Carol Ann Zombolas is the earthy, warmhearted, deep-voiced blonde with green eyes. "She conquers even without wanting to," one friend says. "She is so trustworthy," adds another friend. She is an ingenue some men see as a femme fatale.
With a throaty laugh, an on-and-off southern drawl and an adventurous disposition, she is good company, entertaining and at times mystifying. Relatives and friends say she never loses her temper. She is as reassuring and steady as an older sister--and she is the oldest of her parents' five children. Finally, she is a tough, ambitious career woman--"I like to be called independent," she says, yet she doesn't mind hearing wolf whistles.
In high school in Cocoa Beach, Fla., she was popular, voted student of the year. "I had waist-length hair and I hated shoes," she says, "and I was ambitious."
During her senior year she began working part-time--evenings, Saturdays and holidays. "I was eager to make money for my education and to start my training for a job," she says. The jobs she held were clerical. For the next eight years she worked during the day and studied at night.
At 31, she has a BS in management from the University of Maryland and works as a contract negotiator for the Navy. She is two GS grades ahead of her husband, and this is her 13th year working for the federal government.
"My career is very important to me," she says. "Most likely I will always work."
She has no hobbies, she says, and work is more than a job for her. She is active in professional associations and reads up on professional literature.
"I negotiate compromises," she says of her job. "You have to realize the contractor must make a profit. But you also have to make sure that the government gets a fair and reasonable price. I have to look at every aspect of the case. It's not that I am the government and therefore what I say goes."
Her first marriage dates back to high school-- she was 19, and Mac Doty was 18. They were high school sweethearts, got engaged, broke up after the Zombolas family moved from Florida to the Washington area, then made up during a visit by Carol to Florida. Eventually they were married at St. Peter's Church in Olney after Mac moved north.
"We were very, very young," Carol says. "Very immature. Always rebellious, too much so. We didn't listen to anybody over 30.
"Nobody could tell me anything. I wanted to marry as soon as I could, then be a secretary, then be a mother. Those were my three goals in life.
"Our biggest mistake was that after Mac moved up north we made wedding plans for two months, rather than spending the time to learn about each other. But after four months of marriage we knew it wasn't working out. We distrusted each other.
"It had to be my way or his way. At age 18 you don't make compromises. You know everything better than the other person. We didn't know how to make compromises. That you must make compromises, you learn with age.
"Basically, we were flower children together-- but I grew out of it, and he got deeper into it. I went to school and developed aspirations for a career. I was--and I am--very ambitious. When we started changing, we changed in opposite directions."
The couple separated, then tried living together again, then finally, after five years of marriage, divorced.
After the divorce, Carol found she spent more time with her parents. "We have a close-knit family," she says, "and I made a conscious effort to heal my separation from my family. I was rebuilding my ties."
From time to time Mac surfaces; he last called this past winter. "I told him I was getting married," Carol says, "and he congratulated me. Basically, what he said was that 'Hey, I am still around-- how are things going with you?' It was a nice conversation. It was good to talk to each other. Toward the end of our marriage, we weren't talking at all.
"If we met now we could be friends. Now we are willing to make that extra effort to understand each other."
But Mac did not leave his phone number with Carol. Nor did he say where he lives, and Carol did not ask.
As a divorcee, Carol, like Peter, lived a single's busy social life, but, again like Peter, found that the attachments she formed were superficial.
When Peter proposed to her, exactly one month after they first met, she did not answer right away.
Carol still has the card he gave her that night, with Peter's own poem scribed on it: "For years I've stood as an old oak tree./ I thought and wondered what I would be./ Rooted in one spot, unable to move,/ Trying I know not what to prove./ Meeting you happily changed my life./ I now know you must be my wife./ But could you, would you marry me/ In the year of our Lord nineteen eighty-three?"
"I was overwhelmed," she now says. "I kept smiling but didn't say anything. After a few minutes, when Peter asked me if I wasn't going to answer him, I finally said yes, yes, yes.
"I kind of forgot to answer Peter at first. Then when I said yes, he called the waiter and told him that I said yes. And he arranged for the champagne."
Carol has acquired the Cruikshank love of boats: She would like to own a motorboat. (Peter prefers a sailboat.) "My great ambition is to live by the water some day," she says. She is afraid of California because of the earthquakes, and Peter rules out Florida because it is flat. They hope to be able to buy a single-family home in five years, though, Carol says with a grimace, "it's not within our means."
"Maybe we stumble upon a house we can buy," Peter says, "or we stumble upon a boat that someone wants to sell real fast."
"It would be nice to have a yard for the children to play in," Carol says.
She says she does not mind that Peter had a vasectomy. She says that to her way of thinking she already has two children--Peter's children from his first marriage--and if she ever finds that not sufficient, she would adopt a child. Or perhaps two of them. But not more than two.
Interviewed in the evening, Carol was asked the color of her eyes. She laughed, and said, "My eyes are green--but they do change. I like to think of myself as a green-eyed blonde."
Then Peter said softly, "I like to think of her eyes as blue."