Julie Symancyk wanted a date with Gary Stoll, a fellow in her 10th-grade homeroom at Little Rock's Central High School inand she knew just the girl who could help make that happen. If you were having a Sadie Hawkins dance or something you had permission, but most of the time you had to work around things.
His best friend was dating a girl that I knew.
Well, I became better friends with her and put the word out. This friend, a girl named Becky, was really more of an acquaintance -- nice, but not someone she would have chummed around with outside her romantic stratagem.
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But she passed on news of Julie's affections for Gary to her boyfriend, Doug, who told Gary, who steeled his nerves and called Julie to ask her for a date. Today, Gary swears he knew what was going on with the trickle-down news of Julie's interest in him.
He probably would have asked her for a date even if he hadn't gotten word that she wanted him to, although it might have taken him a little longer. He wasn't really quiet, he talked, I just think he wasn't sure that I liked him.
Boys back then were sometimes like that It was fun," Julie says.
You went to the show, you had a Coke, they brought you home. Going to the drive-in movie theater with friends, hanging out at the sand bar and at friends' houses were some of their favorite things to do after that.
Julie also liked to watch Gary play baseball. Gary and Julie broke up twice, once in their senior year of high school and once right after they started classes at Little Rock University now the University of Arkansas at Little Rockbut reconciliations came quickly both times.
He picked out a ring and came over one night and showed it to me. They chose St. Patrick's Day for their wedding because her mother was a Finnegan and because the timing was right.
Her mother arranged everything, from her dress, which was part of a package deal with a wedding planner, to the off-green white cake tinted just slightly to coordinate with her mint green and white color theme. Everything worked perfectly until their departure after the ceremony, upon which they discovered that someone had stolen everything from their car -- the outfits she had carefully packed in garment bags with matching shoes and purses, their suitcases, the camera, everything.
The theft derailed their plans for a honeymoon trip to New Orleans.
Gary retired as a driver from the Little Rock Fire Department. Julie retired as a registered nurse from Baptist Health. They have two sons -- Scott, who lives in Alexander with his wife, Niki, and their two children; and Mark, who lives in Bryant with his wife, Darci, and their two children. Julie and Becky stayed friends for a while but lost touch when Becky left Central before graduation.
But more recently Gary helped lead her to another friendship.
Date outside the box
Rita Cranford Atkinson, featured in last week's Right Time column, and her husband, Floyd "Buddy" Atkinson, also graduated from Little Rock Central inalthough she and Julie met just four years ago. Julie and Rita quickly realized they had a lot in common, starting with husbands who both retired from the Little Rock Fire Department.
Also, these couples both married on St. Patrick's Dayand drove to Memphis for honeymoons. Gary's family has ties to the Cranfords dating to the s. Spending time with friends is something they enjoy, and they also like to spend time at the cabin they built on Greer's Ferry Lake near Clinton when their boys were young.
About eight years ago, Gary bought Julie a red Corvette convertible. If you have an interesting how-we-met story or if you know someone who does, please call or :. Print Headline: She told friend to tell boyfriend to tell buddy