As I get ready to write this I need to preface this with a little history of me. I was raised by a single mom who was very strong willed and did not teach me tactfulness…that being said…here goes:
In Spring of 1975 we (my mom, younger sister and I along with my Grandpa) were living in Indio, CA (near Palm Springs). In March of that year Mom announced she and Joanie (my little sister) were moving to Las Vegas. She was leaving her job as Manager of the local bowling alley. I late found out the bowling alley had been bought by a new company and she didn’t want to deal with the new owners. I told her I did not want to move…I was in the last semester of high school. I was in the top 25 of over 500 students. I was head majorette and I was trying to get into the University of Maryland in Baltimore. I had too much too lose if I moved. So I talked to my Grandpa and to my French teacher. Both said I could stay with them so I could graduate with my class. Yippee!!!
Fast forward four months. I graduated #25 out of 529 students with a 4.0 GPA on a Friday night, June 6th. On Sunday, June 8th I moved to Las Vegas with my mom and little sister. The first two things on my agenda was to find a church (I had accepted the Lord in May, just a few weeks before I graduated) and to find a job. I found a job right away at Lerner’s Dress Shop at the local mall (this is important information for later in the story). Now I just needed to find a church.
Remember I am 17 years old, been practically living on my own for the last four months. So I called a Baptist church I found in the phone book. I spoke with Linda, the pastor’s wife, and asked her if there were any young guys that went to her church. She immediately replied “young lady you need to go to church for the Lord not for guys.” And I promptly replied, “you are right but the Lord won’t put me in a church where there aren’t any guys.” Linda said “there are three: a 17 year old, a 19 year old and a 21 year old.” Okay, now so I made plans to attend on Sunday, June 22nd. The story as I tell it is: the 17 year old was too young, the 21 year old walked in with a gal on his arm, and Ron was the leftover 🙂 (he was the 19 year old).
He said hi to me that morning and then again that evening at the evening service. I was then invited over to the pastor’s house for some fellowship with the young people. Tammy, the pastor’s daughter, asked me my phone number. I told her. Ron memorized it. We visited a little at the pastors house. Then we went to our separate homes. What I later found out was that Ron wrote his Dad a letter that night and told him that he had met the girl he was going to marry!!!!!
About a week and a half later Ron got a letter from him mom asking all sorts of questions about me. In fact, 26 questions! And me being me, not very tactful I sat down and answered every single question and ended the letter saying “the next time you have a question about me, ask me.” Needless to say we did not hit it off at the beginning of our relationship.
On July 20th Ron and I went on a picnic. One of the things we talked about was Ron going on a visit to Washington to see family and friends. He asked me if I wanted to go along. I said sure!!! but one problem, I wouldn’t go on a trip like that unless we were married. Ron got very quiet and changed the subject. The next day, July 21, 1975 Ron proposed to me. I was so excited and yet scared wondering what my mom would say. So we didn’t tell anyone. That is till the Monday of Labor Day weekend.
I was getting ready for work and my mom asked me if Ron and I had talked about getting married. I quickly said no. She then asked me if I loved him. I replied no. And went to work. As soon as I got to the mall I went to Sees Candies where Ron was working a part-time job. I walked up to the counter and told him we need to talk SOON! When he got a break he came down to Lerners and I took a break so we could tell. I told him about the conversation with my mom and that we needed to talk to her. I don’t lie and lying to my mom was just wrong. He said okay. So I called my step-dad and asked him to tell mom to come home right after work. She got off work at 11:00 p.m. She did not get home till 2:00 a.m. I was sleeping on the couch and Ron was sleeping on the floor. When she came in she asked what was up. I told her that I had lied to her earlier in the day. That in fact I did love Ron and Ron loved me and we were getting married on Dec. 20th. She asked the dumbest question: Well I want to know are you going to love each other when you are old and gray? We both laughed and said yes and she said OK. So all was good and Ron left to go home. He had to be at work at 7:00 a.m.
Immediately after Ron left mom went into her bedroom and yelled Margaret Alice Nelson, get your a** in here now. Now I knew I was in trouble ~ big time. She wanted to know why we had not told her earlier. I said I was afraid of her reaction because of how she had reacted when Kathy had to get married. She said that was different and it really was. And then she said I could marry Ron but I needed to remember two things. One that no matter how tough it got in our marriage I was not going to be allowed to come home and live. And then she said it again in plain old English : you make your bed, you sleep in it. And then she hugged me.
Like any 17 year old I was giddy with happiness and super excited. So I wrote “our wedding day” on the calendar and then counted backwards to see how many days till the big day. We also decided to tell Ron’s parents when they arrived in Las Vegas. A week and a half later Ron’s family arrived. As they say “whoever they is” the best laid plans…..we had talked that we would tell them over dinner. Well they went to Ron’s apartment and member of Ron’s family started
snooped looked around and saw what I had written on the calendar. So we didn’t even get to share the news. Lots of things then happened.
1. Ron’s mom said we should have told her because now they had to make two trips to Las Vegas. Oh well.
2. I got my first taste in how
cheap frugal Ron’s mom was. She did not want to spend money going out to eat while they were in Las Vegas (one week). So Ron and the family came to Lerners and walked through the store (I had not met them yet) and I just kinda looked at them like I should When I got my break I went to Sees and was introduced to the family. I can’t say I felt all warm & fuzzy all over at that first meeting. Anne (Ron’s mom) asked me what color dishes and cookware I wanted. The only thing that came to mind was avocado green! Our first set of dishes was melmac avocado green with brown mushrooms and avocado green cookware. We still had some of those plates and one pan when we gave away our 16′ travel trailer in 2005. The dishes and the pans went with the trailer. That was thirty years we had those. They sure don’t make dishes and cookware like that any more.
I could share more but this post is plenty long for now. I will continue this saga in the next post.
Got any questions…ask away and I will try to answer them.