Aug. 11-12, 1970
My close friend Lynn and I had had some very long phone conversations in the last few weeks. Her wedding was less than a month away, and there was much to be done. For one thing, she wanted each of her bridesmaids to sew their own gowns. I understood, having done the same with my bridesmaids. But I was woefully deficient in the skills needed to create a perfect finished product.
“Then come to my house,” she said, “and we’ll make it together, start-to-finish. It’ll be fun!”
It would be a military wedding, a special celebration during this time in our nation when most military news was bad. Don had already been to Vietnam for a year and, as an officer, would undoubtedly be called back. But during these weeks, Lynn’s happy focus was preparing for their wedding.
Knowing Nate was also in the Army, she asked if he could get his hands on 4 official Army swords. They hoped to use them to make an archway for the bride and groom as they exited the church. He promised to do his best.
Our gowns would made from Lynn’s clever design, incorporating the dress-blue color of the Army’s formal uniforms (which the men would be wearing) and the white of their shirts. Lynn even found official brass buttons at the Fort Benning PX, which she planned to line up down the front of our dresses.
Although my sewing skills had been improving, I would never be the seamstress Lynn was. So I was truly grateful she volunteered to guide me through the process… even though it meant taking time away from sewing her own bridal gown to do so — a true friend.
Leaving Nate to his paper route and Estate Planning course, I drove our toxic Mustang north to Lynn’s house, leaving the windows open the whole 3 hours. Nate and I reasoned that there might be time, while I was “in the neighborhood,” to connect with Dad again about our car situation. The Fiat we’d fallen in love with in Champaign had sold, and there were no others available.
Lynn and I, along with bridesmaid Gerry, kept Lynn’s sewing machine humming for two days straight and much of the night in between – all the while having meaningful chats about marriage, sex, and the delights of living with a boyfriend-turned-husband.
We cooked and ate together, laughed a lot, and kept hemming and attaching buttons as our sewing teacher finalized her wedding flowers, pictures, and food on the telephone.
Although our time together was joyful, I was a married woman now and dearly missed my husband, literally getting teary-eyed for him. It went against me to spend a night away from him. But I knew if I left Lynn’s house prematurely, I’d have to finish my gown without her sewing expertise at my elbow – and I couldn’t risk that.
Lynn suggested I take time out to call Nate, and talking to him did help. He encouraged me to stay overnight and said he was doing fine. “Maybe you can meet with your dad tomorrow before you come home.” he said. “If you do, ask his advice about the Mustang.”
So I stayed over, and it’s a good thing I did. We finished my gown, and connecting with Dad turned out to be remarkably profitable.
“A joyful heart is good medicine.” (Proverbs 17:22)