Mike was living with his parents in their apartment in Evanston, and his career at Field Enterprises was progressing nicely. He commuted to work on the commuter rail system that went directly to the Merchandise Mart from Evanston. The station was a short walk from the apartment.
Often he spent weekend time down by the lake, playing some tennis and getting into "touch football" games at Dawes Park, down by the lake. The guys who played there were mostly "weekend athletes". Mike made a number of friends with them, who played 52 weeks a year, regardless of the weather. Some were regulars, while some played intermittently.
One of the occasional players was a professional hockey player named Eric Nesterenko, who played for the Chicago Blackhawks. He was a nice guy and a very good athlete...but very tough to block out or defend against. (This was the same man Libby had dated...but no "connection" to Libby was made, as she hadn't met Mike yet.)
Another occasional player was Art Platt. One Sunday, he mentioned he was looking to move nearby and was seeking a roommate or two. Mike was interested, and together they found a small house north of downtown Evanston and signed a lease. They also found another roommate for the 3rd bedroom, and Mike became a true bachelor.
It wasn't a "swinging bachelor pad" (by any definition), because Mike had little experience with women...and the 3rd roommate was gay. Art talked Mike into having a party and inviting anyone they knew. For Mike, this meant inviting some fellow FEEC employees; Art had connections for single women. The word went out, and the house prepared for a party in the Fall. People started arriving. Mike was in the basement, adjusting the music, when one of his friends rushed down announcing that "a whole basketball team" of women had arrived (Mike's interest in tall women was common knowledge).
Mike went upstairs and saw that there was indeed a group of four tall women who had just arrived. He identified himself as one of the party hosts and started a conversation with one of them, Libby Payne. (He admits that she was the most attractive, as well as the best dressed!)
This was the start of their relationship - but it took time and wasn't without some drama...[more]