In October 1978 (the 15th to be exact), Scott Feist was an Airman — one stripe — in the United States Air Force, stationed in North Carolina. He had been on temporary duty in Germany for two months and had just returned.
“I was lying down, trying to rest from the jet lag when my best friend Dale showed up and insisted I go with him to the girls’ dormitory and meet his new girlfriend, Karen,” said Scott, 57, of New Baden. “We snuck into Karen’s room — guys weren’t allowed past the common area of the dorm there in those days — where I met her and her roommate Patti, who had just gotten to her first base from basic training.”
Patti was less than thrilled.
“She was terrified that they were going to get caught with guys in their room,” said Scott. “She wanted nothing more than for Dale and me to leave. She wouldn’t even speak to me, and the thing after the last thing on her mind was to even date me.”
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Be friends. Everyone falls in love and many get married, but being friends makes staying together so much easier.
After a couple of weeks, he and Patti got together with other friends at the base Recreation Center.
“I walked her back to her dormitory at the end of the evening,” he said.
That was the beginning. They married April 12, 1980, had three children and made the Air Force a career.
We asked Scott a few questions:
Q: What did you like about each other from the start?
A: “Aside from her being beautiful? Lol. The old story opposites attract, I think. She has a tendency to be quiet and reserved, where I can talk to anybody. For about a month after we first met, Karen and Dale were constantly trying to fix us up, telling her ‘Scott really likes you’ and telling me how Patti really liked me. Finally, we shut them up and started dating. Almost 38 years later, here we are.”
Q: What do you like to do together now?
A: “We do breakfast or dinners out on the weekends and then, of course, babysit our youngest granddaughter, Heide, who lives here, and travel to wherever our daughter is stationed to see our other granddaughter, Erin. In the summers. we spend a lot of time with our friends at a place with a pool we call ‘The Club.’”
Q: What do you do now?
A: “We’re both retired Air Force and work on base. Patti is the FOIA Manager for the 375 AW, and I’m a contractor working information technology systems. We have three kids. Gayle, the oldest, has our granddaughter Erin and is an Air Force weather forecaster in Louisiana. Joe, 34, lives here with his family. Our youngest, Tyler, 23, is still home.
Q: Best advice you have on staying together?
A: Have patience. (Thank God, she has a bunch.) Be willing to compromise. Just because it’s what you want doesn’t mean it’s the right thing. Think of others who will be affected. Be friends. Everyone falls in love and many get married, but being friends makes staying together so much easier.”
Q: Do you do anything special to celebrate Valentine’s Day?
A: Nothing really special that day. Normally, we are working if it’s during the week. I used to send flowers or she would send an edible arrangement, but we both work in buildings where deliveries are difficult to get. We’ll do a nice dinner over the weekend, maybe on The Hill or somewhere else in St. Louis.”