We met during the Spring of 1965 when he came to candidate at our church. Fireworks didn’t go off. But we barely met. I think i simply shook his hand when I left the service where he preached. As it turned out, he was called to come to our church as Assistant Pastor to work with Christian Education and Youth. But by the time he graduated and moved there, I was gone. My job dried up and I ended up spending the summer in New Jersey with a friend of our family, waitressing. In August, I moved to Philadelphia, PA to start my nursing program. It was like a dream come true. I wanted to be a nurse for most of my life. Finally, I was on my way. That Christmas, I went back to Ft. Lauderdale and actually MET Ron.
My first Christmas home from Philadelphia
We had an evening program at church that night. A couple of us gave testimonies, some music, etc. It went well. There was nothing highly profound, but we had fun. My grandparents were getting to know Ron pretty well. He had a standing invitation at their home on Sundays after church. He didn’t always come, but often he did. As you can imagine, he got to know all about the family that way.
The beginning of our correspondence
That January, he sent a sort of form letter out to all the college student.The first paragraph was the same for everyone, the second was more personal, then the third was more the same for everyone. It was very open-ended and gave the opportunity for responses, So I did. It turns out that I was the only one!
Over the next year, we wrote back and forth. We slowly got to know each other…and liked what we learned. It was during that time that we realized he was 8 years older than I. The next Christmas, my parents were in the U.S. and decided to spend it in Virginia with the other side of the family. I was disappointed because I wanted to see Ron and get to know him better in person.
The summer of my second year of Nursing, my vacation was going to be in August (2 weeks). As it turned out, Ron was planning to take a group of college kids to Costa Rica on a mission trip where my parents were. Since it conflicted with the time we were going to be there, my dad was trying to change the date. I had to intervene and tell him that Ron and I were writing each other and needed the time to get to know each other away from Ft. Lauderdale. He was quite surprised. By this time, we had been writing a year and a half.
Our time together in Costa Rica
It was great! It worked out to about 1/2 day of work each day. In reality, we tended to have full work days and full tourist days most of the time. We all returned to FL together and I had a few days there before returning to Philadelphia. Ron and I spent a couple of moonlit nights on the beach having long conversations. When I returned to Philadelphia, I was pretty sure I had met my man.
In October, he came up to visit me. He wanted to make his decision regarding us so that neither of us would be left hanging. He stayed in the apartment of some friends of mine who were on their honeymoon. We had a great visit and took some time going up to New York City for a long day. (He had never been there before.) At the end of each day, he gave me a progress report. “I’m not sure yet.”
Finally, the proposal came. It wasn’t on the final day either!
One afternoon, however, he asked me to marry him! I was a little surprised, but not really. It all just seemed to be moving in that direction. We decided not to announce our engagement until Christmas. We knew we wouldn’t be able to get married until the next September. Christmas was going to be soon enough to announce our engagement. It would give him enough time to get the ring. I would have to get permission from my school to be engaged too. It was fun to think about all the coming events.
Best decision I ever made…to spend my life with this man!
Of all the decisions I ever made, the decision to marry Ron is the best one I made ever. This doesn’t count becoming a Christian of course. Marrying Ron brought a calmness and acceptance into my life that I hadn’t known before. I was pretty logical about decisions, but he was even more so. Best of all, it was wonderful to have his wisdom and knowledge of life with me. I had been on my own in many ways since 10th grade. Now, I had another human to lean on. It was wonderful. His sense of humor was, and is rather dry and has always kept me laughing.
He has been the best gift of my life. I know our years together are running out. As dementia and the effect of strokes change him, I miss the real him more. But I am also thankful for the gift he has been for over 50 years now.
Happy Birthday Ron!
And today, he is 82 years old. Happy Birthday to you…my dear sweet love!