Gary and Susie Singer will tell you that his road to proposal over fifty years ago started with a pair of Gary’s pants. Gary, a self-described introvert, was a student at University of Virginia. Susie, an outgoing woman who loved to party, was working for ATT on the White House account. The two met on a double date—but with different partners—and were immediately drawn to each other by their mutual likes.
They were surprised to find that they both drank Southern Comfort and Coca-Cola, both shared a passion for Motown music, and they both loved the 1820s grounds of the University of Virginia campus.
Gary was attracted to Susie’s “cool and comfortable” personality. She was also a risk taker, making “booze” runs in her 1966 Pontiac LeMans convertible. But Gary was most impressed with her dedication to helping her father care for her invalid mother. And it didn’t hurt that she had a “great pair of legs.”
Susie recognized the computer/engineer major as an “intellectual with a future.” She liked his “head of cute curly locks” and his focus on American history, architecture, and gardens. Her fun side was also attracted to the “sports car guy.” (He still drives the 1959 Austin Healey from his college days.)
The relationship took a serious turn during an all-night Motown themed fraternity party. It seems that Susie, being tall with very long legs, had already been sizing Gary up in more ways than one. Because she always had trouble finding pants that fit her, that night she told Gary to take his pants off.
Gary may have been surprised at the unusual request, which was made in a public place, but he complied and to Susie’s delight, the pants fit her perfectly. Gary says it was at that moment he knew he wanted to marry her and so began what he calls their “unconventional personal relationship process of requesting, negotiation, and agreement.”
While Susie’s parents approved, Gary’s parents hadn’t yet met Susie. So Susie embarked on a solo trip to meet Gary and his family in Luxembourg, where Gary’s father served as a NATO diplomat. When her plane was delayed and she missed her connection, she worried that his parents would think her irresponsible. Navigating the tricky waters of communication, she caught a train that got her there on time. Gary’s impressed parents were completely won over.
For convenience, the couple decided to marry when Gary’s family was in town for graduation. Immediately following the commencement ceremony, Gary donned his outfit for the wedding ceremony.
Gary began his successful 33-year career with IBM in information technology. They found Ridgefield when they searched within a certain radius of his work and moved into the oldest structure in town, a former trading post. Their passion for old houses, history, and gardens has led them to serve on various town boards and committees. They are also the proud owners of the “controversial wildflower front lawn,” now a certified pollinator pathway.
In May, Susie and Gary returned to University of Virginia to celebrate the school’s 100th year anniversary, their 50th wedding anniversary, and his 50th class reunion.