“We met in line for the calculus class in high school,” said Sharon Wagoner, adding that “in those days they didn’t want to let women into the higher level math classes.”

Her first impression of her companion for the next 50 years with was of a full-of-himself young man, who bragged about his high level of mathematical ability as his first words to her.

David Wagoner’s first impression of her was of a young woman, who he described as, “one of the most brilliant women I have ever met—she ended up being one of the best in the class,” who was fired up about not being admitted to class and stormed away to fight for her right to be in calculus, and won.

That unusual beginning is how the Wagoner love story began. The couple will be celebrating 50 years together in July

The Wagoners said they have a family full of engineers and the whole family is good at math. David worked as a manufacturing engineer for many years, which both supported their family and allowed them to travel all around the United States.

Now retired, he made parts for extreme environments including space; he made parts for the space shuttle Endeavor. Their daughter is a database architect and was also the only woman in her class.

David Wagoner describes himself as a lifelong writer, who started off by telling stories and making up games for his younger siblings when they were kids. He said his work as an engineer didn’t afford him much time to dedicate to writing as an adult until after he retired.

He overcame a massive stroke and was able to return to his poetry writing and recently was one of 80 people who won the Shakespeare Medal from an international Facebook poetry group called Motivational Strips.

In addition, he has written a few “small books” that are self-published online. He has also had his work published in more than one anthology. He said his work can be found at about “a half of dozen places.” Most recently, the couple were interviewed for a podcast in Pakinstan.

David said he has been consistently writing online for the past 4 or 5 years and began to learn about self-publishing online about 12 years ago.

He said he found and has been active in several different writing groups on Facebook including with the Motivational Strips group. The couple also writes a couple of columns about trivia for two online magazines as well as writing about the origins of words.

“Nearly everything I have written in prose has to do with metalworking,” he said. He also writes about history, with a particular interest in the Bronze Age.

He said his writing also has to do with “feelings and emotions; what I see or do, if something is interesting, beautiful or even sad.” He recently wrote a poem about Covid and the “devastation of the disease and the death that came with it.”

That poem also won an award this week called a “Golden Badge” also with the Motivational Strips group.

Motivational Strips is not just a group on Facebook. That is one of many avenues used to connect writers with one another globally. According to its website, Motivational Strips is one of the world’s most active and biggest writer’s forums.

They started their Facebook page in 2018. Six government literary boards from Peru, Seychelles, India, Mauritius, Congo and Brazil, and two of the world’s biggest writing unions, magazines, journals and institutions function as global affiliates. According to the Wagoners, the group is by invite only.

“It seems ridiculous to be given an award with Shakespeare’s name,” he chuckled, adding that he didn’t feel his writing was of the same caliber as Shakespeare’s.

The couple lives in Cedar Grove. They have lived in the state for the last three years. “I have lived all over the U.S. because of David’s work, and this is one of the few places where the neighbors visited and brought us a meal to welcome us to the neighborhood,” said Sharon Wagoner.

 <!-- @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --> 
 The body count high,
 death has laid us low
 time-and-time again.
 What an awful blow.
 12th saw the Black Death,
 20th brought the Influenza,
 now COVID-19,
 repeat dilemma.
 Such loss and sadness
 in all the wide world.
 We will carry on,
 flags at half-mast furled.
 Remembering the lost,
 forgotten by none.
 Knowing the awful cost
 of forgetting we are one.
 © David & Sharon Wagoner