Mom Teaches Son That 'Love Is What You Do'

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P.J. Goetz and her son Sam at a StoryCorps booth in Tampa, Fla. i

P.J. Goetz and her son Sam at a StoryCorps booth in Tampa, Fla. StoryCorps hide caption

toggle caption StoryCorps
P.J. Goetz and her son Sam at a StoryCorps booth in Tampa, Fla.

P.J. Goetz and her son Sam at a StoryCorps booth in Tampa, Fla.


P.J. Goetz had been on her own for two years when she met her husband in a bar she had gotten into using a fake ID.

"What I did and what you get to do are gonna be two different things," she recently said to her 11-year-old son, Sam, when he asked her to recount how she and his father met. "So, I was 18 years old and, um, I had a fake ID, and I was at this bar ... Oh my goodness, I can't believe I'm telling you this."

Goetz said that when her future husband sat down next to her, she told him somebody was already sitting in that seat. "I don't care; I just have to meet you," he responded.

"He made me laugh, and that's what I needed right then — I needed to laugh a little," she explained to Sam.

The couple talked for four hours, but parted without exchanging numbers, said Goetz, who then went home and described her future husband in her diary as "very good-looking, but insecure."

"The next day, I was on my couch watching some afternoon TV [and] folding laundry, and I had told dad what apartment complex I lived in, but I didn't tell him what apartment or where I lived. So he drove in to the apartment complex and just laid his hand on the horn, and he just was driving through the complex," she said. "I went out on my balcony, and I saw him, and I said, 'Oh my God, that's that guy from the bar last night,' and he was like, 'Oh, hi, there you are, I've been looking for you!' And that's the way he found me."

Though the couple has had some ups and downs over the past 23 years — including a two-year separation — Goetz said her husband has taught her the meaning of love.

"Marriage isn't always pretty. I think sometimes we act like little children, and we need to be more mature about it, because it's a privilege to be married to somebody, and you need not to disrespect it like that," she told Sam.

"Love is as much a feeling as it is an action. To love somebody is not just how you feel about them, but what you do, also."

Produced for Morning Edition by Nadia Reiman. The senior producer for StoryCorps is Michael Garofalo. Recorded in partnership with WMNF in Tampa, Fla.



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