Senior Living



Social Security and You: Geezers, Floozies and Valentines

Tom Margenau on

This column should be coming out around Valentine's Day. And it was 50 years ago, on Valentine's Day, that my soon-to-be wife and I went out on our first date. How that came about makes for a cute story.

I had just started working for the Social Security office in the small farming community of Litchfield, Illinois. I had moved there from my hometown in Wisconsin just a month or so before. So I didn't know anybody in town.

One of my duties was to verify Medicare numbers for the billing department of the Litchfield hospital. A local lass named Becky worked in that department and called me every day to check those numbers.

Becky's boss knew that she was single and somehow learned that I was single, too. And he decided to play matchmaker. He invited me to the hospital for lunch. But the real purpose was so that I could meet Becky.

If it wasn't love at first sight, it was close. And I was smitten enough that a week or so later, I finally worked up the courage to call Becky and ask her out on a date. And being the poster boy for anxiety and anal retentiveness, I had scripted out my entire conversation with her. It was in diagram form. For example, if she said yes, it led to one series of questions and comments. If she said no, it led to another and much shorter series of questions and comments.

Fortunately, after some nervous small talk, her answer to my first question ("Hey, do you want to go to a movie?") was "Yes." So that led me down the positive side of my scripted question list.


I was asking her out to the hit movie of the time, "American Graffiti," about the last summer together of a group of high school seniors. The movie supposedly took place in 1962, and the tagline for the movie was "Where were you in '62?"

And that led to one of my clever scripted questions, "Hey Becky, where were you in '62?" Now in 1962, I was in 7th grade. And based on my one meeting with Becky at the hospital, I guessed she was about my age. So her answer surprised me. She said, "Oh, 1962 was the year I graduated from high school."

Oh, my god! There was nothing on my sheet of questions that covered that answer! I was asking an "older woman" out on a date! I stammered! I panicked!

I gave some thought to saying, "Oh wait a minute, I can't go out. I'm polishing my shoes that evening." There was nothing in my script to save me. I didn't know what to do!


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