I don’t think the story of how Dave and I met is published anywhere, not in as much detail as I’m about to offer anyway, even though we went through the story many times for radio interviews and other PR appearances. So here it goes... Dave and I grew up in cities that were 1.5 hours from each other in the Pacific Northwest. We were actually in two different states. I was a 14 year old with a huge crush on an a cappella singer who was performing at a fair. I never went to fairs, but my best friend Janell was going with her family and invited me along with. When you work at fairs you have around 3 shows, or even up to 5 per day and you share the stage with other performers. At this time, the group I was seeing was sharing the stage with Dave who was performing magic.
His stage tech was pretty cute, and Janell had an immediate crush. We both agreed that Dave was way too good looking to ever be single, so we didn’t bother forming a crush on someone so unreachable! Dave, who was 17 at the time, stood by my side for a picture after his performance:
It’s pretty crazy to look at that photograph of two strangers who eventually fell in love. A year later I was looking at potential colleges to attend after high school. My parents decided a spur of the moment visit to one we were nearby and it just so happened Dave was performing an indoor show that same day. I recognized his name and told my parents we should go. They agreed and we watched his show. I didn’t see him afterwards, we just went on our way.
Another year passed and I had driven 1.5 hours to a Civilized Animal concert as a birthday present to my best friend, Janell, the same best friend who I had gone with to the fair. As we sadly walked back to my car after finding out the concert was canceled, we saw a billboard. Dave Womach was performing tonight, in fact, in just a little bit. Janell remembered him from the fair and said I could take her to that show instead. It was that or pout some more so I got us some tickets and in we went. After the show we waited around to get another picture together and be on our way home. Little did I know, his mom was taking photos of the crowd and I happened to be in the background of some of those pictures that were inserted into one of the many scrapbooks she’d make for him of his growing career as an illusionist/magician.
With all the concerts I consistently went to, I kept track of all the bands I’d seen on a small geocities webpage. Since I had seen Dave three times I decided to add his name to the list, not as a band but as an entertainer I’d seen. The page was literally just a list with how many times I’d seen each performer and a silly photo of myself making a funny face. I’d just recently chopped all my hair off and conducted my own self taken photo shoot. Dave had just completed a tour of Canada and was looking for any online news articles about him on the internet... when he typed in his name he found my page and wrote me a quick email letting me know he had found it and was just saying hey. I was so surprised a celebrity like him emailed me, and soon we were writing back and forth every so often. Eventually he added me on MSN Messenger and we would talk anytime we happened to be online at the same time while he was now performing on board top cruise ships with his umbrella cockatoo, Linus, whom I had seen perform with him already.
Dave would tell me funny stories about Linus and how he was on the cruise ship, how he reacted to rougher sees and just funny quirks about him (like how he would stay perfectly still on the back of a chair even while the ship swayed, Linus would counter it perfectly to make it look like he was floating) it lead to Dave asking me out to dinner when he got back home, said we could meet in the middle at all the places I’d seen him anyway, a 45 minute drive for both of us. I agreed, but his arrival home kept getting postponed.
Until one day it really happened; he made it back to the mainland and we met for dinner. By this time I was 17 and he was 20 and our first date was December 9th. There was snow on the ground and it was the season for scarves and long jackets and overcoats. We had dinner and went to a movie. I had never been on a date before so I was exceptionally nervous and he was so tall... I wore heels but he was so tall...
We both wore black pants that night and as we sat to put our legs up for the movie Dave confessed to me, “I almost wore white socks!” I looked at him a bit confused. “You know, because I’m wearing black pants and black shoes... white socks... would have stuck out like a sore thumb!” as he lifted his feet in front of us and exposed his second-thought black socks. I flushed... then raised my legs to do the same and exposed my glowing white socks with my black shoes and black pants. We both laughed. Someone behind us a few rows up dropped their box of candy and we heard them roll all the way down the theater and laughed even harder.
After the movie I bought us a couple Canada Dry sodas. As I carried them out to the car I held one in each hand and asked Dave from the other side of the car, “So, do you want the purple one? Or the pink one? Purple or pink? Purple or pink...?” and every time I said purple or pink I held up that color. It took Dave a while to catch on but I was shaking them up so they’d explode no matter which one he chose.
Needless to say, wearing white socks with my black shoes got me a second date! After 3 months of dating, he proposed, and lucky enough for me he was still just 20 years old when my senior prom rolled around that year and he was able to take me. 4 months after that, just 1 month after graduating high school, we were married. I was one month away from turning 18 so my parents had to “sign me away”! We moved into a little house in my hometown with Linus, his 10 year old adopted umbrella cockatoo and a bunch of parakeets that Dave let me name as long as their names rhymed with “Petey”.
I was very intimidated by Linus and Dave used to coach me along by explaining his body language to me, what everything meant. I could never tell the difference back then between an excited cockatoo and a pissed off one so I remained scared and stand off-ish a lot of the time with Linus. The rest of how our feathered family came together has been written about, so I won’t rewrite it again... but that is the jist of how Dave and I met and came to be.
I was incorporated into the show and bird training by marrying into it so to speak and I immediately not only fell in love with Dave but also with the unique lifestyle he’s provided me and the amazing feathered creatures we share our lives with. I’ve found a passion for all of it. The more I learned the more I wanted to learn. I’m still amazed the birds haven’t learned to say “Daveeeee?” yet! ;)
Article by Jamieleigh Womach. She has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots whom she shares the stage with.