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Brett Tomlinson: For this episode of PAW Tracks, alumna Simone Schloss shares a Princeton love story, with a 36-year gap in the middle.
Simone Schloss: I’m Simone Schloss, class of ’79. For the past two and a half years I’ve been with my boyfriend, Keith Corbett, class of ’78. And that would be an ordinary story except he was my boyfriend for three months when I was a senior at Princeton University in 1979. We went to Alumni Day 2015. We are both musicians, and we went to a workshop on beatboxing, being given by an a capella group. And we wandered out of that before it was over and found ourselves trying to get in to hear Queen Noor speak, but it was already closed down, and it was too early for lunch, so we ended up going off campus to have Indian food and by the time it was over, we called it our first date.
Keith and I were friends from our eating club at Cloister Inn. He was a year ahead of me, obviously. We had met when I was a sophomore. I was sitting in Holder Courtyard, and I was with a group of women and he came running by because he lived in Hamilton Courtyard. And they pointed him out like we were sighting some kind of rare bird. “That’s Keith Corbett.” And he waved. But the funniest part was that he never really ran anywhere, but he was in a rush that day. And a lot of the rest of our undergraduate acquaintance is a little fuzzy to me. Which makes it sort of funny that I’m coming here and wanting to document it. Or maybe that’s why I want to document. Because he — it took a while for him to get to know me, and he claims that we had a lot of long conversations in front of the eating club, when he was a senior and I was a junior. We were both — in sequential years we were both officers at Cloister.
And senior year rolled around, and I was undertaking a thesis in economics and it had three components. I felt competent to handle the economic theory, and also the interviews. I interviewed multinational treasurers in New York. I won the Walter Sauer Prize for most creative thesis in international economic policy. But I might not have done so well if I hadn’t gotten help with the Fortran programming, because in those days there were no computer classes for credit. And I don’t know quite how I got to Keith, but he was one of two computer experts that helped me, gratis.
And after I handed my thesis in — well it was spring. [laughs] And we’d been friends for two years and we started going out. But I had a job awaiting me in Washington and by July I wanted to be unattached and I broke up with Keith.
Fast forward about two and a half years. By the time I was halfway through grad school, and wondering what had come of him, he’d gotten married. And by the time he got divorced at 31, I was already three years married myself. And he remarried, so we both had children. And between us we have four. And well, he got divorced a second time, and I stayed married for a very long time, until that Alumni Day event in 2015.
So to continue the Princeton part, a job brought him down to Princeton for a year. So last year we lived in Princeton for a year. And we went absolutely gaga about being on campus. I had a bucket list — I was still in grad school, so I was doing my courses remotely and I became a life guard for the first time at age 57, and spent my free time lifeguarding at Dillon Pool this past year. The year was up and we moved and we remain very solid.
We were always the naysayers — we had that in common. We were the naysayers at Cloister Inn, and we were the naysayers at the beatboxing. And we’re two naysayers who say yes to each other.
There’s something about meeting somebody when you’re 20 that is different from later. Sometimes we liken it to ducks that imprint. You never know how things are going to turn out. And it’s great being in love with your best friend.
BT: Our thanks to Simone Schloss for sharing her story. Brett Tomlinson produced this episode, and the music is licensed from FirstCom Music. If you have a story for PAW Tracks, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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