Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Yin to my Yang

Thirty years ago this month (at 17), I won a speaking contest in a California statewide competition. Kathy Greene won a related statewide art competition. At the time I remember marveling at her use of color in oil paintings of California's missions. She recalled a geeky public speaker who could spin an interesting story.

On August 31, 1980, I was assigned to the Lagunita dorm at Stanford. So was Kathy Greene.

We started dating on September 1, 1980. We just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.

Within 24 hours of our time together, I realized that she was the Yin to my Yang. I was math, science, engineering, black and white, digital 0's and 1's, Zen, and monk-like asceticism. She was art, music, culture, color, analog, Victorian clutter, and Joie de vivre. I was completely left brain, she was completely right brain. Together we were a whole brain. On September 2, 1980 we agreed to support each other throughout our education - I would do her math and she would do my art. Together, we could do everything.

Back then, Stanford cost almost $15,000 per year and we needed funding after our scholarships ran out. I went to the Stanford Law library, studied the US tax code and wrote a tax computation program (call it early TurboTax) that businesses could use to write payroll checks on CP/M and early DOS computers. Kathy wrote the manual, designed the advertising, and did all the corporate graphics. We sold thousands of copies from my dorm room.

I was asked to create something special for Steve Wozniak's 33rd birthday and I designed electronic greeting cards with synchronized audio and video that ran on 1980's computers. I patented the idea and included the odd concept that someday there will be a big network connecting everyone that would enable sending of electronic greeting cards between computers. (Next time you send an e-card, you can thank me for the royalty free license!). Kathy created all the graphics and digital artwork.

We've traveled the world, survived medical education, and raised a 17 year old together. She's introduced me to the cultures of the Far East, the music of Simon and Garfunkel, and the art of Maxfield Parrish.

She's been faculty at the School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, faculty at Bentley College, and a studio artist in South Boston.

She recently started her own blog - Art that is Life and opened the NK Gallery in Boston's South End.

She's my best friend.

It's great to marry the first person you date - I've been able to invest all my energy in a single life relationship. I think it will last.

9 comments:

Paul Levy said...

Sweet!

Anonymous said...

Proof positive that God does exist...and he has a sense of humor.

Congrats

Ms.Crystal said...

An amazing story of two people who compliment each other so well. Congrats on 25 years

Didi Davis said...

Congratulations on 25 years! At 20.5 years of marriage to my best friend, I share your happiness.

Rocky said...

Great story, John! Congratulations from someone married to his Kathy for going on 41 years and heading for the Mediterranean.

jamesacooley said...

I also married the first person I dated and was still in high school when we became engaged. We have now been married for 30 years. Sometimes I find evidence of a benevolent Creator in the mysterious way the "right person" will simply appear in front of us -out of the billions on the planet.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful! Congratulations, and thanks for sharing.

Suki Tsui said...

That's so sweet! You two make a wonderful couple. And the three of you (you two + daughter) make a terrific family. You have a perfect life! You must always have a big smile on your face! :)

mr01 said...

I am a new-bee to Dr. Halamka’s blog, but I have concluded that the Halamka family may not be of this world. My suspicion is that all 3 came from the planet Krypton. As John and Kathy became aware of Krypton’s impending destruction, they began constructing a spacecraft that would carry them to Earth. The spacecraft lands in rural Massachusetts where they eventually make their way to Boston. They discover that they have superhuman powers. John and Kathy teach young Lara to use these powers responsibly and to help others. Just a thought on an early Sunday morning :)...