March 14, 1970
Nate and I loved having company from “home,” especially when it was our closest friends. My long-term pal Lynn (we’d met as pre-teens) had begun dating a guy she’d met in Chicago some months before. Lynn and I had been together when she and Don had first connected, and “sparking” happened immediately.
Don was a career Army officer and had already been to Vietnam and back. He was a captain in charge of many other men and knew how to fly helicopters. All of this impressed Lynn and I, and Don seemed very brave. Though he was soft-spoken and humble, we’d both been in awe that night.
It wasn’t too many months before Lynn was moving to Georgia where Don was based. Thankfully, Champaign was on their route south, so they stopped at our apartment for 24 hours. Lynn and I were elated to be together again, and our men had no lack of things to talk about, having the Army in common.
That evening after dinner, we pulled out the movie projector we’d received as a wedding gift, and Nate, never having operated a projector before, left it up to me.
After several false starts, it began working, and we showed the first movie – a small reel of 50 feet – on a blank white wall.
Our Super 8 camera had been going steadily since our wedding, recording movies of everyone who came and went (along with lots of footage of ourselves). Unfortunately in trying to show the films, we often met with jam-ups and other discouraging failures.
This night, however, the first reel flowed nicely, and we howled at the people dancing around on our dining room wall. The biggest laugh, however, came when we turned the lights back on.
When bedtime came, Nate suggested Lynn be on the Murphy bed and Don on the living room couch. What they did after lights out would be up to them.
Both of us were growing to love Don, and once we were settled into bed ourselves, Nate and I talked about the possibility of a marriage in their future.
But after they pulled away I slipped my hand into Nate’s and said, “I have a funny feeling Lynn will never be back.” Knowing I was having a sad thought, he put his arm around me and squeezed tight.
As we stood looking down the road where Lynn and Don had disappeared, I thought about the many rapid changes coming to us and to many of our friends. Watching Lynn leave was unsettling. But I knew my dear friend was on the same romantic high I’d been on in 1969 just before Nate and I got engaged. Because of that, she wasn’t sad at all.
So…. how could I be anything but happy for her?
“May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.” (Numbers 6:24-25)