All tied up: Couple finds love at IU
He was tied up and in his underwear when she found him outside of her sorority. She giggled knowing that her boyfriend was part of the candlelight ceremony that had happened that night.
Charlie and Linda McClary both grew up in Bloomington, Indiana. Linda first recalled meeting Charlie at a kids track meet when she was five.
“My mom and I ‘saved’ Charlie,” she said. “He had been dropped off at the wrong field and was alone and crying.”
While Charlie might not have recollected this memory, they both agree that they met each other while they were in high school.
It was the spring semester of Charlie’s senior year. They had lunch at Dairy Queen and two friends introduced the two.
But for Charlie McClary, the introduction was more than just a pure coincidence.
“I had asked a friend of mine, who knew her, to introduce us,” he said. “I had asked one of her friends if she was interested in me.”
Their romance was only getting started.
Linda was hesitant.
“I was a junior and he was a senior,” she said. “I didn’t think he would ever go out with me.” The week after prom, Charlie and Linda prepared for their first date. It would be a memorable one for the young teens.
“Our first date, I totaled my car.” he said. “My dad came to my rescue and provided me a second car to finish the date. When I returned Linda to her home I felt I needed to talk to her parents as long as they wanted since I did not meet them when I picked her up. This caused me to miss my midnight curfew by 15 minutes.”
When Charlie got home that night he was grounded for three weeks.
“I ended up with two black eyes [from the car accident},” Linda said.
She remembers the interrogation her friends gave her when she showed up to school that Monday. It didn’t take long for the two to become a couple.
Charlie and Linda’s relationship continued into their college years. They both attended Indiana University and found ways to make time for each other.
“I never had to think about it,” Linda said. “It was so easy to balance college and Charlie.”
However, they didn’t always think that each other was “the one.”
“We broke up in college for a few months.” she said. “I wanted to make sure Charlie was the one so I dated others for a short time.”
The sudden change perturbed Charlie. “I was not happy about (the decision), but in retrospect she had a point.”
By the time she resolved her doubts, Charlie was unsure of their relationship.
“It was so hard to watch,” Linda said.
Eventually, Charlie realized his feelings for Linda and the two grew back together as a couple.
Like any couple, the two spent their free time going on dates like walking the IU campus, dancing at Alpha Sigma Phi parties and cramming for exams at the laundromat.
Both involved with Greek life, Charlie and Linda participated in many traditions like lavaliere, pin, and engagement. For lavaliere, a fraternity guy would give a girl a necklace with his house letters on it. This symbolized the two becoming boyfriend and girlfriend. During the next step, pin, a fraternity guy would give his girlfriend his fraternity pin. This meant the couple was very serious about their relationship. Engagement was when the fraternity guy asked his girlfriend to marry him. All three steps were part of Charlie and Linda’s relationship.
“I lived in Pi Beta Phi and sometimes you would see a sign on the inside of the front door of the sorority that said their was a candlelight ceremony that night,” Linda said. “All the girls would stand in a circle and pass around one candle. If you were lavaliered you blew it out the first time it got to you, you would blow it out the second time it got to you if you were pinned and you would blow it out the third time it came around if you were engaged. No one knew in advance who it was. It was a very special ceremony.”
For the other part of the candlelight ceremony, “The fraternity would strip the guy down to his underwear, tie him up and leave him in the front hall of the sorority,” Linda said. “I even found Charlie a couple of times.”
Charlie and Linda McClary are still together today and still live in Bloomington. They were married in 1985. Charlie works as a Vice President of Information Technology at IU and Linda works as a travel agent. They have two kids, Charlie and Scott, who went to IU just like their parents.
“I think we have both made each other better people,” she said.