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Tonya Cartmell  

The best thing I ever wrote

It may surprise you to know that the best thing I ever wrote was not a book, story, essay, or even a school assignment. The best thing I ever wrote was short, to the point and brought me the love of my life. It was an online personal ad.

Yes, that’s right. I met my husband online. Now you have to understand that this was before all these online dating sights that help you meet your match. This was in the early days of meeting someone online. At that time, you posted an ad on Yahoo. It had a few questions that you answered on things like smoker vs non-smoker, type of education, and age range. You also answered similar questions about yourself and uploaded a couple of pictures. Then came the tough part…writing a short ad to promote yourself so you stood out amongst all the others. Once that was done, you submitted it and waited for a ‘wink.’ That’s how someone lets you know they want to communicate with you.

Luckily, I didn’t wait long before I received a wink from my future husband, Stacey. Being 34, with one divorce already, made me slow to want to meet in real life. We emailed back and forth for two weeks. I still have our emails in a box in our closet. Included in his emails was a copy of his pay stub and driver’s licence. I wanted to be sure he was gainfully employed and not hiding anything. In my 20s, I worked as a parole officer, and as part of my nursing career, I worked on the sexual assault domestic violence team. I will fully admit that I’m not always trusting of people. Telephone scammers barely get past “hello” with me.

When I was finally brave enough to call him, we talked for over 9 hours. He was away for work, and in those days, cellphone companies didn’t have free long-distance calling or unlimited minutes. He was also giving a presentation in the morning, which was shortly after we got off the phone. We talked and continued emailing for another two weeks. During this time, I also had one of my friends pretend to be a flower delivery person. She took flowers into his office and told the receptionist she was instructed to deliver them directly to him. He was so surprised he forgot to tip her.

You can reveal and discuss a lot through emails and phone calls. When we finally met in person, it was comfortable and easy. Like we were old friends. We were married a little over one year later and just celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary.

I am thankful every day for that one small, short ad I wrote nineteen years ago. It changed my life and brought many great adventures.