Newlywed Love (#118)

November 10, 1970

Baron grows...After spending time with Baron, we always missed him more. But this time, after returning to Champaign, we got to enjoy another doggie, which took our minds off him.

Snoopy, a Beagle, belonged to one of my students. Jill was the daughter of old friends from Moody Church, and it was a happy coincidence that she landed in my kindergarten class.

One day her mom came to school to ask a favor. Would Nate and I be willing to keep Snoopy for a while so they could go on a family trip? We jumped at the idea, and in a few days, we had a foster puppy.

Snoopy.Snoopy made himself right at home and got us out walking multiple times every day. We were learning that we didn’t have to own a dog to get a doggie-fix every now and then.

We made another canine pal after I became friends with a teacher at my school named Barbara. She and her husband Rick lived in Danville, and we began asking them over for dinner here and there. One night when they had a power outage, they came and slept over. We used the time to plot and film a primitive home movie.

InkaWhenever Barbara and Rick came, they brought their dog Inka, much to our delight. Inka knew lots of tricks, and Nate loved moving her through her repertoire. Though our landlord didn’t allow live-in dogs, we didn’t think he’d mind a visitor now and then – and we loved having both Snoopy and Inka come over.

Nate’s studying was intensifying as the end of law school approached (January), and he had multiple papers due. Dog-walking was a nice diversion, and during Snoopy’s stay, he and Nate became good buddies. I think Nate actually enjoyed having someone to talk to while I was in Danville.

As the studying intensified, Nate would sometimes have to work well into the night. We’d have an extra-long prayer time on those days, though, just before I went to bed, asking God to give him efficiency, high quality work, and energy.

Nate's note.One morning I found a note taped to the bathroom mirror.

“Baby, thank you for the prayer last evening. I am more thankful every day that there is Unity in our marriage. I persevered until 3:30. Please wake me up at 7:00. I have to do footnotes. Love forever, Nate.”

We couldn’t wait till we were finished with school and out in the real world where paychecks would replace tuition payments and grades would be no more. And once we were settled, we might even be able to own a dog.

“Patient endurance is what you need now.” (Hebrews 10:36)

Newlywed Love (#117)

November 7-9, 1970

Nate and I were getting along great, so thankful to be married and living together.

Friends in VietnamOccasionally we’d watch the news coverage of Vietnam and grow agitated about Nate’s future with the military. Three friends overseas had actually sent us pictures, showing how radi- cally different their lives were from ours. Had Nate not joined ROTC, however, he would have been drafted and most likely located in Vietnam by now. Life in the reserves for the next few years would always be better than that.

A quick trip to the Chicago area reunited us with baby Luke as he approached his one month birthday, and also with our “baby” Baron – who wasn’t really ours anymore.

David, Baron, and Tom

When Mom broke her arm and had to wear a bulky cast for six weeks, Baron had taken up full-time residence with my brother’s friend David. Baron and David loved each other with abandon.

We still got to spend time with this special doggie, though, since Mom kindly invited him (and David) to many of our family gatherings.

 

Our two babiesBaron was keenly interested in baby Luke, and as always, he was a delight to watch. But we had fully accepted that our lives were too fluid to include a pet, especially one as time-intensive as a dog. With David, Baron now had a back yard where he could run, along with a dog-loving family that lavished attention on him. It was a good fit.

After seeing Baron and Luke, Nate and I also squeezed in a quick trip to spend 24 hours with his parents. Lois cooked a Thanksgiving dinner, since our Thanksgiving would be spent in Champaign with my side of the family.

She also gave me a wonderful gift during our visit. After watching her pull out a box of old photographs, I got my first look at Nate as a child. It was heart-warming when she said, “Would you like to take some of these home with you?”

Kindergartener

One photo completely charmed me. Little Nathan, as his family called him, was sitting on a trike at about kindergarten-age. It illustrated the get-up-and-go his parents frequently talked about in reference to his childhood.

His firm grip on the handlebars, his bright eyes and big smile, and his badly-skinned knee were indicative of a lively, determined little boy.

As soon as we got back to Champaign, I framed the photo for our bedroom wall. Looking at it brought me sweet pleasure, making me wonder if we’d ever have children of our own. And if we did, would they look like this little guy? I hoped so.

Meanwhile, I would have to be content exercising my love for children through 28 kindergarteners and baby Luke. But those opportunities were OK by me.

“Out of the mouths of babes… you [Lord] have ordained strength.” (Psalm 8:2)

Newlywed Love (#97)

September 6-7, 1970

M, E, and B

A blog note:

Our daughter Birgitta and granddaughter Emerald (right) will be arriving tonight for a happy weekend in Michigan.

 

Then on Monday, my college roommate Julie (below) will be coming with her friend Ming for the rest of the week.

 

Beach buddiesBecause of these festivities, the blog-saga of Meg and Nate’s newlywed year will be on hold for a week or so.

Eventually we’ll get them to their first wedding anniversary (November 29) before closing the book on them. First, though, let’s see how the 1970 Labor Day weekend finished out:

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Smooching BaronAfter Lynn and Don’s wedding, Nate and I made a bee-line across two suburbs to Mom and Dad’s place in Wilmette – anticipating a reunion with our beloved doggie Baron. As soon as we saw him, Nate scooped him up and planted a kiss right on his nose. (Picture is of a second kiss the next day…)

We were astounded by how much he’d grown. Obviously, he was a happy, healthy poochie.

On Sunday, Mom hosted a mid-day dinner that doubled as a birthday party for Dad (#71) and brother Tom (#20), who was born on Dad’s 50th.

 

David and TomAmong the party guests was Tom’s good friend David (to the left of Tom), the guy who had become a regular babysitter for Baron. As the afternoon unfolded, Nate and I could see how close David and Baron had become, with “our” puppy responding better to him than to us.

 

 

On the drive back to Champaign early the next morning, we could see the writing on the wall. Since we had one more year in our apartment where dogs weren’t allowed, and since Mom and Dad seemed to continually be on the move, Baron would be spending more and more time with David — and end up in his family instead of ours.

Playing with BaronThough we could rightfully claim him after our year in Champaign, by then that would be hard on both boy-and-dog. So, as we ticked off the miles toward home, we felt ourselves slowly accepting a difficult truth: we would need to begin separating from sweet Baron.

We drove along in silence trying to absorb this sad reality, and I remembered something David had said at the dinner. “I hope some day you’ll let me take care of Baron full time. That would be a dream come true for me. And my whole family already loves him.”

Though Nate was feeling low too, he came up with one positive thought. “I’m sure if Baron went with David, he’d let us visit him any time we came to town.” Since his family and ours were good friends through decades together at Moody Church, I knew that was true.

“Also,” Nate said, “letting your parents get out from under the responsibility we never should have put on them in the first place, is the right thing to do.” We both knew that, too.

Shaking a balloonBy the time we pulled into our gravel parking spot behind the apartment, Nate and I reasoned that maybe the back story of why Baron had come to us at all was because God wanted us to deliver him to David. As hard as that was to think about, it would mean that everything was actually turning out the way it was supposed to be.

“Submit to God and be at peace with him.” (Job 22:21)