Memories are a very strange phenomenon … if you stop and think about it for very long. Or at the very least…I’m just one strange bird. I’m sure I could get an amen for that!
The 24th of July would be our 52 anniversary, if Jim had not been called home three years ago. All week I have been as one adrift in a vast ocean of memories. Each memory as a wave that overwhelms and sweeps away all current reality. Some good…some not so good…and some were just simply mind-blowing.
Each and every time the vault of my memory started to creak open, a blurred picture would streak through the small slit and then almost miraculously materialize in full form – as if I were transported back in time to that very moment. If I allowed myself to float a moment or two, I could envision the entire picture – not just what triggered that memory to be sealed away.
So back to the July 24th safety deposit box in that full memory vault. We were so young….in fact, I had only graduated high school 2 months before our scheduled wedding! Barely 18, and Jim was a mere 20 – just babies now that I think about it … and every bit the epitome of ‘stupid know it alls’!
We really thought we had it all together – we were ‘adults‘ and knew exactly what we wanted and how to do it – without the help of anyone else! Boy were we wrong. However, we started out with the best of intentions, and we truly were head over heels in love with each other. Nothing would keep us apart. In fact, I had been in love with this strong, independent, sexy guy since i was about 15…and I chased him until he caught me!
As I float on this memory wave for more than a few moments I recall the music and the excitement and heat of being in a church without a/c .. and feeling like a princess. Then my father, after walking his oldest daughter down the aisle, lifted my veil and placed my hand in Jim’s hand….his last words were ‘you better take care of her’!
And the rest of the ceremony is almost a blur as during part of it – the heat (and excitement) got to me and I fainted….it was over 100 degrees I’m sure! The priest, Father Walsh, offered me a chalice of wine….that did me in for sure! The Catholic wedding was fairly long, but the reception was short and sweet – and we stayed the alotted time and then were off for our honeymoon!
Back in 1970 – most didn’t go on extravagant honeymoons, at least if you lived in a little village called Cahokia. We traveled a couple hours south to the Ozarks and stayed at Big Springs Resort…a sweet spot even 50 years later. Sweet little cabins, spring fed streams and soothing sounds from the quiet hillsides. It was, to this young bride, a piece of heaven.
After that week in paradise, we traveled back to our hometown to try to figure things out. Our first home was a tiny basement apartment – 2 rooms and a bath. The living room had a pull out sofa that we slept on that my Grandmother Michael donated to us, and the tiny kitchen had a small table with a sink right next to it. Yes, tiny, but it was ours…and the best part??? It was only $60/month! Yep…$60 bucks, which included water and electricity! Of course, our income wasn’t that great either, but we were over the moon in love.
After a year or so, we bought our first ‘home’ – a 12 x 60 trailer and lived in a small trailer subdivision. I have to admit that I loved that first home…it was at the end of the street, next to the levy and behind us was a huge fenced in field that had horses. My second piece of heaven. (note to all – I really never want to live in a trailer again!)
Well, I do believe I will continue this story, as I am thoroughly enjoying the trip .. but you’ve probably read enough for one sitting. So enjoy a few pics of our early years and come back and read a bit more in a few days