Picture the scene if you will: The year is 1980. The place, Naples in Italy. A young boy of 2 and a half is asleep on a camp bed in the shade outside the apartment block where he lives with his mum and dad. His dad is in the British Navy and has been posted to Naples for 3 years, they’ve been there for about a year already.
There’s some noises and laughing, and people moving boxes and such in the apartment next door – a new family moving in. They are Dad, who’s American Navy, mum and 2 daughters.
For the next 2 years, the families form a great relationship. There’s even an earthquake in ’81 and everybody sat outside on the street afterwards drinking brandy. (The boy slept through the ‘quake, despite all the crockery falling out the cupboards in the apartment. Bizarrely, in ’82 when Italy won the football world cup, the winning goal prompted an understandably large reaction from the Italian folk, and that woke him up…!) They all visited places in Italy together, and went to carnivals and festivals and borrowed each other’s cars and the mum’s babysat for each other’s kids. Tim, Sarah (9 years old) and Mandy (8) played together and read books together.
Then in late ’82, The Brits had finished their posting and went back to the UK. A couple of months later, the Americans made sure that during a driving tour of the rest of Europe that they went on before they traveled home to the States, they visited the Jellymans (if you hadn’t figured it out yet – that’s me) in their new home.
The Williamsons went back to the States. Jimmy, the dad, was posted to California somewhere and the mum’s kept in good contact thru the years, writing letters and swapping photos. Sarah married and had a couple of kids. And Tim mostly went nuts – the 90’s were a strange and crazy time to grow up in.
So let’s fast forward a bit. 2009. Tim and Sarah, get to talking on Facebook. And then Skype. And then some more Skype. And Gtalk. Then Skype everyday. 4000 miles apart, just chatting, but something else was happening…
One day, they were on Skype. Sarah was in a Starbucks, and Tim was probably in bed (time difference and all that jazz – he’s not ill, or bed-bound). The end of the conversation, brought the usual jovial “ok, well speak to you tomorrow maybe?”, “yeah, sure”. And then Sarah said, “I love you”. And Tim said it back…. Whoa! I’m in love with her!!!
So I visited her in the States a few times, and she came over here. And in September 2011, we got married on Ponte Vedra Beach in Duvall County, Jacksonville, Florida. Sarah moved over here in February of this year, and the plan is to move over to Jacksonville Beach as soon as is possible.
What an extraordinary journey. 10’s of thousands of miles. A few decades. But now we are very happy. Life is so good together. We even have our own hashtag: #jellylife