Curt and Cindy's Story

Chapter 1

I knew "of" him, before I ever met him. I attended Towers Elementary School in Torrance and he attended Carl Steele Elementary just across Anza Ave, less than a mile from my school. I don't remember how or why I knew his name, but he must have been something special for us kids at Towers to care about anyone outside our great school.

I finally met Curt Ziemke face to face in sixth grade. Our two elementary schools fed into Bert M. Lynn Middle School. We both had Mr. Matz for sixth grade homeroom. Yeah, he was cool, but a little too cool, if you know what I mean. I was kind of shy and he was not. He had lots of friends and it seemed all the girls liked him. I remember his strong build and dark hair. My friend Chris McDonald was infatuated with him from 6th grade through High School; I respected that, and concentrated my feelings on Curt's friend Steve Sherrill. Curt and Steve hung out on the bleachers with a group of guys every day at lunch and recess. My girlfriends and I called them "The Monkeys" because they were always hanging around the bleachers. Of course, my friends & I spent a lot of time hanging around the bleachers also. Our school would have after school dances and I remember dancing with Curt a few times. I also remember skating the couples skate with Curt at Shamrock Skating Rink during school events. Boy could he skate. Backwards, forwards, spinning, he was definitely the coolest guy out there.

Like I said, my friend Chris had "dibs" on Curt. So although we hung out a bunch, he was pretty much off limits for me. That was ok, because I always liked Steve. But, there came a night in August of 1982, it was actually August 4th to be exact. We were both 16 and it was a warm summer night before our Junior Year. There was a party at Bob Young's house. He lived down the street from me, was quite a bit older, but asked me to this party. It turned out that Curt was at the party also. Curt sat beside me as we played quarters at the dining room table. There were quite a few people there and the room was high energy, loud and lively. Curt rested his hand on my knee under the table. He continued touching my knee throughout the night. I began to feel like we were the only two people in the room.

Something was needed from the grocery store so Curt & I volunteered to go. We rode together in Curt's 1967 Volkswagen Bus. It was yellow and white. The front seat was a bench seat. It was weird to be in a vehicle that had no hood. I remember pulling up in front of Alpha Beta and feeling like we were going to hit the yellow pole. We got what was needed and went back to Bob's and stuck together the rest of the night. At the end of the night we walked out to our cars and had our first kiss. While we were kissing, friends from the party were picking oranges off of Bob's fruit tree and throwing them at us. I remember the full moon, warm air and Curt's strong and confident kiss. I went home totally in love and smelling like oranges.

Chapter 2

That first kiss on a warm summer night on August 4, 1982, was the beginning of a relationship that continues today. We spent that summer hanging out like teenagers do. Curt was working at the Union 76 Gas Station around the corner from my house. I made a lot of trips to get gas in those day. It was back when the employees stood out by the gas pumps. He would take your credit card and after running it through the manual imprinter, he would hand you this mini clipboard with the card placed in a slot so you could sign the receipt. I was so impressed with his customer service skills and how everyone knew him by name. Even though I went to self serve he would always pump my gas and wash my windows (and he still does today!). He worked in the evenings so that left our days free for the beach.

Hermosa Beach, 2nd Street, was where all the kids from West High hung out. Curt would go with his group of friends and I would go with my group, we would all meet there and stay until the late afternoon. At lunchtime we would all walk to Mickey's Liquor. The guys would get big deli sandwiches; Curt's favorites were meatball or salami & cheese. I would get a bag of Funyuns and an Orange Crush. When we were not at the beach or work (I worked at F & H Nuts and Candies in The Old Town Mall, and then later at Baskin Robbins on Torrance Blvd.), we would hang out at my house. Curt was not allowed inside when my parents weren't home, so most of the summer was spent on our front porch. Curt always came over drinking a Big Gulp from 7-11. Sometimes we would go to the park across the street from my parents house and swing on the swings or sit in the shade under the trees.

Many weekends throughout the summer, my parents let me invite friends to their vacation home at Lake Nacimiento. We would go as a group, the girls would sleep in the house and the guys would sleep in a huge room above the garage. My mom would wake us up early and we would all go water skiing while the lake was calm. She would drive the jet boat and she taught everyone to ski. She then taught Curt to drive the boat so he could pull her skiing. My dad was happy to let Curt do the driving, as he had chores to do around the property. I don't remember shopping, planning or buying food for these weekend trips, I guess my mom did it all. Wow, thanks mom & dad, you guys were so awesome to have us all there!

Our Junior & Senior years were full of all the typical high school activities. We attended all the football games, dances, proms and parties. We went to lunch together everyday, usually with a group of friends. We enjoyed Perry's Pizza at Del Amo Mall, Taco Bell in Redondo Beach, Del Taco on Del Amo or Steve's Char-broiler. One time we were having lunch at Del Taco and Curt was fiddling with a packet of hot sauce. Back then the hot sauce was in little trays with a cover you would pull back so you could dip into it. Anyways, as he was fiddling the packet suddenly split open and squirted all over my white sweater. I mean all over it. There was no time to go home and change, so I grabbed Curt's jacket and ran for class. I remember sitting in short-hand, sweating and smelling like hot sauce. I was so embarrassed and nervous that someone would notice, it seemed that the clock was barely moving. I made it through and to this day whenever Curt is fiddling with a packet of hot sauce or ketchup, I gently remove it from his hand. The memory comes back and we both smile!

Much of our high school years were spent surrounded by friends. It seemed we never did anything alone. We would cruise the beach, enjoy the Spring Car Races at Ascot or go to parties. Always with a group of friends. George, Steve-O, Ray, Jim, Darrin and Michelle, along with many others are still special friends to this day. We have many memories that we all cherish from those days.

Curt & I graduated West High School together in 1984. I decided to attend college in Texas. Leaving my parents, my friends, my home, and most of all, my Curt was very emotional. Curt gave me a teddy bear and a ring the night before I left. We hugged and cried and were nervous about the future. We decided to break up in order to date other people. The morning I left for Texas, he stood in my driveway, waving until I could no longer see him.

Chapter 3

As I was driving off to college in Texas, girls were lining up at Curt's door, ready to go out with the guy who had been off the market for the last two years. It was August of 1984 and we had agreed to date others while I was away. Curt has never told me too much about what went on while I was gone, but I know for sure that he was busy with friends both male and female. Although I was having a great time at Jacksonville Baptist College, a small two year college with 200 students in a town of 12,000 people, I missed my parents and Curt. I was privileged to be able to fly home once a month for weekend visits. Curt & I always spent those weekends together catching up on what we missed.

When I came home for the summer we spent time at Lake Nacimiento and the beach, like we had never been apart. When it was time to go back to Texas in August, Curt drove me. We felt very mature being able to drive that far, stay in hotels and make our own travel plans. We visited Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico and other small attractions along the way. Looking back now I am amazed at the trust my parents put in us. When we got to Jacksonville, Curt helped me move my belongings into my dorm room and then we spent time visiting with Texas friends. I had babysat the previous school year for the Banks Family who lived in town. Michael and Rose Mary Banks had three children; Michele, Melissa & John. I was anxious for Curt to meet the family that was so special to me. I was happy when everyone bonded and we began creating memories which continues today. I had fun showing Curt the sights of Jacksonville; the lake, the old cemetery, the rival college and the Rose Gardens located 30 miles away in Tyler. Jacksonville was located in a dry county (no alcohol sold), but it wasn't far to the county line where Curt enjoyed purchasing beer since the drinking age was 18. I was not allowed to drink alcohol on or off campus, so I watched him enjoy a few beers, far away from the college. After purchasing his first pair of cowboy boots, we said our goodbyes at the airport and he flew home.

I graduated from college in May of 1986 with my Associate of Science Degree and returned to California. A part of me wanted to continue my education in Texas and become a teacher there. I absolutely loved Texas and the people there. I knew if I made that decision, my relationship with Curt would be over, and I would miss my parents tremendously. After much thought, I decided to continue my education in California. Curt had been working for my parents at American City Pest Control since high school graduation and was really enjoying his job.

In August of 1986, Curt & I had been out with friends celebrating a birthday at Black Angus in Torrance. Driving home in his 1981 black Chevy Step-side truck, with music blaring and us laughing, Curt suddenly blurted out; "Would you marry me?" I said "yes!" The next morning Curt called and asked me if I remembered what he had asked me last night. I said "yes?" He came over to my house and we went across the street to the park to talk. We sat at Entradero Park on the bench swing and talked about our future. Before college, we were not sure that we were meant for each other. After dating others while we were apart, we knew that we had something special. We planned our future on that bench swing and decided we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.

At the time of our engagement we had been together for four years. Curt knew since the beginning of our relationship that I wanted to save myself for marriage and he never once, in four years, pressured me to go against my desire. He was an honorable man back then and still is today. We set the date for our wedding for June 4, be continued.