How I Met Your Father

Our wedding, my purple wedding dress
My granddaughter Maddie modeling my wedding dress, yes I kept it

I was eighteen and he was twenty when we met. In the summer of 1971 at San Bernardino Valley College, I decided to take some courses. It was the week after the the Fourth of July because I had spent the weekend with friends at the beach and suffered the worst sunburn. My face had blotches of pealing skin, and I looked awful. When Mike passed me in hall, he did a double take and said , Hey, I know you!” I did not feel very attractive and just said, “Yeah, you dated my sister.”

When I got home that day the phone rang, and it was Mike. I told him my sister was married and that I had a boyfriend who at the time  was away in Mexico as an exchange student.

Paris, France

Mike really was not a stranger because when my sister Jo and he dated, I tagged along. My sister was beautiful and the desire of many male suitors, but she was on the shy side. She invited me on these dates to break the ice. I realize this sounds odd, but it was completely innocent and we had fun. My sister started dating other guys and we lost track of Mike.

Zurich, Switzerland

Mike had recently returned from a long trip in Europe traveling and “finding himself,” when we met in the summer of 1971. He was fun to talk to and we shared an attraction at many levels. I felt like I was cheating on my boyfriend and refused to go out with Mike. He made it very difficult to say no, because he came to my place of work and ordered way too much fast food in order to get my attention. I finally agreed to go on a casual date and it was then that he had me write a Dear John letter to my boyfriend.

On our first date he wanted me to see the movie “Patton.” I had no idea what this movie was about, but it was no longer playing in the local  movie theaters. The only place it was showing was at a drive-in in Palm Springs, which was a 45 minute drive. I told Mike that I was not a drive-in type of girl, and it was out of the question. Mike convinced  me that this movie was worth it. The first thing that I learned about my husband is that his cars are impeccable, clean is an understatement. Mike went to get refreshments and I ordered an orange soda. I told Mike that I could balance the drink with one finger. Well, turns out that I could not balance the drink and it spilled all over the car, making  a sticky orange mess; that ended the date.

When my brothers were home it was nearly impossible to date. They were overprotective and always convinced our mother that I was up to no good. Once Mike had tickets to an Elton John concert at the Hollywood Bowl, but my brothers told my mother that a decent girl does not go all the way to LA for a concert. Mike came to pick me up only to have the door slammed at his face. Mike took his sister Norma to the concert instead.

Mike did not give up on me, We were being raised by a single mom, and that meant that all three of our brothers took the role of our father. They no longer lived with us, but when they visited they controlled our social life.

By the time November rolled around we were engaged, and on January 25, 1972, we were married at the home of one of  Mike’s friends. I wore the dress my mother had given me for Christmas, and though my family was not present and I was scared to death, I knew that it was the right decision.

Years later when our daughter Sonja was in high school, she wanted to dress like a hippie for Halloween. I had saved my purple wedding dress, and when Sonja pulled it out, she said that the dress would be perfect. I grabbed the dress from her and yelled,”NO! You can’t wear this dress!” Sonja looked puzzled and responded, “Wow, what’s wrong with you? You act as if were your wedding dress!” I started to laugh and said, “It is my wedding dress!” Sonja still laughs about this incident.

Our wedding was not at a church, but a Christian pastor officiated the nuptials, and though I did recognized the voice of God, I knew this union was of Him. Years later our marriage was blessed by Father Pat at St. Paul Outside-the-Walls in Rome, Italy. You can read story of our renewing our wedding vows in the Blog dated 1/20/16 “I Do.”

Patton is still one of Mike’s favorite movies, along with Braveheart. I recognized the music, and when I walk into the family room, Mike has the sound full blast., with a smirky simile.  I am sure that he has memorized most of the dialogue by now.

There are three things that amaze me—no, four things that I don’t understand: how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman. Proverbs 30:18-19


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