Young Love (#78)

August 2-7, 1969



Wedding planning kicked into high gear during the first week of August. Nate and I made a quick trip to downtown Chicago to finalize all the choices that would go on our gift registry. A seasoned employee at Marshall Fields helped us narrow things down, and by the end of the morning, she had checked all the appropriate boxes on the bridal registry forms.



LoveNate and I held hands throughout the process, sneaking a kiss now and then as we envisioned our first “nest” (as he called it) decorated in the vibrant colors we chose: orange, yellow, and kiwi green.

We also spent time perusing used car lots, looking for a practical replacement for our impractical Corvette, but we weren’t quite sure what we were looking for. We would need a loan from Dad to swing any purchase, so we decided to wait till after the Corvette had been sold before approaching him. Since it had a couple of mechanical issues, it might take a while. Besides, we were happy to cross one item off our long list.

Our caterer would be a dear family friend, and Jeanette’s casual attitude helped immensely as she outlined practical suggestions for the “light supper” menu we wanted. In those days, most receptions were held right in the church, so that part was easy. Choosing a giant wedding cake was a little trickier. How do you feed 500 people from one cake? We tabled that decision till later.

Mom at Moody organ.Mom promised to look into music options, since she was the musical one among us. She announced she would be playing either the piano or organ for 6 other autumn weddings and could hunt through sheet music for all of them at once. We wondered how she would keep it all straight but decided not to worry about it… and crossed it off.

Choosing and ordering invitations at a printer didn’t take long. Both Nate and I were traditionalists and decided to mix elegant with tried-&-true. At the last minute we eliminated the response card and its envelope, trying to save Mom and Dad some money. If it upset Mom that she wouldn’t know how many guests would be coming, she never showed it… probably because she had become fully absorbed in redecorating their new home.

Mom was meeting with kitchen consultants, tentatively planning to gut the old kitchen and get it completed before the wedding. She was also shopping for drapes, carpeting, furniture, and paint colors. Her plan was to paint every room herself, labeling it “therapy for when I get too busy.” She wasn’t joking.

Carole and Reggie's weddingNate and I wondered when we’d be able to get back to Champaign to seek my employment and find an apartment, but by the end of that first week in August, we were off to Rockford, Illinois, where I was a bridesmaid for Carole, a close friend from Wheaton.

The wedding rehearsal fell on my birthday, but Mom insisted we have a party anyway. Nate and I did our best to get there quickly but arrived near 10:00 PM… which is when the party began. Little did we know that jam-packed days like these would soon become the norm.

“Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” (Ephesians 4:3)

Young Love (#77)

As my parents struggled to unpack and squeeze too much stuff into their new home, Nate and I eagerly got back to planning our wedding. By this time we had lists of our lists and were getting lost in the details.

Not wanting to burden Mom further, I wrote my mentor in California, Aunt Joyce, and asked for help organizing our thoughts. Since my 7 bridesmaids lived all over the country and couldn’t shop for gowns together, she helped with the decision to let each girl make her own dress (or have it made). I would provide the material, but they would be in charge of fitting their gowns to their figures.

Cutting velveteenAunt Joyce made color suggestions for our late fall wedding, and we settled on deep burgundy with light pink accents, in velveteen. My good friend Lynn volunteered to help me find the best deal on 80 yards of fabric and was willing to sew three of the seven gowns. Aunt Joyce offered to make two, and we were on our way.

Most of all, though, I really appreciated Aunt Joyce’s encouragement and her promise to pray for us. She wrote, “I’m so excited for you both and am anxious to meet Nate. I hope you find a home or apartment, and a job. Count on my prayers!”

PlanningThose two items, an apartment and a teaching job (for me), were hanging heavy over our heads, though we couldn’t work on either project till we got back to Champaign. Since our stint as camp counselors would begin August 18, we had two weeks to get everything else done. Registry decisions had to be made, along with invitations, music, catering, a cake, rehearsal dinner venue, a honeymoon destination, and much more. I also had to move out of my Chicago apartment in time to let my three roommates find a new fourth.

Nate and I decided the best place to start was at our favorite Chinese restaurant… with pencil and paper to make a fresh list.

Fortune cookie.As we cracked open our fortune cookies at the end of that meal, my slip of paper was encouraging: “Past efforts will soon brings blossoms.” (Yes… brings.) When I got home, I glued it into my scrapbook.

The next morning we discovered that a second attempt had been made to steal my Corvette, and so we added one more item to our list: finding a less popular, more reasonably-priced car.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God.” (James 1:5)

Young Love (#76)

August 1, 1969

Inch by inch Mom was releasing her hold on “708,” as she referred to her old home. Gradually she was stepping away from the happiness she and her family knew while living at that address, but she needed one more visit for two reasons:

  1. Many remaining items from their garage sale a week earlier were still stashed in the garages and basements of neighbors’ homes and needed to be dealt with.
  2. My brother, Tom, had prearranged a political meeting at 708 for a man who was running for Congress.

TomTom (left) had worked hard on this candidate’s campaign and had scheduled the event many weeks before the house sold. No one had expected it to sell as fast as it did.



RallyAlthough the rally was landing on the same day as the new owners would be moving in, they agreed to let Tom (and Mom) host the event in the back yard, a gracious gift. The newspaper had publicized the event as an opportunity for university students to join the candidate’s team, and Tom would be leading the charge.

Meanwhile, Mom busied herself collecting her garage sale possessions, hosting the sale “Part 2” in the next-door-neighbor’s driveway. And of course, as the day unfolded, she ended up inside her old house, helping the new family with whatever she could. She had done a good job readying the home for its new occupants, and her diary comment was, “708 SPOTLESS.”

Spotless“Going home” is satisfying for most of us, and after moving from a beloved house, going home to a different one can be unsettling. All of us can testify to running errands in the weeks after a move and automatically ending up on the route to our old address rather than the new house. There comes a day, though, when the transition must be made, even if we have to concentrate hard to get it done.

Tom’s rally was a success with about 50 attendees, and the candidate was appreciative. Mom’s garage sale succeeded, too, and as she hauled the remaining items away, she left 708 for good. Once she made up her mind that she had really moved out, it took only 3 days before a very special note popped up in her diary. They had been out to dinner, after which she wrote: “…and then to our new home, which we LOVE!”

In the end, Mom and Dad lived in their smaller home for more than 30 years, and Mom never loved any home more than that one.

“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.” (Psalm 16:6)