Dancer/choreographer Erica Wilson-Perkins remembers fondly her first encounter with the man she would eventually marry.
While back home in Colorado Springs following her college graduation, the young dancer worked as a sales clerk to make extra cash.
One day, a handsome Army guy walked in, browsed around and picked up a coat to buy.
It soon transpired, however, that he
didn't really need the garment; he
wanted to meet the saleswoman.
The two eventually became engaged, but she spent the next couple of years pursuing a master's degree in choreography at Florida State University while he obtained a transfer to Columbus, Ga., to be as close to her as possible.
A talented and ambitious artist, Wilson-Perkins had no trouble getting job offers.
At 25, she became a professor of dance at the University of Illinois in Urbana and the couple married on Dec. 27, 1995.
new post, the young professor developed jazz dance and Pilates Method courses and founded a performance company with her
Things were not as upbeat for her
"My husband left the military but was not happy about it," she
"And I knew our situation wasn't right.
I was 25, hanging out with the big boys professionally and enjoying what I was doing, while he
worked as a paralegal, but it just wasn't his
eventually gave up on civilian life and went back into uniform as a member of the National Guard
, but his
career-oriented wife kept him on the move.
When frictions in her
academic department turned life unpleasant in Illinois, Wilson-Perkins
moved to Wayne State University
By this time the couple had a son, who is now 13.
husband transferred to the new city, the union did not last much longer.
They separated after only five years of living together.
"You know, when I told my mother that I'd be talking to you for this article, she frowned and wondered whether I should be doing this," says Wilson-Perkins, who is today the lead dance instructor at Palo Alto College.
With the passing of years, Wilson-Perkins
has become friends with her
Though remarried, he
often to discuss issues in his
life, and their son always spends summers with his
never dropped the Perkins half of her
last name, which is his
echoes what Priesmeyer
said about divorced parents: "Once married, you are always connected to that person."
It is interesting to note that in a way her
marital story is the reverse of Priesmeyer's
While the latter felt too dependent and yearned for her
own voice, Wilson-Perkins
recognizes that her
"sense of independence was transferred to the marriage.
I didn't allow my husband to be the husband," she