MEN MY MOTHER DATED Terry Collins has remained a real mystery to Mom. They met in line for tickets to the Stillwater, Oklahoma premiere showing of the 1954 remake of A STAR IS BORN. Such a Judy Garland fan was Mom that she arrived an hour and a half before the evening's first showing to ensure that she got a ticket. Still, at that she was not first in line. Terry had already been waiting for 45 minutes when Mom arrived.

With time to kill and no one else in line, the two young fans naturally began to chat. Terry, the son of a local jeweler, was one year ahead of Mom in school. He was a biology major and intended to go on to med school, although it became quite clear to Mom that he was not really interested in medicine, that he was only following that path to make his parents happy.

They looked perhaps a bit foolish, the two of them, standing there together waiting for a movie that would not begin for more than an hour. No one else even joined them in line until about fifteen minutes before showtime, just before the box office opened for the evening. But they were so enchanted with each other's company that they scarcely noticed.

Mom suggested that she and Terry sit together to watch the film, and he readily agreed. As the moving tale unspooled, as Esther Blodgett watched her own career skyrocket and her beloved Norman Maine's star begin its descent, Mom, not usually so forward but overcome by Garland's masterful and moving performance, shyly took Terry's hand there in the darkened theatre and didn't let go until the credits had run and the theatre's lights had come up.

Thus began a wonderful five-month relationship. Mom and Terry could not, it seemed to all observers, have been happier. They even began to speak of a future together. Terry was, in so many ways, Mom's dream man: a perfect gentleman, a terrific dancer with a wonderful singing voice, a gourmet cook. Their shared interests were many; they liked the same movies, the same music. Without warning, though, Terry left school midway through the spring semester and took off for San Francisco, where he remains to this day. Though he wrote Mom a brief note of apology, he offered no explanation for his sudden departure. They spoke once or twice on the phone but he seemed so distant somehow that Mom finally gave up and stopped calling him.

Today Terry is co-owner of a flourishing floral design business which specializes in weddings. Ironically, Terry himself never married.

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