November 15-16, 1969
It was the weekend – before the last weekend – before our wedding weekend! No one was happier about that than Nate and I.
I wondered how Mom’s kitchen renovation was coming along and whether or not she’d had a chance to shop for her own gown. But her diary tells the tale:
A day later she mentioned a friend coming to help her. She wrote, I think she pities me.
But her letters to Champaign continued to be upbeat, one of them written during church while listening to a sermon by George Sweeting:
Pastor Sweeting is elaborating on the financial monopoly as revealed in Rev. 13. The older I grow – and I’ve been around too long already – the more I recognize the sheer anchor of all authority – the Bible. The Author of this Book is my Friend, and His Spirit explains His writings. Pretty good, eh?
At the end of the letter she said she’d heard every word of the sermon and invited me to quiz her sometime. No matter how hard Mom worked or how little sleep she got, she never lost her vitality. She must have been experiencing tremendous pressure, but she never let it show.
As for Nate and I, we joyfully prepared for our first Champaign visit from Mary and Bervin. Nate volunteered to get the groceries while I did the cleaning. After two hours when he hadn’t returned, I began to worry. But when he finally came in, he was all excited.
“Guess what!” And he held up $25 in cash, the equivalent of $150 today. For a couple that was always penny-pinching and was still short, I was flabbergasted.
“Where’d that come from?”
“The Carle Clinic,” he said. “They gave it to me for giving blood!”
Apparently he had answered an ad on the grocery store bulletin board. But despite a blood loss, he seemed hale and hearty, so I had to agree it was a great idea. “Now,” he said, “we can go to a movie with Mary and Bervin or even out to eat if you want!” That $25 was a fortune to us, and I made a mental note to get over to the clinic myself, as soon as I could.
Welcoming Mary and Bervin to our little nest was extremely satisfying. Even though we’d been bumping into them in Wilmette now and then, since I moved to Champaign I’d missed my sister a great deal. She and I had been best-buds since toddlerhood, and more than that, she was my #1 confidant and advice-giver. It had been hard to be far apart for long stretches of time.
As the four of us drove around Champaign, the University of Illinois, and Allerton Park, Mary and I huddled in the back seat sharing secrets. I was about to step from singleness into marriage, and what better time to glean wisdom than from a marriage veteran of two years. It was a delightful weekend and flew by all too fast.
On Sunday evening as Nate and I stood on the front steps of our apartment building waving goodbye, my heart started to hurt. I wondered how many years Mary and I would be separated by distance. But the sadness was softened a bit by knowing she and I would soon be sharing a new kind of togetherness…. as wives.
” (Mary’s) ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” (my version of Proverbs 3:17)