How I Met Your Mother (Father)

The final year of the series How I Met Your Mother aired last Monday. There aren’t many television programs I regularly watch, but this is one I look forward to watching every week. After following Ted’s story of meeting his wife for years, I was anxious to meet the mother.

Since the show is based on Ted’s telling his children how he met their mother, I thought I’d relay the story of how I met your father. It’s not a nine year story like this program, and while I’m sure you’ve heard parts of it, I thought it should be recorded for posterity.

John and I were both students in Dr. Theta Purdue’s American History class at Western Carolina University during the winter quarter in 1977. Dr. Purdue started each Monday morning class with a five question quiz that had a significant impact on the students’ final grade.

One Wednesday in February, Dr. Purdue returned the quiz from the previous Monday to the protests of John and another student, Audrey, who sat next to him. They tried to convince the good professor that they should get credit for their response to question #3. She looked at their papers and said if they could spell the answer…Thoreau…correctly before the tardy bell rang she’d give them credit.

For the next several minutes the two of them shouted out combinations of letters in attempt to earn the extra points on the quiz. T-h-r-o, T-h-a-r-o-w, T-h-a-r-o. Dr. Purdue just smiled and shook her head no as she greeted other students entering the room.

Finally, I decided to show some mercy. I leaned forward and whispered to John, T-h-o-r-e-a-u. His response, “Say that again so I can write it down.”

T-h-o-r-e-a-u. In unison, he and Audrey correctly spelled the answer and true to her word, Dr. Purdue added points to their score.

During class John started speaking to the girl who could spell. I’m not sure how things would have worked out if I misspelled Thoreau or if he had been able to spell Henry David’s last name on his own. But in any case, we were brought together by a 19th century transcendentalist, poet, author, philosopher, and naturalist. Not exactly Match.com.

Of course, this is my version of how I met your father; if you want to get the other side of the story, feel free; but remember, it may be a long, drawn out story with twists and turns along the way much like the one Ted’s been sharing with this children for the last nine seasons.