How I Met My Husband Summary

Alice Munro

How I Met My Husband

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How I Met My Husband Summary

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“How I Met My Husband” is a short story written by Alice Munro in 1974 as part of her collection of stories titled Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You. It is about a woman who meets her husband in an entirely unexpected way but prefers the story everyone makes up about how they met.

When a small plane lands at the neighbor’s house across the street, Edie goes to see it and meets Chris, the handsome pilot. She is looking for romance, but she does not know much about it. She has been at her neighbor Mrs. Peebles’s house, and decides to dress up in Mrs. Peebles’s finery to pretend to be a refined woman. Chris is thirsty and taking a drink from the hose, he sees her. She is embarrassed, but pleased, when he tells her that she is pretty.

She goes back to visit him later that night, and he shares a smoke with her. She convinces him not to tell Mrs. Peebles about what happened earlier in the afternoon, and when he agrees to this, she believes that she is special to the young pilot.

They continue their relationship, with Chris coming by every day to get drinks of water, until one day Alice shows up. She is not pretty or young, but she has an engagement ring with a single tiny stone. She claims to be Chris’s fiancé. That night Edie watches through the blinds as they leave together in her car. They return and walk in opposite directions, which makes Edie happy.

The next day, Edie makes a cake for Chris, and they get together while Alice goes with Mrs. Peebles to the lake. Chris admits that he will be leaving. They kiss. He is sensible and stops before it goes further. When he leaves, he promises Edie that he will write her.

When Alice and Mrs. Peebles return, Edie lies at first saying that Chris has flown one field over, but she is goaded into telling the truth. Alice is distraught that Edie and Chris were intimate, but Mrs. Peebles discovers that Edie’s version of intimate is only kissing.

Edie waits by the mailbox every day, hoping for the letter, but it never comes. Eventually, she gives up and stops waiting. She does not want to become like so many women who lose their whole lives waiting for someone who will never come. The mailman tells her he misses seeing her every day by the mailbox. They go out, and this turns into a lasting relationship, leading to marriage and children.

Edie knows that everyone believes that she waited every day by the mailbox because she wanted to see the mailman, and she does not correct this perception. She understands that this version of the story makes people happy and she does not wish to change it.

One of the themes of the book is that love finds us in unexpected places. Even though she is waiting by the mailbox for a different man’s letter, ultimately her decision to wait catches the attention of the mailman. He turns out to be the man she’s been waiting for. Her initial heartbreak turns into the best course of action for her life.

A common feature of all the characters in the story is the sense of futility in their dreams and behavior. Loretta, a side character who helps Alice locate Chris, believes that all of life is drama and intrigue, and she pursues this entertainment with fervor. Edie is annoyed with this behavior and hates how self-important Loretta is.

Edie is also a bit self-important. She believes that she and the pilot share a special connection although he has already pledged to love another woman. This woman, Alice, pursues Chris doggedly even though he has shown no sign of wanting to get married and settle down with her.

No one in the story recognizes how silly their preoccupations seem, but the author makes it clear that the base emotions each character experiences are somewhat futile. Edie’s most significant discovery in the story is that, although she looked down on Alice for following Chris around, she begins to display the same behavior that she despises in Alice. She waits by the mailbox even when it becomes clear that Chris will never write,

Munro’s surprise ending leaves the reader with a sense of peace and satisfaction. We believe that Edie will stay jilted and that her lesson in the story is that she should never trust men, but it turns out that she has already met a man who will love her the way she deserves. He believes she waited by the mailbox every day for him, and later, as he tells the story to others, she allows him to believe it because it makes her happy, and he has made her so happy.

Munro lets us into Edie’s secret. This twist ending of the story stays with us, allowing us to believe that love stories can have a happy ending. It does not matter that love started off hurtful and wrong. If we are open, love can find us anywhere.