Thirty Years of First Dates

Thirty Years of First Dates

It started around Thanksgiving thirty years ago. It started with hot chocolate.

Like something out of a film noir movie,  she walked into my office in the middle of the afternoon and requested hot chocolate and snacks. Not for her, but for a client. Not just any client, her clients were cats. Not just cats. The musical Cats.

Suzanne Block, sales manager at the Wyndham Franklin Plaza, had as a client the cast of the Broadway Musical Cats. They were in the Thanksgiving Day parade in Philadelphia.

Suzanne wanted them to have hot chocolate and snacks, on the float, in the parade. untitled

As a catering manager I had one job. Put hot chocolate and snacks on the Thanksgiving Day float of the production company from the musical Cats. Cats wanted hot chocolate.

I forgot.

I didn’t completely forget. I sent a huge thermos of scalding hot water and plenty of snacks. Just no hot chocolate and no tea bags. Just useless hot water.

The other shoe fell on Monday.

Suzanne walked into my office a tad upset. Really upset. But I fixed it. “Lets send them a fruit basket,” I said. She watched attentively as I built and wrapped the most beautiful basket of fruit. Suzanne took the fruit basket to the Walnut Street Theater to apologize and got two tickets to the show.

She took someone else.

Passing in the hallway of the hotel a couple of weeks later, she struck. “If you have nothing better to do New Years Eve, let’s get together,” she said.  “Only if you wear your tuxedo”, she said. (In an 800 room hotel on New Years Eve, the uniform is a standard black tuxedo.)

I had no problem leaving it on and we agreed to meet at the Rose Tattoo on 19th and Callowhill Street.


That was 31 years ago tonight. New Years Eve 1984. We were engaged by Valentines Day.

We married the following May.

To be continued…..


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  1. Terri Johnson
    December 31, 2014 / 6:49 pm

    Excellent story.

    • JohnCooke
      December 31, 2014 / 7:38 pm

      Thanks Terri, I am glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Hugh Murray
    January 9, 2015 / 9:02 am

    Ok now I’m curious (and late on my comment). You and I have known each other for over 20 years. Is that also where the name Cats Meow came from?

    From Ginny and I………
    Happy belated anniversary you crazy kids.