Tuesday, November 25, 1969
Today was the day Nate picked up his new suit, shirt, and tie. His parents knew we were tight financially and had sent a check earlier, instructing him to make the purchases. “You need something fresh for the rehearsal dinner and related events,” they had said. “And not a sport coat. Make it a suit.”
Then they added, “We’ve sent some extra money for you to buy a new pair of pajamas, too – for your honeymoon.”
Nate and I had a long laugh over that one, although he did dutifully buy some sky-blue PJs with white piping around the collar and pocket — in case they asked. Both of us knew those ‘jammies would never make it out of the package.
On this day, the Tuesday of our wedding week, Nate walked in with the finished suit zippered inside a Carson Pirie Scott garment bag. He’d chosen a dignified charcoal grey that was nicely tailored, and I made him model it — another opportunity to tell him he was the handsome-est, best-lookin’ guy I’d ever met. We did a little dance around the apartment, reveling in the knowledge that we were so close to our wedding weekend.
After that it was time to have a brief but important little ceremony, just the two of us. Many months ago, Nate and I had discussed whether or not we would use birth control after we were married…. and if so, what kind. “The pill” was new and highly controversial, and we weren’t sure it was our best choice.
But as the weeks passed and we researched other options, the pill seemed like the way to go. And many of our married friends were using it without any problems.
Taking that first one with a swallow of wine, though, felt like starting a ritual I wasn’t sure I should, despite both Nate and I voting in favor. I loved children and had arranged my life to include plenty of them, as far back as I could remember. Taking the pill was saying no to our own babies, and there was a tiny prickle of doubt in the back of my brain. But I swilled it down anyway, looking forward to the years immediately ahead – with just Nate and me. It sounded blissful.
That evening we invited friends John and Cathy to share a soup supper with us. Nate wanted to work on the logistics of our getaway after the reception, and John would be our driver.
We shared some of the post-wedding shenanigans we knew about, including my sister’s experience. Her honeymoon luggage had been “stolen” before the end of the reception, and she wore my dress for their departure – an outfit 2 sizes too big for her. Her suitcase was deposited in Mom and Dad’s driveway in the middle of that night and then quietly brought to Bervin (by me) the next day.
Nate and I hoped to make our transition from reception to honeymoon a little smoother than that, with John and Cathy expediting it. They were up for it, without reservations.
John apologized for his old, slightly banged-up “poverty car,” but that didn’t matter to us. “Will it be in the pictures?” he asked.
“It probably will,” Nate said, “but don’t worry. It’ll be dark out.”
So we made a plan to evade mischief-makers, but more than likely they were simultaneously making a plan of their own.
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22)