Young Love (#137)

November 29, 1969… 9:00 PM

In a last flurry of picture-taking toward the end of our wedding, we wanted to be sure to gather some of those who had come from far and wide to attend. One group was from my 1967 graduating class at Wheaton College.

Wheaton chronies

Among these was the couple who had introduced Nate and I, back in the fall of 1966.



Kathy was one of my best college pals, and we were especially close during senior year. Being from Nebraska, she didn’t get home much, but Mom made her feel welcome at our house. We went to Wilmette together on many weekends and often acted goofy together, too.



SongstersFor example, we sang mock-operatic duets in front of anyone who would listen and experienced our 15 minutes of fame at Wheaton singing in a talent show —  making fools of ourselves but having a great time doing it.

Kathy was engaged to a guy named Bob who attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Without a car between them, they virtually never saw each other, since the two colleges were 30 miles apart. But I often had access to Mom’s station wagon, and when I did, Kathy begged for a ride to see her fiancé.

BobOne day Kathy said, “Bob and I should get you dating a Northwestern man so you’ll want to drive there all the time. Then I’ll ride along! Bob knows a really handsome Swedish guy you would love. Smart, too.”

I didn’t think much of it, but then it happened.

Kathy and I drove the station wagon to Wilmette for the weekend, and I dropped her off on the Northwestern campus to see Bob. Proceeding home, I dumped the contents of my laundry bag into Mom’s wash machine, showered and washed my hair, pulled on an old flannel nightgown, and climbed into bed with a book.

About 10:00 PM the phone rang. “Come down here right away!” Kathy said. “We’re at The Huddle ice cream parlor, and we have the Swedish guy with us. He wants to meet you!”

I was casually dating several other boys at the time and knew blind dates didn’t usually go well. “I’m already in bed!” I said, trying to beg off. “My hair is wet, and I have nothing to wear.”

“We told him you were coming,” she said, putting me in a fix. “We won’t order till you get here.”

Though I was mad at Kathy, I was also curious. Handsome? Smart? Swedish? I had to see. But what to wear?

The coatI had a new coat in federal blue that buttoned to the chin with a Peter Pan collar – I called it my “Jackie Kennedy coat.” (…pictured here after 3 years of hard wear.) Paired with my knee-high boots, I would look “dressed,” as long as I didn’t take my coat off. (The only thing beneath it was white underwear.)

As I walked into the ice cream parlor, they spotted me right away. My blind date jumped to his feet, and I remember thinking how glorious his blond hair was. After quick introductions, Nate pulled out a chair for me and said, “May I take your coat?”

It was a balmy October evening. “No thanks,” I said. “I’m a little chilly.”

As we ate our chocolate sundaes, Nate asked twice more if he could take my coat. It was awkward to refuse, but I couldn’t do otherwise.

After a couple of interesting conversational hours, Kathy and I dropped the boys at their college housing and drove on to Wilmette. “Why were you so rude to him?” she said. “He was trying to be polite, and you wouldn’t even let him take your coat!”

I explained about the wash machine and then unbuttoned myself. “Here’s why,” I said.

She saw my underwear and howled with laughter. Two weeks went by before Nate called for a second date, but after that, the 4 of us got together frequently, and Kathy got all the rides she wanted to Northwestern and to Bob.

Bob and KathyOn our wedding day, Nate and I were especially thankful for these match-making friends – and that they were willing to stand up for us as we got married.

“The pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.” (Proverbs 27:9)

Young Love (#136)

November 29, 1969… 8:30 PM

As our wedding reception continued, Mom and Dad stepped to the front and voiced an official welcome to their guests. They had been moving among them, greeting each person, and I wondered if they had even taken time to eat.

The welcomeMom looked tired but was thoroughly enjoying herself. Dad, too, seemed to be having a good time, and my mind wandered back to the stressful conversations we’d had about choosing a wedding date.

They’d wanted us to wait another year to marry, but we had no interest in that. Mom insisted we couldn’t pull together a big wedding in so little time, but here we were, on November 29th, and all was well. Everything had worked out after all, thanks mostly to Mom, and I felt tremendous appreciation for her.

IntroductionsNext up was the introduction of the wedding party. I went first and spoke a line or two about each of the ladies, including little Brittney, Marea, and our 6 hostesses. Nate followed with the men and boys.

Once again it impacted me that these particular people were the peers we loved most in the whole world, and here they were – all in one place at the same time.


What a unique phenomenon to savor at that moment…. and always.

Smiling.Mary, as maid of honor, and Ken, as best man, each gave a little speech, but without any alcohol on the menu, they didn’t do toasts. That kind of “worldliness” would have been frowned upon in such a conservative church in the 1960’s, so no one expected toasts or missed them. Besides, the meaningful words spoken were honor enough.

I asked the bridesmaids to once again sing their pretty song, since guests had said they were unable to hear them well during the wedding. The string quintet, which had been supplying classy dinner music throughout the meal, took a welcome break, and the girls gathered around the piano. None of them had expected this, but they cheerfully sang their hearts out while Helen Carbaugh accompanied with perfection.


It was a flawless performance, and their three-part harmony was angelic. I was so proud of them I could have busted out of my 48 buttons.

Dad eats.As the bridesmaids took their seats, my eyes caught a glimpse of Dad sitting by himself, consuming a plate of food. Mom had returned to circulating, but Dad had finally decided it was time to eat. And why not? After all, he was footing the bill.

We thanked everyone for coming, which would release them to go if they so chose, but encouraged guests to get more food and hang around. The photographer was setting up for family pictures near an empty wall, so we knew we’d be there for quite a while.

SmoochGuests continued clinking their punch cups together to make us kiss, and Nate and I relished the taste of every one of them… eagerly looking forward to some private kissing-time without any restrictions, once we were alone.

“Taste and see that THE LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:8)

Young Love (#135)

November 29, 1969… 7:00 PM

a BIG cake.It wasn’t until Nate and I had moved into the wedding reception room that we got our first look at the cake. I wondered why those 6 heavy layers didn’t collapse on each other with all that weight. Maybe hidden pillars had been baked inside, allowing each layer to rest on a firm foundation. We didn’t dare walk too close.

Although Nate had never been in love with sugar, I was a total sweets-freak and couldn’t wait to sample it. When the time finally came, it wasn’t without strict guidelines by the caterer. She, in turn, had been instructed by the bakery lady, who had marked exactly where we were to cut.

As we carefully followed the marks, hand-over-hand on the knife, I had a flashback to a childhood beach game called “Cut the Cake.” Kids would make a sand-cake with a toy bucket, then take turns slicing away pieces. At one point the whole thing would collapse.



But this was no game, and I hoped a cake-collapse wasn’t in our immediate future. We used a very sharp knife, and the caterer tutored us through the process. But still, it was a relief when the cutting part was finally done.






Then it was time to taste! Nate didn’t savor his mouthful as much as I did, so after licking my fingers, I licked his, too. Delicious!



Cousin Patti approached then, wanting us to sign the guest book. She was following through on what we’d asked by getting everyone’s signature… even ours. But it made sense, since we, too, were wedding guests of the hosts: Mom and Dad.

Crown troublesNate asked how he should sign and suggested we use our new partnership to identify us. “How about Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Nyman?”

I loved knowing that the first use of my new Nyman-name would be in our wedding guestbook and agreed it was a great way to begin. Although the budding feminist  movement of the sixties would bristle at my not using my given name, I loved my new “Mrs.-Status” and was delighted to be partnered with this particular Mr. To me it was the perfect signature for the day.

Marriage CertificateWhile we were signing the guest book, Pastor Sweeting was getting signatures from the maid of honor and best man on a marriage certificate. Although it wasn’t as official as the marriage license we’d secured earlier at the Chicago City Clerk’s office, it did prove that Pastor Sweeting was the one who had tied the knot.

And then it was time for everyone to sit down again for our short program.

This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They put their trust in God and accepted the authority of their husbands.” (1 Peter 3:5-6)