Newlywed Love (#124)

Newlywed Love (#124)

As Nate and Meg come to the end of their newlywed year, this post will be the last in that series. Future months might bring further chapters of their adventures, but for now we’ll put their love story to rest. Maybe we’ll tell a faster version at some point one month of married life per blog or maybe a series titled “Twenty years later: Middle-aged Love” or “Forty years later: Senior Love.” For now, however, it’s Happy 1st Anniversary!

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November 29, 1970

Nate’s and my first wedding anniversary didn’t disappoint. The two of us began the day “snestling” in bed as we always did, this time wishing each other a Happy Anniversary. As the hours went by, we each found multiple notes here and there, full of rich sentiment.

A cardAnniversary card

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The card reads: “I’ve never been happier than I am this day, our 1st anniversary as a married couple. Thank you abundantly for all the grand happiness of this year. I love you! Meg”

We headed back to the bedroom for a couple of “romantic interludes” during the day and planned a dress-up dinner at a classy restaurant that evening, a place we hadn’t visited since we were dating.

Round BarnNate had taken me to Champaign’s Round Barn in the winter of 1969, when he had been trying hard to win my heart. It must have worked, because when he asked me which restaurant I’d like to go to tonight, that one immediately came to mind.

We also made plans to have a very special dessert at home afterwards. As wedding tradition had it, Mom had saved the top layer of our wedding cake for this important day… in her deep-freeze… for an entire year. She and Dad had delivered it to us when they came for Thanksgiving.

Wedding cakeBack when we ordered our six-layer cake before the wedding, it was traditional for the inside to be all white. But both of us requested that the small top layer be made of dark chocolate. Now we couldn’t wait to feed it to each other, reminiscent of our wedding cake-feeding.

The plan was to use this private cake-ceremony as a symbol of that important day. We wanted to talk over the vows we’d made a year earlier, checking ourselves against them today. And we guessed it might be pretty romantic to feed each other – this time without an audience.

Throughout the day we chatted about all that was happening “a year ago at this time.” Nate brought up specifics I hadn’t remembered, and vice versa. Then, as we cuddled on the couch, we paged through our wedding album, checking to see if our memories were correct. It pleased me greatly that I had married such a sentimental guy.

The mail delivered quite a few anniversary cards, some actually with checks inside. So we took immediate advantage of that generosity at dinner. Nate ordered lobster, and I enjoyed filet mignon – something we probably wouldn’t do again for years.

Although I didn’t journal that night (being busy with better things), the next day I wrote about our cake-eating ceremony, using quite a few exclamation points:

Anniversary evening

The entry reads: “Nate’s prayer of thanksgiving (over our wedding cake) for marriage and me and us was so great —- Nate is so great. How very VERY lucky we are to have each other and mostly a marriage unified in Christ. So perfect is life. I’m in love with Nate and with Christ and with life, all at once. And I’m soooooo HAPPY AND LUCKY!!!!”

It had, indeed, been a wonderful day of love and loving, a springboard into what we hoped would be a 2nd year as good as the 1st.

“My child, listen and be wise: Keep your heart on the right course. If your heart is wise, My own heart will rejoice!” (Proverbs 23:19 & 15)

Newlywed Love (#122)

November 27, 1970

Journal about breakfastAfter a happy Thanks- giving Day, Nate and I started our 1st anniversary celebration-weekend with a bang – by sleeping until 12:30. Then together we made a big breakfast and set the table with silver, crystal, and our wedding china. With candles burning, we sat opposite each other in the center of the fully-extended table (which we’d needed for Thanksgiving) and talked about our marriage.

It was fun reminiscing about our wedding day. We laughed hard remembering our wild get-away from the church with John at the wheel, Nate changing out of his tux in a ladies room, and our mad dash into O’Hare airport – and out again.

Holding hands.We recounted each of the four days we had at the Drake Hotel as honeymooners and then went through the year recalling highlights. As we held hands across the breakfast table, Nate prayed a beautiful prayer of gratitude for all that had happened during this first year, and dedicated our marriage to God for the duration.

After doing the dishes, we got dressed up fancy and headed to Lincoln Square, the local mall, to look at Christmas decorations and buy each other an anniversary gift.

Cookie jarAlthough we’d received anniversary checks from both sets of parents and also Bervin and Mary, generally our finances were still tight. So we settled on a low-budget gift that would benefit both of us: a cookie jar in the shape of a big orange. I promised to fill it later with Nate’s favorite – frosted sugar cookies.

(This was our second cookie jar, but we were using the first one for candy.)

Although our actual anniversary wouldn’t come till Sunday, we splurged with dinner out (pizza) and a movie, figuring it would be appropriate to spend some of our gift-money on celebrating.

Back at home we made a fire and talked about what kind of Christmas tree we’d get the next day – shopping for it together. We talked about the previous year when Nate had surprised me with a tree (below), and I had burst into tears.

First treeAt the time I couldn’t believe he’d “cut me out” of that family tradition, and he couldn’t believe I hadn’t appreciated what he’d done for me.

As we remembered back to our first clash, we were thankful to have reached our 1st anniversary without too many more of those painful misunderstandings.

The day ended amorously — in each other’s arms, feeling warm, secure, and very happy.

“There is a time… for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:8)

Newlywed Love (#120)

November 19-23, 1970

The weekend before Thanksgiving, Nate and I hosted a party for our Sunday school class. We cleaned, grocery-shopped, put a party menu together, and readied for our first “big” company.

J.O.Y. party

I pulled out a couple of my wedding-gift cook books and told Nate I would make an attempt at some interesting recipes. Thankfully it wasn’t a dinner but just dessert.

After baking two cakes, one a “wine cake” and the other plain, I made a raspberry sauce to drizzle over the plain one. If it seemed strange, we could always smother it with whipping cream from the squirt-can.

Of course we bought chips, dips, soft drinks, and even a little wine, though we weren’t sure what Pastor Ralph would think of that.

As we prepared, John and Cathy seemed interested, so we invited them to join us, hoping they might one day attend our lively Sunday school class, too.

All 20 guests threw themselves into a game of charades, and laughs were plentiful. We continued till 1:00 AM – despite the next day being a Monday. John and Cathy were the last to leave, close to 2:00 AM.

Teaching was a challenge the next day after such a short night, because the children and I were preparing for an open house before the Thanksgiving break.

Tee pee exampleTo accompany our unit on American Indians, we were building a six-seater canoe… and a full-sized tee pee! I wondered what ever possessed me to agree to such extreme projects — probably the enthusiasm of some adorable 5-year-olds.

Arriving home to Nate’s loving welcome made everything better, though, and he suggested we nap together before dinner. Two hours later, the world looked brighter, and we were energized to make it through a long evening.

Nate went back to his books, and I wrote the November newsletter for my classroom parents. Many had said they appreciated the monthly communiqué about what their children were doing in school (below) and felt like they were part of the team. My real goal was to let them know how much I loved each of their kids.Parent letter

Open house went well, and the next day was our party send-off to the Thanksgiving weekend. Usually it made me sad not to see them for four days straight, but not this time. My mind was racing with Thanksgiving preparations.

That evening, our family would arrive for 24 hours, and there was much to do. A year earlier we’d eaten Thanksgiving dinner as unmarried singles two days from our wedding. This year we would be hosting as a couple – and it felt great.

 

The RidlensMom and Dad would be bringing brother Tom and three aunties. Mary, Bervin, and baby Luke would come the next morning. And we invited our Danville friends Rick and Barbara (left), who had no local family and no Thanksgiving plans.

Finding beds for our four older relatives would be a logical challenge, but we were glad they wanted to come at all. It would be a holiday to remember!

“How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters [and families] get along!” (Psalm 133:1 The Message)