OUR BIG WEDDING
A friend sewed a simple long white dress for me, as well as the two short green bridesmaid dresses. I bought a veil, and that completed my ensemble. I remembered flowers the night before the wedding and picked up a single white
rose to carry.
On the day of our wedding, I stood backstage of the school auditorium and watched Michael graduate and pick up his diploma. I then hurried back to my room to dress. In a few short hours we would be married. Michael and I drove separately to the church, as the groom is not to see the bride before the wedding. I was parked outside, sitting in my car while the rain poured.
Michael was late. He finally drove up to the church and hurried in; I was to find out later that he stopped at a garage sale and bought himself a used sports jacket to wear to the wedding.
Someone signaled that it was time to begin, and as I got out of the car a sweet neighbor lady came running out with an umbrella. I would make it to the church without being drenched.
I opened the front door, and a song began to play on the old upright piano. Our college professor was standing in the front, directly underneath a drip from the leaky roof. Michael and his best friend Ralph stood to the right, and my bridesmaids to the left of our professor. The Co-Pastor of the church, Frank, began to sing “Until the 12th of Never” as I came down the side of the church. There was no center aisle. I thought, “what a nice song”; I hadn’t realized anyone was going sing.
And just like that, we were married. A few Friends surprised us with a small reception at their house. I received a “Cooking for Two” cookbook and my first Tupperware. Approximately 1 hr. later, we were left alone.
Michael was concerned about his family, so we drove to McDonald’s, picked up a sack of hamburgers and showed up at their motel with the food. It was a total surprise to them and to me! The next day we drove to Elkhart, IN and began our married life.
MR. AND MRS.
Married life started out with a bang. Michael had his own home that was rented to his brother who moved out shortly after we returned. Michael went back to work at a trailer factory, and I spent 3 months enjoying my new life. I had a few wedding gifts that I was excited to put in the cupboard, but this had been the home Michael grew up in, and so he knew exactly where the dishes should go. Of course, I thought differently.
My cooking skills were virtually non-existent as I had never lived on my own, but I thought I knew how to cook an egg! My mother-in-law was a fantastic cook and made an egg sandwich that I could not duplicate, so Michael took on the task of instructing me. I secretly prayed that his egg would burn. It didn’t, but it was at this point I began to see that marriage was going to be work. I had a lot to learn. Michael was a night owl; I was an early bird. I was high strung
and wanted to talk about everything; Michael was laid back and didn’t need to talk much at all. At one point when I got upset, I shouted, “the Lord knows my heart”. Michael responded “and He doesn’t know mine?
Michael thought it was time that I got a job, so I applied at a local McDonald’s and was hired. On my first day I sat in the basement under the restaurant, filling out forms and watching videos. As I walked upstairs, I was told to shadow one of the employees. My stomach became a bit queasy as we passed the French Fries. I turned around, opened the first door I could find; and it happened to
be a bathroom. I became ill. When I came out, I said, “I believe I may be pregnant.” I was. I lasted exactly 15 minutes as a McDonald’s employee.
MR. AND MRS. AND ?
Some women glow when they are pregnant, I groan. I had never been so miserable in my life. I had morning sickness that lasted all day, every day. It wasn’t until I went for my first checkup with the Obstetrician, that I got some relief. I had lost a lot of weight and was so sick, they talked about hospitalizing me. Michael thought I looked “great”. I told him not to get used to my being so thin. I was given medication for the nausea and then I ballooned to my normal weight and soared past it. The Dr. was not happy. I never felt well. My only consolation at this point was knowing that there would be a reward at the end of
One of my favorite parts of living in Elkhart was Michael’s church. I quickly got involved in the music program and enjoyed the opportunities given to do solo work. My dream to have a ministry was still a driving force in my life, but now I struggled to even breathe and had virtually no breath control.
Was this the end of my dream? I wondered. More than once I found myself dreaming about that attic, the drawers, and the fact that I was never able to see their contents.
One night I dreamt that I was in an old rundown house. There were many, many rooms that were all in disrepair. The furniture was dusty but usable and every wall needed paint. I ran through the house excitedly, realizing that even if the house would need some work, this house was mine! I opened a drawer.. and woke up. It appeared as if I was having the same dream, just a different location. It was so frustrating!
IT’S A GIRL!
Nine months and a few days later, Julie decided that it was “time”. Michael and I were kneeling to pray at our bedside before he went off to work, and my water broke, so he called his Aunt to take me to the hospital as he headed to work. Michael’s Aunt and I sat in the labor room all day, until he finished work and called me. Michael said he’d be over after he ate and showered. Shortly after he arrived, Julie did. I was so proud of my “natural childbirth” techniques I’d been
taught in the classes we attended.
The exhilaration of going through delivery broke the blood vessels in both my eyes. I was awake all night while the other women around me slept. But the sight of my beautiful little girl made it all worthwhile. A few minutes after Julie’s delivery, Michael went home to bed. He had to go to work early the next morning.
ARIZONA OR BUST
Julie was 5 weeks old when we loaded our old non-air-conditioned pickup truck with everything we owned and headed to Arizona. Our small dog road up front with us. Michael had accepted an invitation to help an elderly Missionary couple down in Eloy Arizona. They had started a church, ministering to the Pima and Papago Indians who lived there.
It was a long, hard drive and when we arrived, the temperature read 115 degrees.
We saw two rainbows in the sky as we pulled in, so believed that the Lord would bless us in our endeavor. Julie had developed a mysterious rash and we had stopped more than once during our arduous journey to try and get her relief. She cried and cried. The first thing I did when we arrived in Eloy was to take her to the one and only Dr. in town. He told me she was severely dehydrated and needed to be in a cool place. He also told me that the local cemetery was filled with babies who had died from dehydration. I immediately
stopped breast feeding her as I was also too dehydrated to do so, and gave her all the fluids she could drink from a bottle. She quickly revived.
A HORSE IS A HORSE?
Michael found a 8 ft by 25 ft long travel trailer with a Swamp Cooler for us to live in. I spent my time caring for Julie and helping at the church any way I could. One day the lady missionary came to me and said, “You will play piano”.
Only problem? I had never touched one before. But there was no one in the church that could, and with the Lord’s help, I learned to play a little. I came up with my own style that I refer to as the “choppy rhythm” technique. I played in both the key of C and F, but the people were grateful for my attempt, no matter how high we had to sing.
Michael found a job at a local pants factory that paid him $2.25 an hour. We eventually purchased a small 50 ft by 75 ft lot on which he kept our home, ducks and a horse. We thought about getting a turkey but decided against it. We
also bought and buried our own pole in the yard so that we could have a telephone.
Tumbleweed was Michael’s 2nd horse that he purchased at a livestock auction. His first horse was purchased from the Papago Indian Reservation and had never been ridden. Michael spent many nights working with the horse, attempting to put a saddle on it so that he could ride it.
One evening I went to pick him up before supper. Michael was so happy! He had finally managed to saddle the horse and wanted to show me. He placed one foot in the stirrup and the saddle slipped completely around the horse’s body.
This caused the horse to step backward, breaking Michael’s ankle. It was so badly broken he was instructed not to step on it for 6 weeks, so I had the privilege of carrying his leg everywhere we went. The Pants Factory got him a wheelchair and he only missed one day of work.
Julie was 6 months old when I found out that I was pregnant once again. I was preparing a duck for Thanksgiving and when I opened the oven and
saw all the grease, I became violently ill. Is there a pattern here? I was sick my entire pregnancy.
This time there would be no hospital, pediatrician, obstetrician or large hospital bills. The local Dr. told Michael and I that he could deliver our baby in his office for $100.00. So that is what we did.
One day, close to the end of my pregnancy I came in for a checkup, carrying Julie. The Dr. preceded to give me a shot and then informed me he was inducing my labor. He had planned to be out of town for the weekend. I was startled and asked if I could call Michael to hold Julie while I gave birth.
The next few hours were a blur. At one point they decided to move me to the delivery table during a contraction, and I yelled out because of the pain. A gas mask was placed over my face and I blacked out. I could hear someone in the distance screaming and a voice saying, “You do not have to scream”. A short time later I woke up next to a cute little boy with big brown eyes. He was crying and sucking his fist. He was hungry! We named him Jeffrey.
An hour later we went home. We stopped by the pharmacy and ran into the wife of Michael’s boss. She asked who’s baby? Ours of course! She came home with us and told me go to bed with Jeffrey. She also made some supper before she left. That was the last help I would receive. The Missionaries who were childless, were less than sympathetic when they found out another baby was coming. They needed help, and my having to care for two small children didn’t leave me much free time.
to be continued…