Tulsa World Magazine love story contest runner-up: 'The big mistake'

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We asked for your love stories and we received dozens of heart-warming responses. Here is a story from one of our  runners-up.

It was May 1988, I worked for Loyal Laplante Supply Co. One day each week, I met with a physical therapist at Children’s Medical Center in Tulsa. They held a seating positioning clinic for children with disabilities. The therapist and I would evaluate the children for custom wheelchair positioning and seating devices.

I was 38 years old and had been divorced from my first wife for about three years. There was a physical therapist there named Sandy that I had thought about asking out. There was a secretary named Cindy that I hadn’t thought about asking out.

One day, the phone rang in my office and the caller said, “Larry, this is Cindy at Children’s Medical Center, when you come over for clinic this week, can you bring me some more of your business cards?” ... I wrote the name “Cindy” down on my note pad, but my brain said, “Sandy.” We talked a few minutes and I joked around with her, so I thought, this is a good time to ask, so I said, “We ought to go out sometime.”

She replied, “I would love to go out with you.” I told her I had my girls, 8 and 6, that weekend and when I have them I liked to spend time just with them, but maybe the next weekend we could go out.

I hung up the phone and then looked at my note and saw the word, “Cindy.” It was then I realized I asked out the wrong person.

The following Monday, Cindy called me and asked me if I had ever been to the stock car races. I said, “No.” She said her brother-in-law drove in the stock car races Friday night and would I like to go with her. I said, “Sure.”

I was born with Sacral Agenisis and my height is only about 4 feet 10 inches tall. Cindy was 5 feet 8 inches tall, 26 years old and lived with her parents in Sapulpa, while I had an apartment in Tulsa. Friday night came and she drove to my apartment and then we took my car to the stock car races. I got to meet her parents and sister at the stock car races, and we had a good time.

After the races, we went back to my apartment, and as we were going in the door, my answering machine was going off and it was a friend of mine wanting to know if I would go bowling with him and his wife the following night. I asked Cindy if she would go bowling the next night, and she said she would.

It was about 11 p.m. when we sat down on the couch and began to talk and get to know more about each other. We talked and laughed for a long time until we realized it was 2:30 a.m. Apparently, she had already noticed that there was an extreme difference in our height and said, “It’s 2:30 a.m. I have got to go home, so if you are going to make your move, you better do it before I stand up.” We both started laughing, but I did give her a goodnight kiss before she stood up ...

Saturday night, I drove to Sapulpa and picked her up. On the way to the bowling alley, I said, “Cindy, I have something to confess.” Then I told her, “Remember the day on the phone when I said we ought to go out sometime?” She said, “Yes.” I said, “Well, I thought I was talking to Sandy.” Her face turned red and she said, “Turn this car around and take me back home right now!” I said, “No, that is not going to happen. I had such a great time being with you last night; that is why I asked you back out tonight. So, you are going to have to put up with me for at least tonight.”

We continued to see each other and talked on the phone nearly every night.

Several weeks later, I had a business trip in Baltimore. Cindy took me to the airport and told me to call her when I got to Baltimore and settled into my hotel room. I called her, and one of the first things she said was, “I need to talk to you about something serious.” Most of our time together was laughing and having great conversation, nothing serious. My pessimistic side popped up and I thought she is going to tell me something like, “You’re a nice guy, but I think we should see other people” or “I just want to be friends,” but she didn’t want to tell me face to face.

Instead, she said, “Larry, I think I love you.” I paused, which I am sure scared her a little, before I said, “Well, Cindy, I don’t think I love you.” I paused again and then said, “I know I love you.”

We talked another two hours on the phone. That was the longest three-day meeting I have ever been in. I couldn’t wait to get back to Tulsa.

On her birthday, Aug. 6, I asked her to marry me. On Oct. 7, 1988, Cindy and I and my two daughters, Penny and Sarah, drove to LaVerne’s wedding chapel in Miami, Oklahoma, and got married.

I asked her out by mistake. I have heard that sometimes you have to live with your mistakes. I guess that’s true because I have been living with Cindy for more than 31 years now and I love her more and more each day.

— Larry Salyer, Skiatook