Share / Discuss

More Matchbox Love ...

Our tale begins in elementary school, but it’s not what you might think! We both lived in Chevy Chase, a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C., in houses six or seven blocks apart. Our fathers were both economists in different departments of the federal government, and, we both went to the same elementary school. We were two years apart in age, an eon at that age. We did not know one another!

In 1945, Merrillan’s father was sent to Berlin by the U.S. government, and the family joined him the next year. The family of a cousin of Woody’s also went to Berlin. Cousin Jane and Merrillan, who met on the boat going over, became good friends. Both girls went to school in Switzerland because their parents were not happy with the Army school in Berlin. When Jane learned that Merrillan lived in Chevy Chase, she said, “You must know my cousin Woody Thomas.” No, they did not know one another!

Later, when Jane learned that Merrillan was going to Swarthmore, she said, “You must look up my cousin Woody Thomas.” So she did. In the fall of 1949, Woody and his roommate had set up cameras and lights in Bond to take pictures of student groups for the Halcyon. Merrillan was there and introduced herself. Woody’s roommate took a shine to her and suggested that Woody take her on a date and report back. The report was favorable and the roommate dated Merrillan while Woody dated Merrillan’s freshman advisee. The roommate and the woman Woody was dating both came from the same state and they rode home on the train for Chrismas together. When they returned, the roommate was now dating Merrillan’s advisee, and, after waiting a decent interval, Woody started dating Merrillan.

They were married in July 1952. In a couple of weeks they will celebrate our 62nd wedding anniversary!