Newlywed Love (#112)

Eating Mandarin orangesTomorrow we’ll be starting our holiday celebrating a week early by taking a trip to Iowa to visit Birgitta, Emerald, and Spencer.

We’ll also be spending time with Nate’s brother Ken (below).

After that we’ll get to have Emerald with us for a week in Michigan, and before we make our turkey dinner, she and I will be busy catching up on granddaughter adventures.

Uncle Ken.So, the 1970 Newlywed year of Nate and Meg will have to conclude after the Thanksgiving weekend — about 10 days from now. But before I sign off for a while, let’s watch these two meet the first baby in the family….

 

 

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Super 8 moviesOctober 24-28, 1970

After our apartment research project in Chicago, Nate and I made a bee-line for my family – and especially baby Luke, now 9 days old. We brought our Super 8 movie camera to record his every move and couldn’t wait to get our hands on him.

Actually, it was mostly me eager for that, since Nate was unfamiliar with babies. I don’t believe he’d ever held a baby, nor was he a natural with children. He worried about hurting little Luke if he held him, and I assured him babies were more durable than that.

When we finally got together with this little one, it was every bit as thrilling as I’d anticipated. A new baby! Right here in our family! I couldn’t think of any greater blessing. He looked just like his daddy, which was appropriate, since they shared a middle name: Charles.

Baby LukeI coaxed Nate to hold him, which he did reluctantly, but Luke performed perfectly. The evening flew by with our family baby becoming an even bigger hit than Mary’s delicious apple pie.

I loved watching Mary handle Luke. She seemed to glow with a special happiness I hadn’t seen in her before.

As Nate and I got in the car to head toward Mom and Dad’s for an overnight, I expounded on the good movies I’d gotten — an entire reel.

The next day was Luke’s debut at Moody Church, and we watched from the sidelines as he and his parents were swarmed by well-wishers. During our family lunch at a restaurant, it was my turn to hold him as he slept and admire his flawless skin — and oh that sweet baby scent. When it came time for us to say goodbye, our departure was difficult – until the whole group promised to come to Champaign for Thanksgiving. That made it easier.

Rolling creme centersOnce we were home, Nate returned to his grueling studies, and I went over to Cathy’s house to begin making Christmas candy. Our goal was to mix 6 batches of different crème fillings and then leave them to chill in preparation for dipping on another day. And we did it!

Much later, as Nate and I were readying for bed, I asked if he could drop off the movie film at the camera shop the next day. Longing to see and touch Luke again, I knew watching the movie would help.

When I opened the camera, though, I was stunned to see we’d shot 50 feet of pictures without any film! “I feel like I’ve just been robbed!” I said.

“Well,” Nate said, “at least you still have the movie that’s inside your head.” Though he was trying to encourage me, as always, I could have kicked myself for such an “expensive” oversight.

“Let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12)

Newlywed Love (#111)

October 23-25, 1970

Nate’s lengthy Estate Planning memo was due on October 23 – a thick document he’d worked on from mid-summer till now. He was deep into several other classes, too, and had been pouring on the power night and day. On the 23rd when I left for school, he was proofreading one last time.

As I was about to dismiss my morning kindergarteners, he appeared at our classroom door sporting a wide grin. I knew that meant the paper was done, and ran to give him a big hug… while the children giggled at us.

“I came to take you out to a celebration lunch,” he said. It was a moment of triumph, and I was delighted he had wanted to drive 40 miles to spend it with me. When lunch was over, it was difficult to say goodbye, but duty called. And Nate had to get back to his books.

Estate planningHopefully he would graduate in January after one last batch of exams. Both of us were keyed up about the end finally being in sight. Focusing for so long on his Estate Planning paper, though, had done something special for him – peaked his interest in that field. He talked about looking for his first job at one of the many Chicago banks, in a trust department.

I got goose bumps thinking of moving back to the Chicago area, and as we talked further, the goose bumps only grew. That’s because Nate said he wanted to look at a few apartments the next time we drove through the city. I couldn’t believe it! That would be the following day, when we went north to meet Baby Luke.

As I grabbed him to dance around the room, he said, “It’s too early to commit to anything. This will be strictly for research purposes. We need to find out what Chicago apartments cost and figure out how much is too much.”

Hancock CenterNot the least bit discouraged I said, “Let’s look at the 100-story John Hancock Center,” a nearly-new building purported to be the second tallest in the world. I’d heard it was one-third offices, one-third apartments, and one-third parking. And right on Lake Michigan’s beautiful shore!

After entertaining six friends on Friday evening, we got up early Saturday and headed for Chicago – and the John Hancock Center. It was a rude awakening to find out the only way to live there was to buy your apartment, and the prices were exorbitant!

We traveled north along Sheridan Road, stopping at several more buildings, all on Lake Michigan. Our research showed us that we wouldn’t be able to afford a high-rise or lakefront apartment at all but would have to settle for something “lower” (in terms of floors) and “farther” (away from the lake).

And there was one other factor, something that might have powerful sway over where we lived after graduation: The Army.

The ArmyWe knew at a minimum Nate would have to go on active duty for the summer, but depending on what I would be doing, we hoped we could still live together – whether in Chicago or at one of the many military posts across the land.

But only time would tell.

“My times are in Your hands.” (Psalm 31:15)

Newlywed Love (#99)

September 12-13, 1970

 

DQAlthough Nate was a diligent student who put his work ahead of almost everything else, I never had trouble coaxing him to take a break with me – whether it was to go for a walk, splurge on a Dairy Queen cone, or head into the bedroom.

I felt secure in knowing that though his studies were important to him, he made me an even higher priority. What girl could want more than that?

After a grueling week, especially for him, we were eager for the weekend when Chicago friends Kathy and Bob would arrive for 24 hours. The 4 of us had met in undergrad days — Kathy and I at Wheaton, Bob and Nate at Northwestern.

These two had actually introduced Nate and I on that fateful blind date when I’d worn only underwear beneath my Jackie Kennedy coat. We would be forever indebted to them.

Bob and NateBob and Nate had much in common. Both were in law school, and both loved discussing current events. Both were facing uncertainty with the Army gobbling up young men as it was, and both were working hard to please their new wives.

When Kathy and Bob arrived, we enjoyed catching up on all our friends from college days, and the weekend was a big success. We visited a flea market where Nate splurged on two spoon rings for us. Bob picked up the tab at the Chinese restaurant, and we howled over silly pictures from our early days together.

 

Saying goodbyeAfter Sunday morning breakfast, once again we found ourselves in the street in front of our building waving goodbye, wondering when we’d next see these two special people.

Though Nate and I were late for the church service, we were on time for our Sunday school class of young marrieds, which met afterwards. Ralph, the head pastor everyone loved, was our teacher, and he was always ready with stirring questions that prompted lively discussion each week.

I admired the way he settled debates with Scripture. On this particular Sunday, though, we were surprised by what happened. One of the young husbands, Martin, was frustrated by the way the dialogue was going and began criticizing Ralph with harsh words.

First Baptist Church of Urbana, ILThe rest of us sat speechless as he raised his voice and overstepped his bounds, saying things we knew he would regret. Ralph, trying to be gracious, was being steamrolled, and none of us knew what to do.

Then Nate jumped in.

He addressed Martin directly, and without using any unkind words, he pointed out the flaws in his arguments. Then he took Martin to task over the way he was disrespecting our pastor, silencing him in the process. As Nate spoke, I glanced at the others in the room. Some were nodding. Others were grinning. And I was bursting with pride.

Though Ralph reached out to Martin after class, Martin seemed unable to reach back, but I imagine our soft-spoken pastor thought about that difficult morning all afternoon.

I've got it goodDuring our evening stroll, Nate asked for my opinion about the class, hoping he hadn’t said too much. I assured him his words were very much needed, and after praising his tactful but effective Martin-muzzling, my only other thought was, “I feel sorry for his wife…”

….which, of course, was because I had it so good.

“As we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10)