Friday, February 6, 2009

Looking Back at our Honeymoon

Bob and I were married in Houston, Texas over thirty years ago on April Fools 1978. It was a fun wedding. Just a small, family affair at my folks rental house. It was convenient, practical. But, not somewhere we can ever visit again, except to drive by.

I was the oldest. The first to flee. Bob flew into town earlier that week, from Savannah, and we proceeded to the doctor's office for the required blood test. Bob and his Dad shared a room at the Holiday Inn a few blocks away. My Dad's Mother, known as "Nannie" also shared that hotel. And I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when Nannie met Bob's Dad there. I wonder now if the triplets stayed Bonnie?

I should have told my folks, just IMMEDIATE family, because they dug up some relatives I had not seen in years and years. And that idiot woman that just thought it was the cutest thing to give me a silver plate or something and smear her fingerprints all over it with the exclamation that now I would need to polish it in my spare time. I dumped all the silver crap onto my sister-in-law as she liked the stuff. Life is way too short to polish silver, in my opinion.

Ours was a 10am wedding. Military time: 1000 hours. Bob in his dress blues, Best Man in his Air Force uniform. And my favorite part of our wedding pictures---Bob's hand on my waist, as if he was getting a good deal, and was not letting go.

After a back yard early brunch of fruit salad, boiled shrimp and cake, we changed duds and piled into my plymouth already hooked to the U-haul trailer holding my antique dresser, hope chest, and twin bed. And we slowly wound our way east. We wanted to spend our first night in Texas, so we stopped in Beaumont, or was it Orange, Texas. Supped at a Luby's, and got that car washed of its shoe polish slogans. Next morning, we discovered Bob had left his brief case back at my folk's house. So, Sunday morning, we drove back to Houston, picked up the briefcase finding my sister in bed sick (maid of honor partied too hard?) So, our second night found us driving to Gulfport, Mississippi to a Ramada Inn. Or, was it a Hilton. Safely enscounced in our room, planes started landing. For hours, jets screeched overhead. It was a hoot.

I think we made it almost to Tallahassee when we had the blowout. And Bob about had a heart attack when he gazed upon the tires from the vantage point of underneath, and noticed how bald they were on the inside. So, our first purchase as a couple, our first big purchase, was four tires for my car in Tallahassee, Florida. We called some friends who lived there, and they wanted us to stay with them, but we enjoyed the privacy of the hotel. I started a bout of my first ever bladder infection--also called Honeymoon Cystitus. That is what the doctor at the emergency room in Jessup, Georgia called it late the next night. And looking back, neither Bob nor I remember ever getting a bill. We pulled into Fort Stewart, Georgia late, late so Bob could sign in, and I headed straight for the rest room. The horse pills they gave me at the emergency room gave me relief, and put me out like a light. So, I was sleeping in Bob's lap as we pulled into our brand new apartment complex. Bob had procurred a one bedroom on the second story, and had a big queen sized bed and phone waiting. And a surprise: a beautiful green and white dress hanging on my side of the closet. Bob had decided that the closet looked just too bare. So, he bought me a dress. (see above picture) We hauled up my furniture, and returned the U-haul trailor the next day, and then drove back to Fort Stewart (40 miles) to get my military ID---the most important thing.

We started with plenty of kitchen stuff, and we had a small library antique table, and dresser and bed. But, sat on boxes for a while as chairs until we could go shopping and find a dining table and chairs. I had never really been shopping with Bob before while we were dating, and I found it embarrassing to see him get down and examine how the tables were constructed. I learned that he had been taught to appreciate good furniture, and dove-tailing.

It was a fun, practical honeymoon. It fit who we were. It served the purpose of getting me and my stuff from Houston to Savannah. And the azalias were gorgeous. We laughed a lot. Bob would leave early for that forty mile commute and I explored Savannah. Savannah had the best old library. I used to send this huge lunch with Bob of two sandwiches, and all sorts of goodies. Bob said that his fellow soldiers would gather round his desk to see him unpack it all. And he would finish it on the drive home---and not always be real hungry for the huge meal I would have waiting.

But, it was fun. And we bought our first Scrabble game. And we took lots of jogs through the countryside. And Oglethorpe mall was not too far away for a haircut and shopping. Bob knew the Army was cutting officers, so he knew he only had nine months to go. During one training exercise down to Florida, I got to pick Bob up in the fog at Hunter Army Airfield. I knew how to wind my way through the back gate and across a runway to pick him up. He had grown a mustache while out in the field for a week, and I felt like I was picking up Omar Shariff in the fog! The Ranger Battalion was moving to Hunter, and we met and entertained a soldier from there, as well as a Marine friend from Paris Island, and a West Pointer grad also stationed at Fort Stewart that my family had known in Houston. I also met Bob's cousin and his wife, a Marine who would spend 20 years in the service before retiring. I was so afraid of this gruff little, intense guy at first. I kept thinking he was going to make me drop and give him twenty.

Fort Stewart had a lot of old World War II buildings. The hospital was a hodge-podge of one story buildings thrown together with ramps and odd angle hallways. We spent many a holiday hanging out there as my bouts with urinary tract infections continued until I learned to take alfalfa tablets preventitively (years later). And I attended a few officers' wives "coffees".

And as newlyweds, we managed a few long trips to Illinois to show Bob THE FARM where my grandparents lived their whole lives, and meet aunts and uncles from the area. We even rode with my grandparents on up to Wisconsin to see my aunt and her twins--I think they were just toddlers at the time. And we traveled back to Houston for Thanksgiving, and El Paso---and Bob's Dad invited us to live with him in his huge house on the west side when Bob got out of the Army. So, in January, we moved to El Paso where Bob tacked the engineering degree on top of his math degree. We lived with Bob's Dad for a year, and then got our own apartment after a summer in Dallas for that final semester. It was great to be emersed in Bob's huge family as his Dad was a widower, and his siblings that still lived at home were cycling in and out of that house going to college in New Mexico, Houston, and there in El Paso, at UTEP. I worked for a plumber, and cooked and kept house. It was fun. And we learned a lot.

And Bob studied, and worked parttime for his Dad doing construction. And Bob's Dad had an elderly gentleman that lived with them who had suffered a brain injury in a car wreck years before. I never knew if I was serving five for supper or ten. It was fun. And the married siblings would come home for the holidays, and I got to know them, too.

We moved to Arlington to an apartment on the east edge of Fort Worth, and Bob went to work for TP&L downtown Dallas. Then, when our firstborn was six months old, we found this house in Arlington because that baby needed a yard. a fenced in yard. And we have lived here ever since as Bob worked in Dallas for eleven years, then Fort Worth eleven years and weathered ten name changes--and consolidations. When Andy was almost five years old, James and Ben were born here, and this is where they went to school, and this is where James attended college. We have seen Arlington grow---we remember when that McDonalds on I-20 and Collins was way out there by itself.

And the honeymoon has not ended. Now, as the boys have flown the nest, we still play Scrabble, and act goofy, and mow that yard. We invited Ben out to supper last night to hear all about his photovotaic school in Waco, and getting in the news in Abilene when they installed solar panels atop ACU. James should be home tonight from Fort Sill, and we have his guest room all prettied up. And if/when Andy brings his family to visit, we have the guest room, and room for the grandchild to run.

We have such fond memories of Savannah, Georgia. We explored the forts, and historical places. We checked out the beaches, and drove through the fancier suburbs we heard about on the radio. Someday we will have to go back to visit, but I doubt we recognize the place.


JAMIE'S CREW said...

what an enjoyable story!!

Bob said...

Thirty-one years into the honeymoon, and it's still an adventure. We ought to visit Savannah some day.