Mike Pence had been attending a nondenominational Christian church, but one Sunday morning in October 1983, he went to St. Thomas Aquinas, the nearest Catholic church. A striking young woman with dark hair and eyes played guitar and sang during the service. Taken by her stunning beauty, Mike caught up with her afterward in the church parking lot and tried to engage her in conversation. He mentioned he’d also like to play guitar during services. She shrugged him off, saying he’d have to talk to the person in charge of worship music. Realizing he was getting nowhere fast, Mike introduced himself.
Through their brief interaction, Mike learned her name was Karen Whitaker and her sister, Sheryl, like Pence, was attending McKinney law school.
They ended their conversation and went their separate ways. Mike was infatuated, but frustrated. He didn’t ask Karen for her phone number. The way she was carrying her guitar hid her left hand, so he couldn’t tell if she was single or married.
“He’s enthralled with her. It really is love at first sight for Michael,” says Jay C. Steger, Mike’s best friend. “After he talks to her, he beelines over to my office, which is only about three blocks away, and literally talks for an hour and a half, describing everything about her—her hair, her brown eyes, the way she played her guitar, the kind of guitar she played, and so forth. And after this went on for [so long], I said, ‘Michael, how long did you talk with this girl?’ He said, ‘Two or three minutes.’ I threw him out of my office at that time and said, ‘I’ve got work to do, get out of here!'”
Mike couldn’t get the brown-eyed beauty out of his mind, so he looked for a way to find out if she was married. The first thing he did was call the elementary school where Karen was teaching art. He told them he was working on a church directory and needed to know if he should put “Miss” or “Mrs.” in front of Karen’s name. They told him “Miss.”
Then Mike went to the Indiana University registrar and asked for Sheryl’s phone number. No, he was told, it’s against the school’s rules to give out students’ personal information. He walked away .. .then went back and explained why he wanted the number. His honesty touched the registrar and she relented. Handing him the number on a slip of paper, she jokingly told Mike to make sure she was invited to the wedding.
Hanging out with a buddy later in the day, Mike built up the nerve to call Sheryl to ask for Karen’s number. However, when he called, Karen answered the phone. Flustered, Mike hung up on her. His buddy encouraged him to call her back … so he did.
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SOURCE: Charisma News, Leslie Montgomery