Newlywed Love (#96)

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:


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)

Newlywed Love (#95)

September 6-8, 1970


My friend Lynn and I had a storehouse of memories big enough to fill several books, going back to our pre-teen days.

Lynn, high schoolOver the years we’d gotten to know each other well as together we strategized in and out of countless boy-girl relationships.

Once in a while we’d sit down and list what would make the perfect husband.

When Nate and I began dating, Lynn walked with me through the 3 years of ups and downs that finally led to our wedding. And I was with her the night she met Don and through all the heart-to-hearts that followed.

Now we had come to their wedding weekend, and as Nate and I raced toward the Chicago area from Champaign to participate, we couldn’t have been happier for them. Chatting through the miles, I recounted to Nate what a loyal friend Lynn had been as I remembered her excitement the weekend we got married.

Though she and Don had met by then, they lived 850 miles apart and no commitments had yet been made. But despite Lynn not being sure she’d be trying on wedding gowns any time soon, she had happily joined into all my joy in doing that same thing. She made 3 of my bridesmaids’ gowns and in so many ways was my best cheerleader through those heady days.

Now we were on our way to celebrate Lynn and her man on their wedding weekend. As we drove north, we hoped we wouldn’t be stopped by any policemen for anything, since we had 4 very sharp swords packed in the Fiat.

Rehearsal group

We were late arriving to the rehearsal, but Lynn filled us in. She directed Nate and his swords to the other three military guys where he passed along the instruction he’d received from the officer who’d given him the swords. Apparently it was important to hold them a certain way. He also gave them their white gloves.

Sword practiceWhile they headed outside to practice, Lynn introduced me to the friend of Don’s with whom I’d be walking as a bridesmaid. She also told me that if Nate agreed, she wanted him to walk her mother down the aisle. He said yes and considered it a great honor.

The rehearsal evening was almost as much fun as the wedding, although the bride and groom couldn’t go home together afterwards. As for Nate and I, we didn’t go home together that night either.

Lynn and Meg in aisleI went to Lynn’s house with the other bridesmaids, and he went off with Don and Co. to the bachelor party, followed by a night with Mom and Dad.

It was never our first choice to spend a night apart, but he encouraged me to go with the girls, and I loved him for all the freedom he gave me. He was always gracious, never trying to control me in any way.

The bride and bridesmaids wasted no time when we got to Lynn’s house, donning our bathing suits and heading to a neighbor’s pool. Making the most of our togetherness, we stayed up half the night talking about every possible marriage scenario. Lynn could hardly wait!

“A worthy wife is a crown for her husband.” (Proverbs 12:4)

Newlywed Love (#94)

September 1-4, 1970

The day after Nate’s newspaper meltdown, he was clear-headed and had his decision. He would quit the route. Although both of us had been taught not to be quitters, we agreed that this time it was a case of cutting our losses.

I went off to my first full day with the kindergarteners knowing that by the time I returned, a heavy burden would have been lifted from my husband’s worn out shoulders. And when I did come home, tired but content, he greeted me at the door – with a “thank-you-hydrangea.”

Hydrangea --Over and over he thanked me for being supportive of his decision to quit, saying he hoped I didn’t think less of him for it. But I told him that in my deepest heart, I knew it was the right thing to do and was proud of him for facing it head-on.

His boss hadn’t made it easy, but he had accepted Nate’s resignation, telling him he’d seen it coming. Then he reiterated his threat about the bond card.

“I’ll pay the money for sure,” Nate said. And we both knew he would.

Now Nate was eager to catch up on his Estate Planning course without the paper route hanging over him. Concentrated studying never looked so good.

Studying. The law school trimester system scheduled the fall term to begin in late September, so the heaviest part of his summer class was just ahead – lengthy papers and a complicated “memo,” Parts I, II, and III.

“I’ll type it all for you,” I said, wanting to help. “Maybe I can learn something.” With all the legalese in his papers, however, that was doubtful.

The week passed happily as we adjusted to a less-stressed life, and I got back into the rhythm of an 80 mile commute. I was figuring out who-was-who among my adorable students and treasured my time with them so much I would have taught them for free – had we not needed the money.

With my regular paycheck, though, we could chip away at the $170 debt and show good faith to both sets of parents by starting paybacks to them, too. We planned to drive to Wilmette over Labor Day weekend to help our friends Lynn and Don get married, and would also get to catch up with family… including Baron!

Earlier in the week Nate had secured permission to borrow four Army swords for the wedding arch, and by Thursday his pressed uniform was hanging in the bedroom, all set to go. My pseudo-military gown was ready, too, hanging at Lynn’s house, where we had stitched it together.

Nate's uniformAfter dinner on Thursday we were packing when I surprised Nate by coming out of the bedroom in his Army coat. I knew he would love it, and he did, asking me to pose for a picture.

I also knew he’d want to quickly take it off and get it safely back on the hanger… which is why I wasn’t wearing anything underneath. Who knew packing could be so much fun?

“Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you.” (Proverbs 5:18)