“Hey, do you need help with the copy machine?”
Mr. Dave Witzig and Ms. Pam Osborn met eyes across the room, his first words to the new teacher ringing in the air.
“Do I look like I need help?” she thought.
This is how the story of the Witzig’s whirlwind romance begins — the young suitor’s “opening move.”
The twenty-six-year old was subtle in his advances.
After three years of eating lunch in the basketball coach’s office, Dave began eating in the teacher’s lounge, the lone male at a table full of ladies — Pam among them.
Each day, he’d slowly work his way down the table, moving his seat ever closer toward Pam’s.
He was suave.
Or, at least, he thought.
Pam noticed. Immediately.
One day, “he was over at the other table,” she said, “then [my] table, then a little bit closer, gradually easing his way toward me.”
Not very smooth, in her eyes.
Despite Dave’s flirtatious flounder, the twenty-four-year-old felt a connection with him.
It was September, no, October of 1997.
Looking back now, it’s hard to remember exactly.
What’s easy to remember — once Dave made his way down the table and the two young teachers started to casually talk at work — was his effect.
“It just felt comfortable,” Pam said. “I felt like I knew him.”
Even though she didn’t, she said, she quickly grew to.
It just felt comfortable, I felt like I knew him.
November 1 — their first date. Their first real date, at least. Sure, they ate lunch together every day, but this was different. This was away from their co-workers — away from Community.
Realizing that Pam, like himself, was a Christian, Dave invited her to a service at his church.
There, and during dinner afterwards, the couple began exploring an essential part of that comfortability — their shared faith.
“It was obvious right off the bat that something was different…from all the other dates I’d been on,” Dave said, and from that point on, the couple was practically inseparable.
They saw each other every day — during lunch in the Teacher’s Lounge, dinner after basketball practice, over the weekend on dates.
Along the way they discovered a second shared love — that of family — and they both decided to introduce each other to their parents as soon as they could.
A few weeks later, Pam was finishing up her dinner before a double date with Dave.
He’d planned the night: they would grab dinner with one of Dave’s best friends — fellow teacher, Dana Starkey — who had gotten married the year before, and then cheer on the Lady Iron at a post-season volleyball game.
When Dave showed up to pick Pam up, however, she learned that he had forgotten to mention one very important detail: their double-date was actually a triple date — with Dave and Pam, the Starkeys…and Dave’s parents.
While she was caught off guard — and dressed in an Ironman sweatshirt and jeans — she agreed to the change in plans.
That drive to Morton is something Pam, Dave, and the Starkeys remember to this day.
Even behind the wheel, Dave couldn’t stop talking to Pam — his eyes never seemed to leave hers.
Which meant, they weren’t on the road.
“I had a stick shift car, and [the Starkeys] were in the back,” Dave said, “and I guess I was all over the [road] cause I kept looking at [Pam] and doing stick shift stuff.”
The driving was bad enough, Pam said, that “to this day, Starkey makes fun of [Dave’s] driving.”
Regardless, the couple safely arrived, and Pam was a hit in the Witzig household.
By the end of the month — when they had dinner with Pam’s parents — the Osborns felt the same way about Dave.