November 22-23, 1969
The weekend arrived, and Nate stepped into the apartment bright and early. “A week from now we’ll be hitched!” he said, picking me up and spinning me around. It was a moment of pure joy.
After packing up his VW, we headed back across the familiar route to Wilmette, hoping to tie up a few loose ends. For one, my gown hadn’t arrived at the bridal shop, and I wanted to find out why.
For another, we hadn’t decided what the 7 bridesmaids would wear on their heads. It was too late to order anything, but Mom thought we could fabricate something out of sewing scraps. I figured the girls could go topless (just their heads, of course), but Mom nixed that idea. “It’s a formal wedding,” she said. “Their heads need something on them.”
When we walked into Mom and Dad’s house, we couldn’t believe the transformation. Their kitchen was completely put together, with something we’d never seen before: avocado appliances. And Mom had chosen a stove with, of all things, a glass top. Amazing. She had a double oven built right into the wall and a four-foot square fixture of fluorescent light on the ceiling. The whole thing looked like something out of the Jetsons!
In the corner she’d had her carpenter build a bench that sat along the south and west walls with storage underneath, “….so we can sit lots of bottoms around the table,” she said.
The living room had been carpeted in dusty blue and topped with several pieces of new furniture. Draperies would be delivered on Monday. The built-in cabinets (with lights) expanded the dining space and made Mom’s Sunday dishes look very pretty. “You two will be getting the old china cabinet,” she told us. We were delighted to know we’d finally have storage for our sweaters, shirts, and socks.
Mom was in her glory, tidying up and putting her well-worn pots and pans into new kitchen cabinets. Dad reported that the new sound system at Moody Church had been completed, an eight-month project. It had made a successful debut’ the Sunday before, lifting a heavy load from his shoulders.
The schedule for our wedding week was flapping on the new refrigerator door and included daily runs to the airport to shuttle incoming guests. By Wednesday, relatives from California and New York would all be on hand, and that’s when the real fun would begin.
As Nate and I drove back to Champaign on Sunday evening, my wedding gown was in transit to the bridal shop (we hoped), and we’d decided to put ribbon bows on the bridesmaids’ heads. It seemed every item had been checked off the list, and as we drove the 3 hours home, a feeling of deep contentment settled over both of us. A song by the Carpenters came on the radio: “We’ve only just begun.”
I turned to Nate and said, “Hey. Let’s make this ‘our song,’ OK? ”
His response surprised me. “Actually, I have a better one.”
“It’s, ‘You Make Me So Very Happy’.” And he grinned.
“Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live.” (Ruth 1:16)