October 24 – 26, 1969
As Nate and I struggled to make a wise choice on the heels of the attempted break-in, our calendars told us it was time to drive to Wilmette for my second bridal shower. This was a welcome change from all the negatives we’d been talking about, and we decided to postpone our decision about where Nate would spend his nights — at least for now.
The wedding invitations had arrived but were sitting in boxes, unaddressed – and we were about a month from the wedding. Our plan was to get going on those, along with anything else Mom might want us to do.
She had written earlier, asking what kind of stamps we wanted on the invitations. In those days there was no such thing as a “love stamp,” but we did have several to choose from: the moon landing, a spray of pink flowers, a muscle car, and a cardinal. Then there was Mom’s up-and-away favorite, former President Eisenhower.
She’d written, “The P.O. puts new stamps out periodically, but personally, ‘I like Ike!’ He’s smiling because Nathan loves Margaret, and Meg loves Nate.” We liked her logic and joined her in voting for Ike.
When we arrived in Wilmette, my folks’ home was in complete disarray. The remodeling crew had torn their kitchen to the studs that very day, relocating its contents to the living room. We could barely squeeze into the house, and I wondered how Mom was holding up under this added inconvenience.
When we finally found her, she was sorting wedding music under the grand piano. Smiling broadly when she saw us, she told us how “absolutely thrilled” she was with the kitchen. “Finally!” she said. “Things are really moving now!”
Nate and I decided to take the invitations elsewhere – where we could spread out the project and leave it set up until finished. I called Aunt Agnes in the next suburb, Evanston, and asked if we could bunk with her over the weekend. She welcomed us gladly, and that first night we stayed up past 2:00 AM putting the first dent in a very long list. Aunt Agnes kept us going with coffee and ice cream, and of course we took time out to watch her favorite show, Johnny Carson.
The bridal shower on Saturday was an extravaganza with 73 guests and just about as many gifts. Their generosity literally moved us from mis- matched hand-me-downs to the lovely look of fresh-and-new. And in case I still needed a wedding gown, they modeled several I could choose from – created with flowing TP.
After the shower it was back to our invitations. I wrote addresses, Nate stuffed envelopes, and Aunt Agnes fueled the whole operation with sandwiches, doughnuts, and bottomless cups of her delicious percolated coffee.
On Sunday Dad told me he hadn’t forgotten about our need for a second car and had been keeping his eyes on the want-ads. Apparently brother Tom needed a car, too, so Dad was doing double duty. Bervin had joined in on the car project, for which we were thankful. He knew best of anyone how to analyze what was under the hood.
As we drove back to Champaign Sunday evening, our little VW was crammed with gifts – on the floor, in the back seat, on my lap, at my feet, and piled tight against the hatchback window. We were a blessed couple indeed, and I couldn’t wait to bring such bounty into our fairly empty apartment. Although we didn’t have furniture in which to put our things, it would be a joy just stacking those beautiful boxes along the wall.
As the 150 miles flew by on our drive south, both of us knew it was time to talk again about my safety in the apartment…. and where Nate would sleep, starting with that very night.
“Now then, my children, listen to me…. Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it.” (Proverbs 8:32-33)