His name was Winslow, and that was no help. "Can you imagine a girl crying out, 'O Winslow, Winslow?'" he used to say after a few beers.

He was so shy. He was from Natick, Mass, and in all his four years at Georgetown he only went out with friends of his sister, who was at Mount Vernon and a year ahead of him.

Long afterward he told me about this girl he saw at Darnell Hall, the student cafeteria. She sat by herself or with a girlfriend most of the time. He couldn't understand why she wasn't surrounded by boys, she was so delicately pretty. Day after day, he would sit at his table and she at hers, and he tried to get up his nerve to move in. She kept glancing at him and then glancing away. It never occurred to him that she might be as tongue-tied as he.

On Valentine's Day in his senior year he got a valentine. Handmade. A red heart pasted on a white card. And a message. "I love you I think."

Well, that was so cornball it had to be his sister. I love you I think. I mean, really.He didn't give it another thought. He was busy anyway, what with graduating and all, and he didn't see his sister till he got back home to Natick in June.

"Hey, thanks for the Valentine," he said ironically that night at dinner. "You made me laugh."

"Valentine?" she said. "What valentine?"