From the days back in the 60s when I was a young “dashing Marine” and moving up into the 80’s when I was hot shot business man and airplane pilot I was grinding through life to finish school and begin a successful practice as a Doctor of Clinical Hypnotherapy. I managed to meet nice ladies from time-to-time and go on dates with them. Being a single guy, I enjoyed dating but not traditional dating. I preferred to date adventurous, bright, beautiful women who admired guys who were, shall I say, different (what you might call exciting). Hey, you only go around in life once, so it might as well be interesting and fun.
A friend of mine suggested I check out the Athlete’s Club. That club is sponsored by an organization that invited single people who enjoyed sports and participated in sports as athletes. I got into the club on the pretense that I boxed all Marine – Navy while in the Marines. The club always held a Saturday night dance at their facility for its members and member’s guests. I showed up at the club one Saturday night. I scanned the room for tables where people talked and enjoyed drinks. They also had a dance floor where people could dance to 80’s music. I looked for a table that had attractive woman seated at it. Bingo! I spotted just such a table. I strolled over, sat down and introduced myself to this trio of fine looking ladies. One in particular charmed me with her smile, lovely hazel eyes and a soft voice. Sure enough the music ended and I politely asked this lovely woman if she would like to enjoy the next dance with me. She nodded with a smile as her two girl friends looked at her like she was nuts. No doubt, they were the traditional guardians a single woman likes to have when out on the town.
The music started for the next dance. It was a slow dance tune. I led her to the middle of the dance floor and we embraced each other into a traditional slow dance mode and began to flow in unison with the music. We chatted as we danced. I learned that she had two children, one a teen the other younger. I indicated I liked kids (and I really do). She looked at me in amazement. She then laid her head on my shoulder as she snuggled closer while we danced. And, I’ll never forget it…she started to softly sing. Honest! The music being played was the Hermit the Frog song heard on Sesame Street. It was a love song and popular at that time. Okay, laugh, but I can tell you this woman had a beautiful voice and I was delighted to dance with her and hear her sing softly to me. We returned to her table. I learned where she lived and her phone number. She then stood and announced she had to go home (as did her guardian girl friends). I quickly asked her for a date to go to dinner in the next few weeks. We set the day and time and her friends, walked her out of the club’s facility. I was absolutely dumb struck. Her name was Janet. Oh!… but there’s more! Buckle up, your going to really like this!
It just so happened that Mother’s Day was to occur about a week before our dinner date. So, having her address I showed up at her door with a single rose and wished her a Happy Mother’s Day. I think she liked that because she grabbed my hand and gently pulled me into her house. She introduced me to her two children. It was a pleasant, brief visit as I didn’t want to overplay what I was up to. I learned where she worked. Stay with me on this… the plot thickens!
I, being a former U.S. Marine, typed up TOP SECRET orders in an authentic military style. These orders were put in a manila envelope and stamped TOP SECRET sealed and addressed to her attention. I then arranged to have these orders delivered to Jann at her place of work (IBM’s Credit Union). A teller received the envelope address to Jann (TOP SECRET) and handed it to Jann in her office. She opened it. Her friends at work gathered around to see what this TOP SECRET was all about. To summarize, the order was from Fleet Marine Force, TOP SECRET MISSION. It addressed her as a Captain in the Women’s Marine Corps who was ordered to participate as a spy on one Colonel Robert Dean (yeah, that was me). She was advised that the C.I.A. had learned that Colonel Dean was going to ask her out on a dinner date and pick her up at her residence (of course that day was the day and time of our dinner date). Her mission, as a Woman Marine in G-2 (intelligence unit) was to learn as much as she could about Colonel Dean, even it she had to flirt with him. She was also advises that Colonel Dean was suspected as being a foreign spy. He was an airplane pilot and would likely fly her to some exotic location for dinner. Meanwhile, she was to get as much information about Colonel Dean as she could, regardless of what it would take to do so. No doubt, her friends at work thought this was going to be one crazy date!
The day of our date finally arrived. I picked her up after work at her home and drove straight to the San Jose Airport where I had a private airplane reserved for me to fly on this date. When she realized I had parked at the private pilots parking lot at the San Jose airport, she looked concerned. She had never flown in a fixed wing private aircraft before. I opened the car door and gave her my hand and guided her up and out of the car and walked her over to the airplane nearby. I said, we are going to fly to a very special restaurant that has a private pilot’s runway where we will land. I then opened the door to the aircraft, jumped into the pilots seat and bid that she sit on the seat next to me. I started the motor up and taxied to the runway hearing tower chatter in my earphones. I took off and watched Jann’s face as we climbed towards the clouds. It was dark then and the ground lights beneath were beautiful as the engine roared loudly pulling us up into a starry night sky. From this point on, Jann was the Women Marine Captain disguised in civilian clothing and I was a suspected rogue Marine Colonel spying on the U.S. Government for a foreign country. Her mission was to spy on me at dinner and report to the fleet Marine Force the next day what intelligence she could gather form Colonel Dean. The contact phone number for her to call was, in reality, my private phone number.
The conversation in the plane was kept to a light conversation until I made the landing approach at the restaurant’s landing runway. I touched down, taxied and parked the plane. I could sense how amused Jann was via her facial expressions. She was having the time of her life and I loved it. She played her spying roll beautifully as did I.
I walked her into the restaurant and was escorted by the hostess to a reserved table. Jann and I talked. We laughed like kids. Jann had a Bailey’s Irish Cream (I didn’t have a drink because I had to fly us back). The steak dinner was delicious. We both played spies with great imagination and funny drama. Ummm, you can only imagine how that conversation went.
As it turned out, it began to rain quite hard. We finished our meal and desert. It was getting late and we both needed to get back home. Jann was beautifully dressed, high heels and all and I had on a very nice suit and tie. To get to the plane, we had to run about 30 yards in a rain downpour to where the plane was parked. We got soaking wet, running and laughing all the way. Wow! What a woman! Great sense of humor, fun, and oh, so beautiful even when dripping wet.
We got into the plane. I started it up and took off with the heater wide open to warm us up and dry us off. After 15 minutes the clouds began to clear and we saw a field on fire below. That’s when I told Jann, “you light my fire”. She blushed. Minutes later we could see the Bay Area lights in the distance breaking through the clouds as we approached San Jose. I called the tower requesting to land and was cleared to approach the runway. I called the tower and advised I had a beautiful blond on board and to please “kill the rabbit”. I then gently set the plane down at 70 knots with full flaps down. The tower killed the rabbit. That’s a pilot’s slang that tells the tower to turn up the runway strobe lights to full brightness and switch a flashing strobe pattern. At night, it is quite a light show. Jann was impressed. The landing was perfect. I parked the plane. I took Jann home and kissed her goodnight. Oh my, our first kiss after which she said, not bad for a Marine Colonial. We both laughed. I felt electrified. To detail an amazing courtship and engagement I’ll save for future articles. For now, know that we fell in love with each other on our first dream date and have remained in love with each other for over 35 years. Sometimes a guy really lucks out. Nine months after that date, I married Jann, the girl of my dreams and still is.