by Susan Gorin
Love at First Candy Bar
He had the keys to the summer camp canteen and invited me to take any snacks I wanted for the drive home, just before asking for my phone number almost 43 years ago. It was close to a love-at-first candy bar in the summer of ‘76.
David is from Queens and I am from Rochester. We had each been living and working in the metro DC area when we met at the camp where we later sent our two sons. I was invited to speak to a teen leadership program about disability awareness and he was there to supervise the program.
After dating the old-fashioned way, we planned a fun vacation that began with a Windjammer cruise off the coast of Maine, followed by stops in Quebec City, Montreal, and Toronto. It was in Montreal that we learned that ‘Elvis has left the building’ and it was on the very successful car trip home we discussed marriage.
A few months later, friends offered to drive Grandpa’s Cadillac down to Florida. We joined them and made a side trip to Disney World. As David and I buckled up to ride Pirates of the Caribbean, he asked me to marry him, claiming that he “wanted our life to be an adventure rather than a fantasy.” Really. We married in Rochester, honeymooned in Toronto, and returned to the DC area, where our new neighbors short-sheeted our bed — just like at summer camp.
Following the life-should-be-an-adventure theme, 25 years ago we were invited to join colleagues on an experimental City Slickers-type cattle drive to test whether they should market the experience as a new business. Though our 4-year old was too young, prior to flying out to Utah we took a quick riding lesson with our 8-year old and packed for the two-day adventure. It was to include a night sleeping out on the range among the horses, cattle, and possible rattlesnakes.
Ever try to find a rattlesnake bite kit in McLean, VA? And did you know that cows moo a lot when they are made to walk long distances for their summer grazing? You can view a two-minute YouTube clip of our trip, aired on a local Phoenix TV station, at https://youtu.be/6K6jh9vT2gU.
Raising Jesse (now 34 and living in Oakland, CA) and Daniel (30 and living in Nashville) with full-time executive director careers was another adventure. David has been President/CEO of the American National Metric Council (helping the US convert to the metric system — oops), the Solar Energy Industries Association, and the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds. He currently consults to the outdoor recreation industry and was inducted into the RV and Manufactured Housing Hall of Fame in August 2017.
In July, I retired after 25 years as Executive Director of the National Association of School Psychologists following 18 years with the Council for Exceptional Children.
Both David and I have each committed additional time to community service and volunteerism. I’ve served as board chair of an early literacy nonprofit, and member of boards for school safety, learning disabilities, and early childhood mental health. David is currently a board member for a nonprofit foundation to teach kids at summer camps about lifelong environmentally sustainable practices, and he volunteers weekly at the Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy.
Speaking of sustainable, we have been married for 40+ years. Transitioning from full-time work, we sold our family home in metro DC and now live full-time in Bay Isles after owning for eight years and spending only part-time here. How fortunate we are to have our health, a beautiful environment, ongoing opportunities to make a difference, and future adventures together.