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Once Upon a Time!

It’s honestly impossible to imagine that today celebrates 40 years married to this handsome man of mine.  This morning I was thinking back to when he first asked me out.  I was still only in high school and he was just about to start his senior year of college.

Once upon a time Dw visited the church I was attending and he came up to talk to me.  I thought he was adorable.

A few Sundays later he was back and when he saw me he questioned, “So do your parents let you go out with older guys?”  I returned his question with one of my own, “So what are you 30?”  He smirked and said he was 21.  I told him it would be fine.  I was 17 (but didn’t tell him that!).

He was new to the University of Buffalo and this was long before cell phones, Waze, Siri, Mapquest – in fact a correcting typewriter hadn’t even been invented yet!  He asked if maybe he should drive me home from church to see where I lived so he could pick me up the following Friday.

That second Sunday, when he asked me out, we set it up that we would go the following Friday night {May 7th} to a movie and get something to eat.  Suddenly he remembered, as we were parting ways, that he did not know how to get to my house.   So he offered to drive me home that beautiful Sunday morning.
The funny thing is that he had not yet even asked my name.
I, on the other hand, after talking to him that first Sunday had gone to our pastor to see if I could look through the visitor cards.  I searched through the pile and found his visitor card.
College student.
Name: Dwight
Address:  386 ……..etc.
Wild thing is that years before, when I was about 9 or 10 years old, I had heard the name Dwight and told my mom that I would someday have a son named Dwight because I loved that name.  So when I saw on the visitor’s card that his name was Dwight, I was quite taken (not to mention that blonde curly hair). As I stared at his visitor card, stinkin’ shy as I was, I decided to drive by his home.
That was before they called it STALKING.
But truly, I would have passed out if he had seen me.  Good thing he didn’t. Driving a car and passing out don’t go too well together.   I actually drove by several times that week.  No glimpse of that blonde hunk, but not for lack of trying!
Well that second Sunday when he asked me for a date, we decided that he would drive me home from church so he would know
where to pick me up for our first day the following Friday!  All of a sudden, as we were driving home, he started to laugh and said,  “Hey, I don’t even know your name!”  I thought that was pretty funny and there was no way, no how, that I was going to tell him that I had taken the visitor cards the week before and found out his name and then stalked cruised his house…
I laughed and said, “Why don’t you guess what my name is?’  It’s always kind of amusing to see what someone thinks you might “look like”.  He guessed as we drove toward my home.  He guessed every name he could think of.
Amy
Mary
Nora
Ellen
Kathy
Kristi
etc.
Finally, he said, “I give up.  Please! Tell me your name!” I started to laugh and (being a rather smart bee-hind personality) decided to say the name that I had always found to be about one of the most amusing sounding ladies names…
{and if this is your name, I sincerely apologize in advance}
cause this name just always had struck me funny, although, quite honestly, I had never met anyone with this name. But being that sassy 17 year old that I was, I said, “My name is Gertrude” and  I burst out laughing uncontrollably. To which he replied: “Ummm, that’s my mother’s name.” He wasn’t kidding.  And the moment I heard that this Dwight’s mom’s name was Gertrude, I thought, “Oh my gracious.  I’m probably gonna’ marry this guy and have a mother-in-law named Gertrude.”  
When Dw dropped me off at my home that Sunday he told me that he would call me Friday to make sure everything was all set.  I admit I was disappointed at the thought of having to wait all the way to Friday to talk to him.  But to my delight, the following day I got off work at the nursing home and after walking home, our house phone rang and it was him.  I guess he didn’t want to wait till Friday either.  We talked a few times that week.

On Friday he called in the afternoon and while talking he mentioned that he had received a letter from his mom.  He continued, “She’s a really nice lady, too bad you will never get to meet her.”  Wait, what?  I still laugh at him saying that.  What a weirdo.  Let’s be honest, men are just plain ridiculous sometimes.

That first date we saw a movie, went for pizza and had a good time. Saturday I actually had a date with someone else as it had been set up before Dw even asked me out.  Sunday we saw each other at church and then spent the day together. That evening he told me he had to drive to his hometown to switch vehicles with his dad and asked if I wanted to skip school and go to his home.  So much for not ever meeting his mom! Ha!   I wasn’t sure what my mom would think but to my relief she was great with it.

The drive was gorgeous and being a city girl who longed every single day to live in the country, I was in heaven!  The old home place was amazing. Of course I was so nervous to meet his parents. We found his mom folding laundry at the kitchen table in the old farmhouse when we arrived and both were pleasant.  Not long after meeting them, his dad went out to the barn and Dw followed him out to talk to him.  In the barn his dad asked, “She’s awful young isn’t she?”  True enough, I was often mistaken for a 13 or 14-year-old.

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The day he took me to meet his parents then a picnic at Letchworth State Park not far from the old home place.

It was on that car ride to his home that I began to fall in love with my precious Dw.  We talked, shared hearts, laughed some and just clicked beautifully.  It was so natural.  From that moment on we were a couple.  While dating Dw did not ever bring up the “M” word.  Marriage was too scary to him.  Not sure to this day why, but it was.

One time he asked me, “If we ever were to stay together for a long, long time how many kids would you want to have?”  Well if I had said, “18” (my dream) that might have sent him scurrying.  I wasn’t about to tell him!!  Knowing he has ADD I quickly avoided the questioned and turned it around bubbling back to him, “How many do you want to have?”  He responded, “Four or five.”  And then he forgot he had asked me and he forgot I hadn’t answered him and that was that.  I knew in my heart that God could work with his “four or five” and here we are 40 years later with 14.  We do have our precious four who live with Jesus in heaven and technically that does make 18.   And, of course, we’ll never say never – I mean how could we?  Fourteen is too wonderful to ever say never.

Nineteen months after our first date while in his first year of law school, he proposed and we we were married August 12th, 1978.

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My treasured brother Neil walked me down the aisle.  img070

 

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Our wedding photos crack me up, they’re so ummm 70s!!!  But losing everything to the fire, I’m so thankful we have a few!!

 

By God’s grace, working as a secretary/bookkeeper I was able to put Dw through the last two years of law school without a loan.  He graduated Magna Cum Laude.  He practiced law in Buffalo for almost 11 years, until we packed it up, moved our then three kids (Abigail, Tyler and Autumn) across the country for him to attend seminary.

While pastoring we brought home Emma, Graham, Liberty, Isaiah, Elizabeth, Elijah, Jubilee and Ruby.  After bringing home Ruby Dw resigned and we settled here in Arizona.  Since living in Arizona we have brought home Nehemiah, Johnny and Birdie.

God has been so very good to us.  No doubt, marriage is hard work and ours has been no exception.  Some seasons have been delightful, while others much harder.  Yet through each season our great God has been astoundingly faithful and no doubt He has blessed us more than we have ever deserved.

So on this our 40th anniversary I celebrate life with this man of mine.  Seeing his smiling face still makes my heart flutter and I can’t wait to do the next 40 with him!

I love you Whitey and I couldn’t imagine my life with anyone else.  Happy 40th!!  You are my favorite and no else one has ever come close. 

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4 thoughts on “Once Upon a Time!

  1. Happy Anniversary! Your anniversary trip photos were fantastic. I absolutely love your wedding dress and veil. 35 years ago this October I too married a “Whitey” at the ripe old age of 20. We started dating when I was 15 and he was 16. We have raised 3 children but the Good Lord knows I couldn’t handle more than that.

  2. Congratulations to you both!! Your marriage has been a beautiful tool God has used in powerful ways to love, serve, and care for others! Josiah and I hope you enjoy a truly wonderful day of celebration together! Blessings!!

  3. Such a great story! So young! I love it!! I too was 17 when I met my then 20 year old husband. I was in HS and he was a cadet at West Point. Oh that uniform!!!! Be still my heart! That was 34 years ago. We both didn’t know the Lord then, but He knew us and knew we would both come to him (in our own way within 6 months of each other) so He blessed us with an incredible bond even before we knew Him. I’m forever grateful!

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