and I was still considered a runaway, even though my parents knew where I was living by then.

My parents came to Tucson to see if I would like to come home. When they came up, they told me that if I came home they would buy me $300.00 worth of clothes. It was close to the beginning of school, so they figured if they bribed me with money and clothes then I would move back home. I actually think it was more my mom who said that. I let them both know that they didn’t have to buy me anything, all they had to do is ask and really want me home. I would have given anything for them to just say that they loved me and wanted me home. I did move back home, but only for a week or so. Mainly I moved back because I didn’t want to be an imposition for my friends. Chuck and I were still talking every day and we were still talking about me moving to Fort Hood.

A week later, I ended up hitch hiking to Texas. I think Chuck was surprised that I made it there. We ended up living together. Chucks parents still didn’t know I was there, that is until they came to visit a month later and surprise, I was there. Thankfully I didn’t look like a hooker any longer lol.

This is one of those rare occasions where I talk about my medical stuff. I try to stay off this topic for the most part. Right around the time they arrived, I started getting sick. Not really like a cold or something like that. I was just really tired. I was a cross-country runner and on the average I ran about 9 miles a day. I loved running. The people we were living with thought I was faking being so tired. I was having problems standing up to do dishes, vacuuming and all kinds of things. The first time I noticed something was really going on was when I ran into town and I was winded. My legs were feeling heavy. I had to rest before I came back to the house. We were only a mile from the little store by us and normally I could do a mile in less than 10 minutes. On my way home, I literally collapsed and I barely made it home.

The guys wife and I got into it because she said I was trying to get out of helping around the house and that I was lazy. At was at that point that Chuck and I found our own place. By this time we only knew each other for 6-8 weeks from the time I met him in Tucson till this point. It was at the end of August or the beginning of Sept 1980. We moved into a small trailer and when Chuck came home from the base, I was on the floor crying. I couldn’t stand up and I couldn’t move my legs and it was getting worse. I couldn’t even get to the phone to call anyone and not even go to the bathroom. To say it was scary is an understatement.


Chuck took me to the ER. The ER couldn’t do anything because I was a minor. Over the next couple of days we went to the ER a few time. Then the one ER that was closer to the base actually took things serious, minor or not. One of the nurses thought I was weak because I was a druggy. They figure with my age and the era we lived in, it had to be drugs. Then the Dr came in and ordered a spinal tap. Within 15 minutes I was admitted and the next morning when more tests came in, they sent me to Scott and White in Temple Texas. That was the one that wouldn’t even let me be seen. They found out from the spinal tap that I had Guillian Barre Syndrome.

Within a couple of days, I ended up on a ventilator and completely paralyzed. I couldn’t open or close my eyes. I couldn’t talk and if I did talk, nobody could understand me. I couldn’t lift a pencil or anything. With Guillian Barre Syndrome, the paralysis starts from the feet and goes up. They found out that I got this from the flu shot. I carry a certain antibody and the flu shot and viruses reacts with them.

After a while, I was able to come home. I wasn’t able to walk or do anything then either. Chuck arranged for me to be dropped off at a friend’s house while he was at work. Now, think about this. He only knew me for a couple of months and some of that was only by phone. So, he would get up an hour before he had to leave work and help me get dressed, brush my teeth, help me go to the bathroom. He had to literally do everything for me. I couldn’t lift my hands. I couldn’t feed myself. He even had to feed me. We also found out that I was pregnant with my daughter Jessica. Chuck would drop me off at our friends. He would have to carry me into her house and they had a bed in the living room for me. He made sure whatever I needed, it was there.

One night after he picked me up, we were talking about how we were going to pay all of the bills. People in the military don’t get paid much and I couldn’t work. So, we only had about $800 a month. We were planning on getting married on December 14th. We did do a blood test since we knew we were planning on that. I think it was funny that we had that date, but neither of us asked the other about if we wanted to get married. It was like an unspoken and assumed thing.

We got the results from the blood tests and the approval that we are able to get married. They use to have it where people had to do a blood test to make sure you don’t have a sexually transmitted disease. But, at the end of October, we were just sitting around. The base was on alert so we couldn’t do anything. We could only go 15 minutes from the base in case of an emergency.

On October 30th, 1980 out of the blue, we said, well since there isn’t anything else to do and we are bored why don’t we just run into Belton.TX which wasn’t far from the house and we can get married. I really wanted to be married to whoever I was going to marry by Pastor Harry Myers. But, that didn’t happen. We grabbed our marriage license and my parents already sent me the permission slip to get married since I was a minor. We grabbed those papers and headed to Belton. Chuck had to carry me into the courthouse and they had office chairs with wheels on them. Thankfully I was a lot lighter than I am now. I was around 95 pounds at that time and pregnant. So, he put me on that and helped me sign the papers. I couldn’t write and I couldn’t hold the pencil on my own.

Ten minutes later, we were married and Chuck carried me back to the truck. Since I couldn’t swallow or really eat, we got an ice cream at the Sonic Drive In and I immediately got sick. I did call my parents to tell them we got married. They could barely understand me. They were relieved I got married. Not because of living in sin, they were happy because now they didn’t have to pay any medical bills.

shrinershospitalThe medical bills were also a reason we got married early. With how much I was in the hospital, we were really scared about what it is all going to cost. We didn’t know that Scott and White contacted the Shriner’s Hospital. I didn’t realize that my parents wouldn’t sign for any treatments and they refused to pay anything for my care and the one treatment that would have made my life easier was declined. About a week later we got a bill from the hospital and it showed that all of my medical bills, treatments and ambulance bills were paid by them. Find out more about the Shriners 

Since Chuck and I were married now, we didn’t have to worry about the medical bills since all the medical care for the military and dependents are covered. Which is good. I was in the hospital for almost a year off and on. When I gave birth to Jessica, I was barely 100 pounds.

Chuck didn’t have to stay with me. He barely knew me. We were only together from the end of July till October and only 6 weeks where we actually seen each other face to face. I don’t know how many guys would stick with someone under the circumstances that I was in. He never thought twice. I have to give credit to his parents on some of this. They raised their sons to be respectful and to not treat people bad and to not shreak from their responsibilities. I wasn’t his responsibility. He could have left anytime he wanted.

On October 30th, we will have been married for 37 yrs.



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