October 3-5, 1970
On Saturday morning we invited my old carpool buddy Linda and her husband Ron over for an early breakfast. We hadn’t connected since the summer and wanted to swap stories of how things were going in our new schools.
It was an especially cold morning, so Nate built a fire to make our get-together special. I scrambled eggs and made toast while the coffee percolated, and everything was ready when they walked in the door.
The four of us shared lively conversation around the table until mid-morning, and Linda commiserated with me over my ongoing 80 mile round-trip to Danville each day. Her new commute was about 3 miles.
But we reminisced about how very special that year at McKinley School had been when Judy, Linda, and I were all newlyweds and new teachers together – a unique time in our lives. Progress would continue to separate us, but we hoped we would always remain friends, even if only long distance.
After they left, Nate and I decided to steal a couple of hours from his heavy study schedule to visit our favorite place – Allerton Park. The leaves were turning, and I was especially enamored with the red sumac and its velvety, crimson cones. After picking an arm-load of branches and collecting a bag-full of the cones, I couldn’t wait to decorate our classroom for the season.
Nate gathered pine cones for an art project that would happen closer to Christmas. Then, once our work was done, we spent some quality time together on a blanket drinking coffee and munching on red licorice.
When we got home, I spread out my autumn collection on the table and thought about the many creative suggestions my students were sure to offer about how to use it all.
The next day, Sunday, included another lively discussion in the young couples’ group. Our class name was J.O.Y. — Jesus, others, and you — but lately it lacked joy and was more like a debate competition. Martin wasn’t there, but another young husband, Warren, took his place.
He didn’t criticize the pastor but made a fool of himself with senseless arguing. Once again Nate jumped in, and I felt sorry for Pastor Ralph as he tried to wrangle the discussion back on topic.
After church and Sunday school, Nate and I followed our usual Sunday routine: eggs for brunch, the Chicago Sunday Tribune spread all over the bed, and then a nap.
I told Nate I was glad our first home wasn’t in either of our home towns. That way we didn’t get swept into the weekend schedules of all the relatives but held more tightly to each other – a good way to start a marriage.
“He lets me rest in green meadows. He leads me beside peaceful streams.” (Psalm 23:2)