Love in the days be­fore Blue Rodeo

Jim Cuddy met his wife when they were in univer­sity

Midtown Post - - Currents - By Nikki Gill

Hot off his lat­est al­bum re­lease,

Con­stel­la­tion, Jim Cuddy is on tour across Canada, and his wife is also hit­ting the stage. Rena Pol­ley per­forms in the Chekhov Col­lec­tive’s A Mid­sum­mer Night’s

Dream at the Ci­tadel the­atre in Cab­bage­town from Feb. 21 to March 11. We chat­ted with the two stars in Fe­bru­ary as they cel­e­brated 40 years to­gether.

How they met

Rena: We met in our fi­nal year at Queen’s Univer­sity. I knew who Jim was, but had never met him. My room­mate kept try­ing to set me up with friends, and one day she in­vited me to her boyfriend’s place to watch him and Jim prac­tice mu­sic. I sat there feel­ing out of place and awk­ward. Then I saw Jim about a week later on the track and said, “Hi” to him. Jim: I do re­mem­ber Rena com­ing to the house where I was writ­ing songs with a friend, but I wasn’t aware it was a setup. My mem­ory is see­ing Rena run­ning on the Queen’s in­door track and be­ing so smit­ten by her smile. I waited for her to come out of the change room after­wards, but I missed her. So I found out where she lived, called her and asked her to go to break­fast with me the next morn­ing.

The first date

Rena: It was the first Satur­day of read­ing week. We had break­fast at Mor­ri­son’s in Kingston. We were talk­ing for so long I missed my train and had to catch the next one. We earnestly talked about ev­ery­thing in­clud­ing the ex­is­tence of God. I think we both found it a bit ex­haust­ing. Even though it was fun, it wasn’t the most per­sonal date. Jim: Then a few months later Rena asked me to her grad for­mal, and I showed up at her house in an oil-stained blue tux hop­ing to make her laugh, but she to­tally took it in stride. I changed into nor­mal clothes, and we had a great evening.

The courtship

Rena: We re­ally were court­ing the fol­low­ing sum­mer back in Toronto. Jim would al­ways call me at the last minute to join him for a late din­ner. I re­mem­ber eat­ing two din­ners a night for most of the sum­mer.

The pro­posal

Rena: Jim and I had been to­gether for about six years and were liv­ing in New York. I was study­ing act­ing, and he had a band. We knew our days in New York were com­ing to an end. Jim: We were walk­ing down to our apart­ment in Lit­tle Italy in New York City to­gether and talk­ing about go­ing back to Toronto. I think Rena said, “Maybe we should get mar­ried,” and I got down on my knee on the bro­ken glass–strewn street and pro­posed. She said yes.

The wed­ding

Rena: We were mar­ried in Toronto in 1984. We spent our wed­ding night at the Wind­sor Arms Ho­tel where we had to pay cash be­cause we didn’t own a credit card. We had just moved back from New York the week be­fore and were broke, so Greg [ Jim’s band­mate] of­fered us his par­ents’ cot­tage for three days. The day af­ter we ar­rived the rest of the band joined us.

The home

Rena: We have lived in Riverdale for over 30 years. When we first moved, I wept be­cause I thought no one would cross the Dan­forth bridge to visit us.

Se­cret of suc­cess

Jim: We both have full creative lives, which we do our best to weave into our fam­ily life as seam­lessly as pos­si­ble. Rena has al­ways been in­sis­tent on time to­gether apart from fam­ily and work and that has been in­valu­able.

L–R: Rena Pol­ley and Jim Cuddy were mar­ried in 1984 in Toronto

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