The Paper Chase and Other Chases

This Saturday, March 4, 2017, marks the 40th anniversary of the first date my husband and I ever went on. We’d planned another date in early January 1977. That date had been to see The Paper Chase, a movie about first-year students at Harvard Law School. We were first-year students at Stanford Law School—the same scholastic environment, but with better weather.

Unfortunately, Stanford Law School at the time was not so enlightened as to have finals before the Christmas holiday. We faced them shortly after our return, which meant our entire vacation period was spent in preparation. Moreover, the student film society decided that The Paper Chase was the perfect entertainment for the Sunday evening that everyone returned from break. The next day reading week began, and first-semester finals followed a few days later.

My husband-to-be (though we didn’t know that was what he was then) was late returning to the dorm that Sunday because of flight delays after his Christmas in Missouri. I waited until fifteen minutes before the movie was to start (it was playing at the law school a block away), then headed to the theater with other classmates from our dorm. Later, I saw hubby-to-be come into the theater, and shortly thereafter, I saw him depart. He later told me he was so worried about finals he couldn’t watch the film about law school students stressing out. (I watched and enjoyed it, though I can’t say I enjoyed finals.)

Fast forward a couple of months. First-semester finals were over, and we were deep into the spring semester. It was March 4, 1977, a Friday evening, and another movie was playing on campus. I can’t remember what it was. I think it was something awful, like Straw Dogs. He’d asked me to go with him, and I’d accepted.

Before we went, I called my mother, because March 4 was her birthday. I told her I was going to the movie later with a friend.

“A male friend?”


“A date?” Her tone was a cross between parental inquisitor and conspiratorial girlfriend.

“I suppose it is,” I said, and didn’t release any additional information.

After the movie, we went out with some other classmates for late-night pizza. He made me eat anchovies. Why I ever married him after that, I don’t know. The movie might not be memorable, but the after-effects of the anchovies were. That’s the one and only time in my life I’ve eaten anchovies. Despite my gastric distress, our relationship progressed rather rapidly after March 4, and we were married in late November.

Since this year is the 40th anniversary of our courtship, you will probably be hearing more about it in the months ahead. Happy 40th, hubby, all year long!

What do you remember about your first date with your spouse?

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  1. I enjoyed this, Teresa. I always love to hear about first dates. On our first date, Derek told me he had a twin sister and I asked if they were identical. LOL. I guess I was nervous.

  2. I like anchovies! Also, I have been eating a lot of sardines lately. Cheaper than salmon and equally protein-packed.

  3. Pingback: Our Fortieth Anniversary: Memories and Treasures Through Generations | Theresa Hupp, Author

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