I met Lee in 1957. The year after moving to Drake.
I met him at Drake but he went to Iowa State and was an engineer. I was just a very chance, fateful meeting. There was a mixer at Drake and he and his friends would come down to meet girls I guess. I wasn’t planning on going to the mixer but eventually I got convinced. Lee was there and he asked me to dance. Again, Drake was very white at the time and he and I were the only people of color. I suppose he was just curious to know who I was and when I first saw him I said to myself, “Ah, he’s not going to bother” because he was busy dancing with other girls. But He did end up coming over and we started talking. He wanted to know if I was “that girl from India”. I wasn’t the girl he was talking about but I did know the girl he was talking about. I actually knew her from when I was living in India. She was very pretty, very vivacious. I told him I’d try and get her address (laughs).
We continued to talk and out of nowhere he asked me if I danced. I thought he meant social dancing so I said, “yea, for fun.” And then he said, “but do you dance your own dance?” And I thought this was a little odd. And I responded, “as a matter of fact. I do.” We talked about music and he was very fond of jazz. He talked about Duke Ellington and Count Basie, explaining to me that Duke was not really a Duke and Count Basie was not really a Count, and I let him go through it because he was so intent. When he was finally through I said, “You know, I grew up on that music. My father was a fan. You were just so into it I didn’t want to interrupt” (laughs).
After these few short conversations I didn’t think I would ever see him again. We started off kind of funny but I ended up getting a letter from him asking if I would please go out with him. So that’s how it started. We never actually connected until close to Christmas of my first year. We had met in the fall but it took a while because I had a very busy work schedule. We knew by the time I was about to take the ship out of the U.S. that we were kind of serious about each other.