Young Love (#34)

Chicago teachers, tired of overcrowded classrooms and not enough pay, contemplated a strike on May 22 – first one ever. With 19,000 teachers involved, I had no idea what the ramifications would be, but knew I couldn’t cross a picket line to teach (which is what I felt like doing). I also knew I wouldn’t be paid for any strike days… a big loss, since I had moving and marriage on my mind.

on-strikeMay 20, 1969 – Dear Nate. The teachers in Chicago can’t seem to settle on a contract. They’re not even close. We’re scheduled to go on strike this Thursday if there’s no eleventh-hour settlement. I have bad news about teaching in your area in the fall, too. My applications won’t be considered without state certifi- cation credentials accompanying my request for a job. Apparently there’s no such thing as a provisional certificate down there, like there has been here. But I’m not going to let it get me down.

May 20, 1969 – Dearest Meg. Next up on my finals is Administrative Law, Wednesday at 1:00, for 4 hours. Wish me luck. Studying for finals goes well except when I am pleasantly distracted with thoughts of the beautiful soul and body of Meg, my betrothed. I love her so much and console myself that in one short busy week, I will be in her arms again. I love you.

May 21, 1969 – Dear Nate. I’m going to keep working on getting my transcripts together and getting evaluated at the Board of Ed. My friend says I’ll have to take the state Constitution test, too. There seem to be so many snags! Well, one step at a time. The joy of being married to you wipes out all the negatives.

May 21, 1969 – Dearest Meg. A quick note on an exam day….  I love you! The teaching deal will work out. Just keep sending in your records. We can try some small towns around here if the university school districts give us a complete turn-down. Thank you for your call late last night. You voice gave me the strength to keep studying until late.

May 21, 1960 – Dear Nate. I about jumped out of my chair with excitement when I read the letter that started with, “To my future wife.” The Lord is letting us be so lucky! I do love Him. (Not just for that, of course.) Talking with you on the telephone tonight was as close to being together as we can get, and it was very meaningful, even after we hung up. Even then, you are closer in conversation and thought. I love you!

just-dottyMay 21, 1969 – Dearest Meg. I think of you constantly, miss you terribly, and, frankly, love you insanely. After spending time with you, I almost worship the ground you walk on. When you are home with me each evening, I know I’ll study law more eagerly. In fact, I expect my successes to abound in all fields when I am comforted by you as my wife. You are such a fabulous asset: a wholesome, creative, beautiful, Christian woman. I love you!

May 21, 1969 – Dear Nate. Remember the youth pastor you met at the picnic last weekend? I saw him at church tonight and he commented again how “sharp” he thought you were. He asked if we were “serious.” I smiled with lights in my eyes and said, “Just about.” I want to bring all this on gradually to people, mostly to give my parents time to absorb it before everyone else knows.

May 22, 1969 – Dearest Meg, my Future Wife. I spent the morning writing notes for the Constitutional Law final; it’s going fine. The exam yesterday was fair and comprehensive. I’m sure I did reasonably well. Let me know about the strike. Don’t worry. The Lord is helping us. I thank Him every day for His guidance. When I think of the married life we will lead because of Him, I become so excited I can’t think of anything else for quite a while.

“Where two… are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matthew 18:20)

Young Love (#33)

In Chicago, as I spent my days with 51 kindergarteners, my thoughts were always on Nate. In Champaign, as he spent his days with law books and military men, his thoughts were always on me. But our thinking looked very different.

He was focused on “being worthy” of me, and I was focused on my own unworthiness. On many days, as I reflected on Nate’s wholehearted love, I wondered what in the world he saw in me. I could hardly believe how thoroughly he loved me when so often I was selfish and unlovable. And I began to worry that once we were married, he would be disappointed in me. I committed in my heart I would do my very best for this one who loved me with such abandon.

May 18, 1969 – To my wonderful Nate. The early, early morning is a wonderful time to be alive. I took a short walk in the city this morning because I got ready early, and the sun’s sparkle on everything just cheered me so much. If I get a job down near you, even before we are married we can have breakfast together sometimes and maybe take a sunrise walk, too. And when marriage finally rolls around, wowie-zowie!

sun-bestMay 18, 1969 – Dearest Meg. After a good night’s rest last night, I went to church this morning at the Bible Church, and the pastor said some excellent things (outline enclosed). Now I’m getting ready to study, but first I’m going to say a prayer of thanksgiving for having Meg in my life. I love you.

May 19, 1969 – Dear Nate. I’m so glad you love the Lord as I do. We’ll have to remember what Pastor Sweeting told us at the picnic, that people who are anticipating Christian growth mustn’t hesitate to get involved. We’ll do that after we’re married and after we’ve settled into one of the strong Bible-teaching churches in your area there. I think of you the whole way through every day. And I love those thoughts. You are one of a kind.

May 19, 1969 – Dearest Meg, my Future Wife. I’m still savoring last weekend, Saturday. It was fabulous! Flowers, lions, picnic, and Meg, Meg, Meg! I love you! Please pray for us, and also for my exams, the rest of this week.

May 20, 1969 – Dear Nate. I’ve been thinking of how much you love me, and I’m confident you always will. And I want to tell you now, if I ever even border on taking advantage of your love or taking you for granted in ANY way, EVER, then please pounce on me and tell me, because I would never never never want to be that way. Sadly, I’m less thoughtful and considerate than you. I’d never mean to take advantage of your love, but if it ever happens, I want to be stopped.

May 20, 1969 – Dearest Meg. What a fabulous woman you are! I would love to get married before January, if that would work out. Maybe September when you move here? I suppose January might be better for us family-wise, though.

teacher-photoMay 20, 1969 – Dear Nate. I’ve decided not to dwell on how many days we will be apart before we marry, but rather to think about how fortunate I am to see you as much as I do. I’m a very lucky girl to have you at all, as my almost-husband. My roommate is sure we’ll end up married by September! I told her it couldn’t happen – being too soon – but it sure does sound good. I’m still looking for a substitute Sunday school teacher. One good thing: my Sunday afternoon junior club responsibilities end after 3 more Sundays. They break for summer.

“Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.” (Philippians 4:5)

Young Love (#32)

At this point, Nate and I spent much of our communication on the logistics of relocating me to Champaign, clearing the way to marry during the school year.

Details were being discussed without the benefit of input from parents, and our planned changes were beginning to stockpile. So Nate and I talked often about how best to win their approval without opposition to our timing.

dearest-megMay 16, 1969 – Dearest Meg. I love you. Your idea of an organized outline to your folks at your apartment during dinner is very good. After finals I can also talk with them in detail re: engagement, wedding, Army, law, and finances. I like your idea of me getting a summer job in Chicago, but with 6 weeks of Army camp, I wouldn’t be able to start until too late. I do realize that if you teach in Champaign in the fall, this summer will be your last time living near home. Such thoughts are very considerate of your parents and very much like you, sweet Meg.

May 16, 1969 – Dear Nate. Do you remember little JoAnn, one of my kindergarteners? For show and tell today, she brought her “plastic church beads.” She explained well to the class: “Here’s how they work,” she said. “You count them like this, 1… 2… 3… 4… You count them in the back row at church, but you have to whisper or you’ll mix up all the other people on their numbers.” Aren’t kids wonderful?

May 16, 1969 – Dearest Meg. I pray for us every day and feel sure the Lord is guiding both of us in honest love. As our relationship is maturing, I feel certain Christ is at the center of our two lives.

After Nate’s day-long visit to Chicago/Wilmette:

May 18, 1969 – Dearest Meg. My day with you yesterday was the greatest yet! Your wholesomeness and purity and faith in Christ stir me to act and think in the highest ways to be worthy of you. We have become committed to each other, and the practical matters are working out for themselves. All things are possible, because of our faith.

lots-of-loveMay 18, 1969 – Dear Nate. Our day together was really lots of fun. Wow! Life with you will be joyful! And my parents were glad to see us. I’m worrying about Dad coming around to our new plans. I don’t think there will be any friction, because he’s sensible and will ask any questions he has. But I hope to talk with him this week. I’ll put the pressure on for him or both of them to stop at my apartment soon.

May 18, 1969 – Dearest Meg. You know, I always feel at ease when I’m with your parents. I like them very much and respect them for the life they lead. I really admire your father for living in Christian responsibility with strength and courage in this business world. In one of my prayers I’m asking God for that kind of strength and sensitivity. It’s easy to see how your parents raised such a fine daughter as Meg. I love you!

zooMay 18, 1969 – Dear Nate. I’m still loving the memory of our day together. It was cool that we got to enjoy the zoo and conservatory without the noise and rush of crowds. It was quiet peace to be with each other. And then at the picnic, we got to chat with 2 pastors and several of my friends as they met you. And they approved! I was so proud. And then we got to have that meaningful prayer time together, renewing our commitment to Christ. I felt so open and honest with the Lord as we both talked to Him.

“Look at those who are honest and good, for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace.” (Psalm 37:37)