October 30 – 31, 1969
Now that we were less than a month from our wedding, it was time to ask my principal for some honeymoon time off. We would be marrying on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and hoped he’d give us a week beyond that. A seven day honeymoon would be short, but Nate needed to get back to his classes anyway.
When I approached Mr. Scarce in his office, he greeted me with a big smile and a couple of jokes about becoming a married lady. He was in a good mood, and I had the feeling I was going to get what I asked for.
Back in Chicago, teachers were given 3 paid “personal days” during the school year and a handful of sick days. In Danville it was different. And in Mr. Scarce’s opinion, a week’s absence wasn’t reasonable. I explained I wasn’t asking for paid vacation, just time off… but the answer was still no. He joked with me about a one-day honeymoon, but it wasn’t that funny.
When I walked out of the office, he’d given me permission to miss 3 days – without pay – mentioning that there were others who would love to have my job if I was unable to do it.
Since I was very grateful for that job, I smiled and thanked him for the 3 days but knew Nate would be disappointed. Not counting our actual wedding day (which would end at about 11:00 PM), we would have a whopping 4-day honeymoon.
When I arrived home and gave Nate the bad news, he responded with a couple of reasons why 4 days would be just fine. For one, we didn’t have much money and a short honeymoon wouldn’t cost much. Also, missing fewer classes would be a good thing. “We’ll just make the most of each of our 4 days,” he said. “Besides – once we’re married, every day will be a honeymoon.” (Spoken like a man in love.)
Knowing how few days we would have, it was easy to structure a plan. Rather than waste time traveling, we would honeymoon right in Chicago, a fascinating city with much to explore. But we’d have to keep our location a secret, or my family just might drop in uninvited.
That evening we asked one of Nate’s law school buddies and his girlfriend to come for supper. John was one of the groomsmen, and since he was located in Champaign, it would be easy for him to keep a secret. So we asked him to be our getaway driver. “It’s very likely we’ll be followed when we leave the church. Would you be up for helping us escape?”
John and Cathy loved the idea and promised they would succeed at their assignment. As we shared a meal using the new fondue pot we’d received at the last shower, we strategized and came up with a complicated scheme — not only to evade mischief-makers when leaving the church but to hide Nate’s car and our honeymoon luggage somewhere in the city several days before the wedding.
After that, the only thing left was to plan our 4 precious honeymoon days in Chicago.
“Be content with what you have.” (Hebrews 13:5)