Well, actually... this picture is not from when we met, but it IS the earliest picture I have of the two of us. That's me - the happy (?) looking child in the lower right corner ;). Avram is pretty easy to pick out. And believe me, the shidduch never entered ANYBODY'S mind until a good 16 years later!
What is interesting to me, is that as Avram and I approach our 25th (!!) wedding anniversary I wonder whether our union would have ever come to fruition had all the "safeguards" in place today been active back then. Avram and I knew each other and our families knew each other our whole lives, but had we not had the opportunity to work together on a Yeshiva project, we would never have realized how compatible we were. If he had simply been "redt" to me (and he was), we would never have dated....
Many of you know that although my children dated in the "acceptable" fashion of today, my daughter actually married a Shabbos guest of ours. How well I remember calling a certain cousin to tell her of the shidduch and upon hearing the story her response was in a loud voice, "You have *boys* at your table with a single daughter?!?!?!?". Ummmm.... yes...... if this is the worst that can happen, bring it on!
Now, don't all start jumping down my throat (I see you Bake Lecho Dodi, dipping your pen into the inkwell....). I am not saying that we need to dispense with the current shidduch system lock stock and barrel. But I am saying that when our children reach an age where we feel they are ready to marry (which in my mind, by the way, means they are ready to answer questions themselves and don't need non-stop coaching as to the "right" answers to questions and CIA-worthy grilling after the dates), they should be afforded the opportunity to mix with the opposite sex in normal, natural ways. This two year old post of mine is still worth a read.... as is ProfK's post entitled The Olden Days of Shidduchim - - Part I. I'm eagerly awaiting Part II.