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:

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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)

Newlywed Love (#90)

August 17-19, 1970

 

LynnMy friend Lynn’s bridesmaids and I were planning a bridal shower for her, and my Mom, the tireless entertainer, was delighted to host it at her house. Since we’d waited so long to get organized, invitations had to be made by phone. Nevertheless, we’d gotten an enthusiastic response — and planned to make it a surprise party!

We bridesmaids were putting together a “This is Your Life” presentation on cassette tape, and my part was doing the only thing that could be done from hundreds of miles away: writing the script. It was my favorite kind of job.

Meanwhile, Nate’s parents were on the way to our apartment to celebrate their firstborn’s birthday. I was nervous about making all the meals during their visit, since Lois was such an excellent cook. Although I’d spent time with Nate’s folks on multiple occasions, I still felt I needed to win their approval. My dear husband insisted they already approved, but I wasn’t so sure.

Nate’s brother Ken couldn’t come due to work conflicts, a disappointment to both of us. On the positive side, though, Ken had told us he’d been accepted at the U. of Illinois for the fall semester, so we’d be getting to see much more of him in the near future.

Happy birthdayThe birthday party for just the 4 of us was a quiet but meaningful celebration, and Nate ended up with 3 cakes – the one I made, the one Lois brought, and the one our downstairs neighbors (Fred and Alice) sent up.

This elderly couple had loaned us the saw to dismantle our first Christmas tree, and though we weren’t together often, we took time to enjoy them whenever any of us crossed paths. Nate and I were flattered by their thoughtful gesture. Sadly, neither was able to climb the steps to join our little party.

Nate opened his few gifts, and turning 25 ended up to be the magic number for phenomenal birthday presents… first the Fiat, and then, from Nate’s folks, the rest of our registered china. In 1969 the protocol was to register a china pattern that wedding guests would give plate-by-plate, bowl-by-bowl, cup-by-cup.

When we counted up after the wedding, we had a generous assortment of dishes but very few complete place settings.

Reading of their giftThis birthday gift, to both of us, would fill in the blanks – and give us 12 of everything: dinner plates, salad plates, bread plates, berry bowls, etc.

Nate read the card about their plan and then handed it to me. Both of us were flabbergasted… and elated! We had anticipated many years going by before being able to afford the rest of the set.

Our two days with Lois and Willard passed happily as we explored the local shopping mall together, took in a movie (The Sundance Kid), and gave rides in the Fiat.

Fiat rides.Neither of us was sure what Lois and Willard thought of our “tiny foreign car,” as they called it, but they didn’t criticize. Nate did say his mother gripped the dashboard with both hands the entire time they were out driving —  much like someone on a frightening roller coaster at an amusement park.

 

They departed after our second dinner together, and Nate immediately dug into his books while I went to work on Lynn’s shower. We were expecting over 30 guests (the very next day), and there was much to do.

“God says… giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors Me.” (Psalm 50:22)

Newlywed Love (#87)

August 12, 1970

 

Lynn and kitty.Before I waved goodbye to Lynn (left), I called Mom and Dad. They were fresh back from their Canadian vacation and enthusiastically invited me over – anxious to share pictures and stories.

When I arrived, my thoughts were on our Baron, and I couldn’t wait to cuddle him again. So when I walked in, it was upsetting that he didn’t appear. “Where’s our puppy-dog?” I said, feeling nervous.

“When we left for Canada,” Mom said, “the plan was to drop him at Mary and Bervin’s to spend the week playing with Russell. But Tom said his good friend David who adores Baron, as you know, had asked if he couldn’t please keep him instead. With Russell still trying to get used to his new home, we thought that arrangement would be best.”

So Baron was in Chicago, and though I knew David well and trusted him completely, it was a disappointment. Mom and Dad were planning to retrieve him as soon as they next went into the city. Maybe it was good they didn’t have to care for him for a few days.

The giversMeanwhile, Mom was bubbling over with the joys of their Keswick trip and wanted to share every detail. Dad, too, had positive comments about their time away. Over an afternoon snack of cheese, toast, and grapes, I caught up with all their news and was glad I’d come.

 

 

Then, just when the conversation gave me an opening to bring up our problematic Mustang, Dad took the floor again. “Your Ma and I bought a birthday present for you. It’s for Nate, too.” I found it unusual that Dad mentioned a birthday gift, since that was Mom’s department.

Then without pausing he said, “We bought you a Fiat.”

“What?” I said, completely stunned.

Before I could think straight enough to respond, he continued. “The dealer says he’ll take the Mustang off your hands, too. I told him all about the fumes, but he still gave us credit for it — eager to seal the deal, I guess.”

I was astounded. What a gift! Nate would be shocked, too!

More than likely Dad reasoned it would have been many years before we could have paid him back for the car, and we still owed for the Mustang (a debt he let stand). Whatever his thought process had been, I was grateful for it! He assured me he’d given matching funds to Mary and Tom to “keep things even,” and they, too, had been surprised and overjoyed.

Our mid-afternoon table-talk ended with, “You can drive it home tonight if we can get there before closing.”

Dad and I hurried out to the Mustang, and with wind whistling through open windows, made it in time. When they brought the Fiat around front for us, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was a twin to the one Nate and I had ogled-over in Champaign — black convertible top with hunter green body.

The new car

I decided not to warn Nate ahead of time so he could receive the same wonderful, whopping surprise I had. And I could hardly wait!

“The Lord brought me out into a spacious place.” (Psalm 18:19)