…of course I did; these things happen as you grow older!
Wednesday was our 15th Wedding Anniversary! Yeah us!
(—> Here’s where I would insert a picture of us together, but I can’t find a recent one! <—)
It was a busy day, and a little “off” from the get-go. My husband and I *rarely* exchange gifts for any occasion – birthday, anniversary, Christmas. Nada. Zippo. So true to form, I didn’t get him anything. He was in San Antonio all day and thought to stop and buy me some cinnamon-glazed pecans and some pecan-smoked beef jerkey from a roadside novelty shop. It may not sound romantic, but I really enjoyed them!
Since our oldest daughter had plans for the night, our friend Dallas watched the other kids while my husband and I went out to dinner. The place we had chosen turned out to be closed – clearly we hadn’t done very thorough research! We drove around and around and ended up closer in to Houston at a place called Papasito’s. It was TexMex. It was ok. More “whatever” than “oh, wow!” but it was the company that mattered most.
A couple of years ago I recorded the story of how my husband and I met/married. Yes, it’s more of a “/” between met and married than anything else. 🙂 Read on if you’d like to know all the gory details!
This one is easy to tell, and it usually gets a few dropped jaws, so I’ll tell it.
February 20, 1993
I was 19 and in my 2nd year of college. I had converted to my religion about six months earlier, and had finally found a niche among the young people in the area (the college kids in my church meet in their own congregations…to be among peers and offer better support to one another). Our college congregation was having a fancy dance, with swing music and appropriate time-period attire suggested. I had found an amazing black dress at a vintage store (many, many sizes smaller than I am now!!), and frankly, I looked awesome. I was ready for fun.
The organizers of the dance had actually set people up with blind dates for the evening. It was a pretty informal “date”, but they worried that guys/girls wouldn’t really get dancing together otherwise. My date did not show. I was very sad. I looked great and was ready to “wow”.
A friend of mine and her boyfriend were at the dance. I adored my friend, but thought her boyfriend was a jerk (he seemed so arrogant). As I sat in the lounge area of the women’s bathroom, feeling completely sorry for my dateless self, my friend came in and insisted that I not wallow. She said her boyfriend’s brother was at the dance and was having a miserable time, too. Apparently his “date” was recently divorced and could not stop talking about her ex and how destitute she felt. My friend insisted that this guy was *FINE* (she kept saying that, over and over), and that he didn’t know anyone else at the dance…wouldn’t I just go to meet him?
I said ok. She was right – he WAS *fine*. He had returned from his church mission to Mexico just 10 days prior to the dance. He was tall, thin (from lots and lots of riding bikes through Mexico City), and very tanned from the Mexican sun. He was immediately pleasant and very complimentary of how I looked. I was flattered. We danced just a few songs, but sat the rest of the evening just talking. While he had been in Mexico, his family had moved from a small town in Eastern Oregon to Eugene (where we were at), so he really didn’t know anyone. Rather than seem out of place, though, he seemed confident and – best of all – completely fixed on me.
We said goodbye at the end of the night – no kiss, no pressure – but a promise to talk the next day.
We talked the next day, and the next, and the next. We ended up spending every waking moment together. I remember the other girls in our congregation being *SOOO* jealous – a young man, new to the area, fresh from a mission is a hot commodity in a college congregation – and why on earth was he interested in the new girl? I remember hearing them talking and feeling such a swelling of gratitude in my heart.
One week after we met he proposed to me. I said yes.
We told his family. They were cautiously excited, understanding that sometimes God will just move two people together that are meant to be together. We did not tell my family. Small detail here – I had been engaged before. I had done many impulsive things before. They would not have been believing of my new decision, and they would have been right to be doubtful (being that they loved me). But they did get to meet him very briefly – we drove down to CA to surprise my dad on his 60th birthday – and they all thought he was nice.
April 16, 1993
Less than two months after meeting, we decide to elope. This decision was arrived at for variety of reasons, each a bit complicated to explain to a mixed audience. But we did it.
This is a story within a story. From Eugene, Oregon, we think to ourselves, you can get married *anywhere* in Nevada, right. So, we look at a map and decide (for some reason) to go to Winnemuca, NV. We drive for hours and hours and hours. We are broke. Money is vanishing. We get to Winnemuca late, everything is locked up. We knock on doors. One gentleman tells us he knows the county clerk in Lovelock, NV who can get us a marriage license.
We drive to Lovelock, NV. We call the woman from a payphone. I remember she had to hurry because she had something in the oven. She met us at the courthouse, opened it up, took us into an office, typed something up for us and sent us on our way. She suggested we head to Reno, NV.
Reno, NV. Where to get married? It was about 9pm by this time, and we had been on the road since 6am. We had brought nice clothes that we were just too tired to change into. We found a place – Cupid’s Chapel of Love – and went in. No joke, we were married by an Elvis impersonator. In our jeans and t-shirts. We were man and wife.
Now what? Where to stay? We were broke. We drove to Sparks, NV and found a little dive called The 7 Dwarves Motel. Each room had a different dwarf on the door, except for ours – the “honeymoon suite”. ??? The place stank, it was dirty. The bathroom was tiny with a shower the size of one you’d find in an RV. The toilet was right next to it, and from that spot you could reach out the window and touch the building next door. The door to the bedroom literally hit the end of the bed when you opened the door. It was crazy. But we were married, and we were happy.
We called his family that night. His mom cried. They freaked out. This was bad. We had not adhered to the tradition and doctrine of our church, so this was not only an embarrassment, but a failure for his parents. We did right by them (and ourselves, truly) by fixing all that up at a later time. But we had a very rough start with his family because of our actions.
We called my family after we got home a few days later. They laughed. Then they threatened him with bodily harm if he hurt me. They gave us a year.
April 8, 2006
Next Sunday – Easter – will be our 13th wedding anniversary. The last 13 years have been fabulous, difficult, fun, full of worry and struggles and beautiful children and tests of our faith (and the strenthening of our faith). Our story is unique. It’s ours.