There’s something about living in the house that you grew up in that’s unexplainable.

It’s amazing and wonderful and poignant all at the same time. It’s like you are living in the middle of a new chapter, and yet? You can see all the chapters that have gone before and know that there are new chapters just around the corner.

Each room has a thousand stories.

Each room has a thousand steps.

And sometimes? Every so often?

You open a dutch door with brass hardware and an Easter wreath you made last year with the cutest buffalo-checked eggs.

And right then?

Right there.

In the middle of an ordinary day…

….something happens that reminds you of all the steps you have taken before.

Last week I had an argument with my husband.


It was over nothing.

It was silly.

And ridiculous.

But as most silly-ridiculous-arguments-over-nothing go sometimes, it started small and ended with frustration and hurt feelings and he left for work without it being resolved. My husband is a hospital pharmacist and he’d been called in for extra shifts and he’s been working a lot lately and five minutes after he walked out the door?

I realized I was wrong.

Really wrong.

And I missed him.

I stared at the dutch door that had just closed behind him as tears welled up in my eyes. And in that moment? I remembered something.

I remembered those same feelings with the same tears staring at that same door all those years ago.

The day he left for boot camp.

We had broken up because he was leaving for the Navy. So he stopped by the house one more time on his way to boot camp in Orlando to say goodbye and let me know he was leaving.

I stood at this exact dutch door on January 3 at 6:30am in the morning and hugged him tight and wished him well and waved goodbye and told him to have a wonderful life.

I thought I would never see him again.

He was nice and sweet and kind with twinkling brown eyes, but you see my friend…

….I broke up with him because I had big plans.


I was 21 and single with a prairie skirt and high heels with lace socks.

Watch out world.

And as he walked through this dutch door, he turned back to wave at me before he got into the truck. Then he smiled the smile I knew so well and as his eyes twinkled one last time for me….

…my heart gave a little leap.

But I ignored it.

You see I didn’t have time for distractions or boot camps or sailors or twinkling eyes.

I had plans.

So my plans and my prairie skirt and I returned to college. We clicked our high-heeled-lace-socked pumps together and scheduled dates and parties and tail-gating events and barbeques and moonlit walks by the river.

And it was fun.

For a while.

Until I heard a joke or a funny story or had a fashion emergency or received an A on a test or came up with a brilliant idea that only a pair of twinkling eyes would understand.

I tried to ignore it.

I tried to shake it off.

I tried to remember my plans.

But I couldn’t.

So I distracted myself with long phone calls to my mother and brownie fudge sundaes and episodes of Oprah.

Bless my heart.

And somewhere between 27 bites of chocolate and the Phil Donahue show and Oprah lugging in a giant wagon full of lard…..

….I realized I was still in love.


I was in love with a sailor.

A sailor I’d already said goodbye to.

A sailor I’d just broken up with.

A sailor who was currently halfway across the country at boot camp without a single solitary means of communication.

Back then it was different.

There wasn’t a cell phone or an e-mail or the internet or any way to tell someone that you were silly and you had totally changed your mind and you never wanted to be away from them again and you were totally, absolutely, positively 100% in love with them.

So I waited.

And waited.

Weeks went by and then a month and a half later the phone rang.

A pair of brown eyes twinkled from the pay phone at the other end.

It was my sailor.

And he told me he had waited an hour in line to call me from the pay phone at boot camp and he only had five minutes and he knew I was probably busy….

but he missed me.


The girl with the big plans.

He missed…

I said nothing.

I couldn’t.

I wanted to, but I was sobbing.

So my heart spoke for me.

And right then on a cold gray spring morning on a pay phone with a tender note in his voice, a twinkling-eyed sailor told a girl he loved her…..

…..and she told him she loved him right back.

PS  Ten minutes after this dutch door closed?

My phone rang.

It was my husband.

He called to tell me he missed me and I told him I missed him way more and that I was wrong and what was I thinking and that I was sorry and silly and ridiculous.

And that when he walked back through this dutch door tonight?

I’d be there.

Just like all those years ago.

Waiting with open arms. 🙂

PPS Happy Easter friends. If you are interested in making a DIY Easter wreath like this one? Here are all the instructions.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Elle Elle

    I would give anything to have my lovely Jewish boy from LA back with me. He could leave his dirty undies and socks in the living room. I would let him have recliners in every room. This super tall blonde Swedish dork would have given up her Candie’s slides and Debbie Harry hair for another day with him. Every small day can be another day in paradise. Unless you are alone. Thanks for the reminder. (P.S. —do pay phones even exist? Not here in Southern California.)

  2. Image for Mary Smart Mary Smart

    I loved this story! It made me cry a little and you can never be reminded too much about the importance of the people closest to you and what they mean to you.

  3. Image for Amy Jones Amy Jones

    This is such a beautiful story, KariAnne. I’m so glad you shared it, and that your Angry Lemon Sailor boy called you that day. Today is the anniversary of my first real date with a boy with long black hair and green eyes. We shared a 2 cheeseburger meal from McDonald’s and saw Forrest Gump at the movies. We’ve been married 26 years.

  4. Image for Rizae Rizae

    Love this! Met the love of my life while house sitting... married 2 weeks later! 40 years and still loving each other ⚘ Have a wonderful Easter together.

  5. Image for Maureen Maureen

    You have a beautiful way with words! I think if you wrote a novel I would be glued to my chair the whole time! You are a blessed woman with a beautiful family! Happy Easter!

  6. Image for Marilyn Marilyn

    Thank You for sharing this. Wishing you and yours a Blessed and Happy Easter. God Bless. Joan,Marilyn amnd Marion

  7. Image for Sarah Gunnarson Sarah Gunnarson

    What a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing it. You are such a talented writer and so creative. I love your blog.


    KariAnne, I love reading all your stories -- and today's was precious! You are so blessed to have one another! Have a wonderful Easter with your family.

  9. Image for Tracey E Tracey E

    I just LOVE your love story, and the way you tell it. You two are the luckiest, most fortunate people to have found your perfect match and still be in love all these years later. I remember when my high school sweetheart left for college in 1981, and waiting weeks for a letter. They didn’t have phones in the boys apartment. Have a blessed Easter

  10. Image for Detra Detra

    You and Denny have the sweetest love story! And anyone who has seen you together knows it’s still going on! Happy Easter Friends, Love you both.

  11. Image for Maris Maris

    Dang it, I cry over all these love stories of yours! I am 69 and still haven't found "the one", though I have dated MORE THAN 100 GUYS!!!! So, I am a little jealous, but more so, so happy for you and so pleased that you two love birds were a wonderful example for your children, who will now see that true, lasting, wonderful devotion to a mate is possible! May they find their True Ones, as well. And thank you, K, for sharing this beautiful story.

  12. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Stop making me cry!! Lol so happy for you and that phone call. We all have arguments it's the way you call, talk whatever to make up. Thanks for sharing. Happy Easter to you and yours!!

  13. Image for Nancy Nancy

    OMG - how lucky are those of us who subscribe to your website! I am sitting here crying over your Love of many years, how very touching and how lucky are we that you share with us. You are a true woman who loves with all her heart and isn’t afraid to show any of it; the good, the bad a nor the indifferent. I read and watch you every week and you always bring joy, laughter, sincerity, a tug at the heart - all of it. Thank you my friend - that’s how I feel about you. Thank you!

  14. Image for Susan Scampini Susan Scampini

    Oh. My. Heavens! I love you girl! Tears in my eyes. I have a 'sailor' too! It took me 40 years to find him, but it was worth the wait! lol Love your story, (and that you had high-heeled lace top pumps!) Thank you for sharing!

  15. Image for Lynne Lynne

    So sweet! And so glad he didn't let the fear of rejection stop him from making that phone call - either time! I almost lost my sweet beau, now my husband, and it was totally my fault. I knew that from the beginning. But when I came home from work one day and all the stuff he'd left at my house was gone, it really hit home. He wouldn't answer the phone all night. The next morning I drove the 45 miles to his house (I still had a key). I walked in and his best friend was there waiting for him to get back and they were heading to west Texas. I told him I was stealing all my beau's stuff he'd taken from my house and he had to face me to get it back, and not try to stop me. His friend said he was not getting in the way of me and my angry eyes. My beau was surprised when he got home, saw a bunch of his stuff locked in my car. I told him if he wanted to leave me, fine. But he was going to do it like a man. He wasn't going to turn tail and run when no one was looking. He tried to be hard for about 8 minutes (I timed it), and then I felt him soften and the rest is history. He later told me he tried to leave the way he did because one look in my eyes and he'd never be able to walk out that door. 24 years later I can count on one hand the number of arguments we've had. Most over silly stuff, too!

  16. Image for Rosita Rosita

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! I, too am a Pharmacists wife, however he was laid off almost 2mo ago & told me he was done with Pharmacy. There has been alot of prayers going for us specifically, for him ...he is at a hard place ...please keep us in your prayers. Blessings!

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