The story most people hear me tell about Summit is meeting Nolan on Day 1 (August 25, 1990). As I said before, I went to Summit to get an education and to serve God, not find Mr. Right. So, of course, once I set my mind in one direction, God does a switcheroo and sends me in another!
Nolan and I were on brother/sister floors. That first evening our RA’s took us all out around Fort Wayne to see the “sites” (those of you who have been to Ft. Wayne can chuckle here!). I don’t remember if they even drove us by the Fort itself, but we did got to Power’s, Coney Island and the Hill (which, it turns out, was in a bad part of town!).
When I first climbed into the van and introduced myself and asked who everyone was, Nolan was just a guy in the back who said, in a distinctive accent, “I’m Nolan Spenst from Nort Dakota and I’m a Pastoral Ministries major.” (No, I didn’t misspell “North.” I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a North Dakotan say, “NorTH.” It comes out as “Nort.”) My response, “Oh.” (He told me later he was not impressed with me either–just another face.) However, by the time we’d reached Coney Island near the end of the evening, I was definitely interested but concerned about how old he was. Y’see, my first boyfriend was 9.5 years older than me, so dating a younger guy just didn’t appeal to me. Somehow I managed to get the conversation around to asking him how old he was. “Twenty-three.” YIPEEE!!! I was a happy, happy camper!
We started hanging around together and immediately had people coming up and asking us if we were dating. The answer, “No.” Labor Day weekend I had to go home for a wedding, so I rented a car. When I needed to return the car, I asked Nolan to give me a ride back to campus. On the way back he said, “Y’know, you’re wondering about me and I’m wondering about you.” “Yeah,” I replied, “And the whole campus is wondering about both of us!” We both agreed we were not interested in playing dating games and would strive to be honest with one another. We also decided we didn’t want other people feeling awkward around us as a couple, so we wouldn’t hold hands, etc. on campus and make others feel like third wheels. By the time we got back to campus, we were officially a “couple.”