November 24, 1969
The bedroom at our apartment was still empty, but the promise of Julie’s beautiful antique furniture kept us from worrying. It wouldn’t be delivered until some time in December, but that was fine with us. After all, when we returned from our honeymoon, we could sleep in the Murphy bed. Its swoopy metal bands drooped in the center, but what newlywed couple would mind meeting in the middle?
Nate and I were looking forward to eventually sleeping in a regular bed but were almost as eager to get some real dresser drawers. Clothes were being stored on the floor – not the best arrangement, especially since we had to pay high laundromat prices to get everything washed.
Nate still did his own laundry since his clothes were kept at his rented room, but soon we’d be doing laundry together — which sounded fun! We knew we had to bring his clothes and books over from his rental before leaving on Wednesday, since his last rent check covered only through November. We wouldn’t be back until December 3rd.
That meant we had 3 days (actually just 3 evenings) to transfer everything over, pack for the wedding and honeymoon, and make the drive back to Wilmette. Packing was complicated since we needed separate piles for 3 pre-wedding nights and 4 honeymoon nights.
Our plan was to keep the honeymoon luggage separate and hide it in Nate’s VW before squirreling away the car in a Chicago parking garage. Knowing my family loved practical jokes, we were trying to keep risk at a minimum. It would help if our getaway driver could just quickly drop us at the Drake Hotel door. We could retrieve the car when it was time to drive back to Champaign.
Prep time was running out, and I still needed to shop for several clothing items. Nate needed to finish arranging and confirming the details of those precious-few honeymoon days. As we worked and planned, the three-day work-week seemed like nothing more than an obstacle to getting the really important things done. But Principal Scarce had made it clear he expected me to teach on those 3 days. And Nate knew missing more classes than the ones for our honeymoon might set him back badly.
But an hour later when the door opened, there he was, looking like Santa without a red suit. He was carrying two stuffed pillow cases and sporting a giant smile.
“What’s all this?” I said, after delivering a kiss.
“It’s your clothes,” he said. “I did your laundry for you — to save you some time!”
I hadn’t found time to do the wash but couldn’t pack till everything was clean. Realizing it had already been done, gave me just the lift I needed, and I threw my head back and laughed in appreciation. “Even the pillow cases are clean,” he said, happy about my reaction.
As always, Nate had been thinking of my needs ahead of his own and had come up with a practical way to help me. Never mind that the contents of the pillow cases needed the touch of an iron. This guy had found one more way to say I love you – and that’s what mattered most.
“Two people…. can help each other succeed.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9)