Newlywed Love (#61)

May 14, 1970


Nate was a natural worrier, something new I was learning about my young husband. Although he was a good student, he always doubted his readiness for class participation and exams. I thought of him as one of those people who was “sure” he would fail every test but then would end up getting “A’s”.

My experience had always been to worry about getting a bad grade and then get one. It bothered me that Nate worried so much when most of it was unnecessary.

Worse yet, he was already stressing about a first law job, where it might be, and how grueling the interview process to get it would be. He was also concerned about how his active duty military requirements could possibly fit with his graduation from law school and his first “real” job.

My philosophy had always been to worry only about the thing in front of me and leave the next one alone till it came into view. But I had to admit, that plan often resulted in being unprepared and missing opportunities.

Nevertheless, I wished Nate wouldn’t worry so much. I knew that career issues were big for guys and that Nate wanted to be successful so he could provide for me and whatever family we might have. That part I liked.

Studying.Our differences in thinking, however, were probably one of those things married couples couldn’t change about each other. We’d been warned not to try that, and though I would have preferred Nate not worry so much, I knew telling him to stop wouldn’t make any difference.

He was programmed to be concerned for things far down the road, and the truth was, I could benefit from having some of that rub off on me.

I wrote in my journal:

Although I can’t share his worry and anxiety over his future career, I know the need of a male to be successful is great. I love him more for desiring to get so much out of life. And ambition is one of the qualities I admire most in him.

(I also admired his body, telling him he looked like Michelangelo’s sculpture of David.)  I wrote:

He’s so neat and strong looking, and looks like the statue of Michelangelo’s “David.” Nate is a beautiful, generous, manner-ful, gracious, tactful person. I’ll love him more with each tomorrow.


And with all that going on, maybe a little worrying wasn’t such a big deal anyway.

“Let God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.” (Philippians 4:6-7, The Message)



As of tomorrow, Meg and Nate’s newlywed story will be on hold for about 10 days. Six of my grandchildren and their parents will be here taking precedence over     blog-writing time as we play at the beach.



From Iowa (top) and Florida (bottom)

    But before this brief hiatus, one last post about the newlyweds,                       sending them out on a high.


May 4, 1970

From my journal:

This afternoon Nate was home before I was, writing one of his long final papers. When I began to put my key in the apartment lock, the door swung open wide, and before me stood a tall, black stool upon which was an avocado green napkin, upon which was a large silver tray, upon which was our long-awaited Chicago teachers pension check — $838.11…. instant salvation from debt – presented to me on a silver platter! Exuberant hugging, kissing, and a celebration dinner out!

JournalWe had been struggling to stay ahead financially, borrowing here and there from parents and the university, but had both been bothered by it. When the check from Chicago came, we could hardly believe it! It had been weeks, actually months, since we’d applied, and we were sure my teaching record had slipped through the cracks.

What a pleasure it would be to pay off the university and Nate’s parents. The money we owed Dad for his help with the Mustang would take longer, but with these funds, we could make a big dent in it. And what a good feeling that was!

HailstonesEven nature decided to celebrate with us. A sudden, wild hailstorm covered our brick street with marble-size hailstones, delivering them in a torrential rain. Because it was warm out, we skipped down the stairs with bowl-in-hand and filled it with hailstones.

Though it was nearly 11:00 PM when we climbed back up to our apartment, we had made a fun, slap-happy memory. The fact that we were soaked didn’t detract from the reality that it had been a good day – a very good day.

We had fresh bounty for our bank account and a bowlful of hailstones for our freezer.

“Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity…” (Ephesians 5:15-16)

Newlywed Love (#54)

April 19, 1970

The school year was rushing to a close, which was bittersweet for Linda, Judy, and I. Our 80-mile round trip commute had amounted to 8 hours of chat-time each week, and somewhere along the way we had become fast friends. Linda and I, sharing a lunch hour, had even found a nearby park where springy weather beckoned.

Lunch breakSitting (or lying) on a sheet, we’d munch on water-packed tuna with crackers while soaking up the sunshine. Never mind that our quiet spot was next to an interstate overpass. To us it was a mini-vacation in the middle of a teaching day.

One evening we three couples gathered at our apartment for a fondue dinner. In the course of the evening, Linda and Ron, Judy and Bill each shared plans for the big changes coming after the school year ended. As we talked about these uncertainties, one of the girls said, “Sometimes my head hurts just thinking about it all.”

Nate and I shot a glance at each other. “Your head hurts?” he said. “You mean like a headache?”

Judy and BillWithin a few minutes we learned that all three of us were experiencing the same regular headaches. Fascinated by this discovery, we talked further and figured out they only came on school days, never weekends.

(Left: Judy and Bill)

“I wonder if we’re allergic to something at school?” I said. “Like paint? Or mold?”

Although the headaches occurred only on weekdays, it wasn’t all weekdays. That eliminated the allergy theory. But we agreed they seemed to come in waves, several days at a time, followed by several days without them.

Linda and RonAfter swapping more stories and recalling dates, we concluded the headaches came only during the weeks I drove. And there was God’s answer for question #1 when we’d asked what was causing them. Answer? Our “cool” Mustang.

(Right: Linda and Ron)

We decided on a test. Nate and I would swap cars the next week, and I would drive the carpool in his VW. He would take the Mustang to campus, a much shorter commute.

At the end of the week we knew we were right – no Mustang, no headaches.

Nate took the car to an auto shop, explaining the problem while we kept our fingers crossed that it would be something simple and cheap.

Before long the mechanic called. “I found your problem,” he said. “There’s exhaust leaking directly into the car. Your wives were experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning.”

Nate and I felt terrible, promising our friends the Mustang would be completely repaired before any further commutes.

But once it was fixed and I resumed driving it, the headaches returned. In great frustration Nate took it back to the shop. The mechanic made another repair, but that one failed too — along with a third. Finally Nate promised our discouraged friends that the Mustang would never again make the run to Danville.

It would be hard telling Dad of our misfortune, especially since we hadn’t yet paid him back for his loan to buy the Mustang. But the hard truth was, we were back in the car-shopping business. And that was God’s answer to question #2 when we’d asked what needed to be done.

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you…. things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)