It was the summer that I graduated from Antioch and I was basically extending a co-op in Yellow Springs. I was living in a shack on High Street. An extension cord from the main house brought me heat and entertainment from a radio. Water was heated on the oven and brought back to me in a deep pot for my daily bird baths. It wasn’t a sexy existence, but it allowed me to embrace the town of Yellow Springs that I found rather elusive during my three year Antioch stint. I was helping a guy build a house and I was, oh-so occasionally, writing articles for the Yellow Springs News under the wise tutelage of Amy Harper, then editor of the News.
So when I left Current Cuisine with a hot cup of bisque in hand, heading for the YSN for my next assignment, I pondered; was that smile from the tall, incredibly gorgeous young woman, who served my aforementioned soup, equivalent to some kind of coquettish provocation? In her mind – I can tell you now since she is my wife- she thought I was gay. Not knowing this, I waited outside the store and watched her closely interact with other costumers. Her smiles were not as large or as sincere.
Sitting in Amy Harper’s office as she read off a list of possible stories for me to do the following week, an idea was hatched. “Hey, Amy, why don’t I write a feature about people in their twenties living in Yellow Springs?” Amy’s eyes blinked, caught off guard. I explained that people in their twenties living in the village, other than Antioch students finishing their degrees, was pretty rare. Most young people flee the town only to return a decade later or so to start families. Of course, my primary motive was unrevealed to her. This story idea could achieve great things and I could get paid as well. First, I would be able to ask out the gorgeous woman at Current Cuisine disguised as an informal interview, and I could also be sure that she was in her twenties. I was a little worried about that because her parents picked her up after work one afternoon. I was borderline stalking this young lady and that type of obsession had to end. Amy loved the idea and gave me a list of people I could interview. I shoved the list in my back pocket where it remained for the rest of the summer.
I strolled into Current Cuisine the following day. By the way, they catered our wedding eight years later and gave us a 100 dollar gift certificate for a wedding present. I told cute, tall, gorgeous girl, whose radiant reception put me on edge in a giddy, playful way, that I was from the Yellow Springs News and that I was doing a story about people in their twenties. I was waiting for the verbal slap, “But I’m only 18.”
I walked out of Current Cuisines with a pretty impressive smile myself and I wasn’t carrying a steaming cup of soup this time, but something more delicious and hot: her phone number. She was 23 years old and her name was Heidi Hoover.
Our interview was the following night at Young’s Dairy. Within 15 minutes I told her that this interview was just a ruse and that I just wanted to get to know her better. I looked down at my milkshake and stirred it. Her answer couldn’t have been any better: “I’m house sitting tonight. Would like to get a six pack and come over.” I stopped stirring my milkshake.
It was a romantic tryst that lasted for a couple of weeks. Heidi was home from Ohio University where she just graduated and was working in town, living with her parents. She had other plans. She spent the next fall traveling South America and then did an internship at a bird sanctuary in New Mexico. I stayed in town and became a substitute teacher. We both thought that we would never see each other again.
At this point I was looking to get out of Yellow Springs but something always kept me here. I befriended a film director who was about to create his life-long dream of a movie. He asked me to join him so I stayed in Yellow Springs for another year. Heidi came back from New Mexico and was applying to the Peace Corps. We ran into each other in town. She tried to get away from me. I was her summer fling and there was no reason to taint that memory. I told her there were other seasons to explore. We eventually explored them all.
She left for the Dominican Republic to start her two years in the Peace Corps. We had been dating for five months: just long enough to fall in love but making commitments were conveniently side-lined by both of us. As Heidi went to save the world, I continued doing theatre, writing and selling plasma.
Then I hit it big. Al Denman, retired Antioch Professor, hired me to paint his barn. With mineral water still in my skin and paint flecks in my hair, I flew to the Dominican Republic the next week.
We were still years away from matrimony which took place on a rainy august day in the pine forest, 2005, yet that trip to the island of Hispaniola solidified a propensity of commitment for each other that lasted on and off for a handful of years.
When I went to New York City, she moved back to Yellow Springs. When New York City didn’t offer strong programs in environmental education, she moved to Stevens Point, Wisconsin. We were both exhausted with this long distance dalliance that she cut the relationship off in the winter of 2001.
I spent three days drinking HBO and watching bourbon.
The only positive result I can say about the tragic day of 9/11 is that Heidi feared for my life and realized how much I meant to her. She moved to New York City the following year where we both taught in the New York City School System for the following three years.
Since Heidi made the sacrifice to come to New York for three years, I agreed to come to Yellow Springs for the rest of my life. A pretty good deal; after all, I really just came for the soup.
Jonathan Platt ‘96
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