1956–It was an office romance. Thelma Aguilar and Chuck Adkison worked together for the Navy on North Island. Thelma insists that she had a crush on Chuck back then. Chuck recalls that he was in awe of her exotic beauty and felt a little outclassed. They talked, laughed, and finally dated.
Their dates consisted of such events as the races at Del Mar, dancing at the Hideaway–an "in spot" in Hillcrest, where Thelma says Chuck was a "big man"–impromptu carpooling, and even a visit to Tijuana!
When Thelma asked Chuck if he had ever eaten "long rice" Chuck envisioned a long reed pulled from a paddy and prepared in some foreign manner! Thelma had never been to a Tijuana strip club and will probably never go again! They were both so young and vulnerable.
As time and circumstances are wont to do, Thelma and Chuck’s career paths and social circles went through numerous changes. As their activities drew further apart, their dating came to an end. They both married, and their memories were put in archives.
Fast forward to January 2000–Chuck was asked to a friend’s house for a meeting prior to a bridge party. Chuck did not play bridge at the time, and some will say he still does not play bridge! As Chuck was leaving, Thelma–a member of the bridge group–recognized him. She pointed her finger at him and said, "I know you." Chuck made what he thought was a clever remark and said, "Am I supposed to know you?"
They talked a bit and finally exchanged names. It was not until Chuck was halfway up the hill out of Mission Valley that he remembered who Thelma was–the woman he was in awe of 44 years ago! Since they were both now available, Chuck called the hostess of the bridge party the instant he arrived home and asked for Thelma’s phone number. That evening, Thelma declined to let Chuck have her phone number.
All Chuck had to go on was a name, the knowledge that Thelma had a condominium somewhere in Mission Valley, and the fact that they had a mutual friend. Not finding a listing for her in the telephone directory, he used the only resource he had. At every opportunity, he badgered the mutual friend for Thelma’s telephone number. Finally, Thelma relented and Chuck got her number.
Their first date the "second time around" was to meet at Prego’s for dinner! During dinner, Chuck spilled two glasses of Chianti on two separate sets of white linen. This had all the makings of a date gone bad!
In spite of the early obstacles and faux pas they now have a terrific relationship. They enjoy each other’s families and friends and such activities as dining, dancing, tennis, bridge, golf, and even sailing–providing the breeze is gentle and the boat is not allowed to heel more than two degrees!
Chuck and Thelma are active in community college classes for chorus and physical fitness. Thelma is a docent and choir member at the Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala. She is also a doting grandmother, helping to raise her only grandson.