Wednesday, February 03, 2010

One Fiancé MIA! Part 3: Get Me to the Church on Time

Part 3 of the continuing saga, Get Me to the Church on Time, will further illustrate the vast chasm Life Companion (LC) and I navigated, and continue to navigate. Remember in Part 1 I compared our motivational types, A and Z. In Part 2 I illustrated the unusual 13 year courtship, the military aspect, my love of single life and finally engagement and a wedding date, Friday, Feb. 21, 1969.

LC arranged for leave of sufficient time to arrive in Texas for preliminary requisites like blood tests, marriage licenses and other legalities required prior to the ceremony.

I purchased small silver-plated key chains engraved with the wedding date, Feb.21, 1969, for wedding participants. Since I planned a very simple church wedding, I only had a minister and the trio providing music. Invitations were word of mouth, mostly family and very close friends, although I bought a few generic invitations and mailed them. Thank goodness!!! I had a list of the invitations I chose to mail.

I was no young blushing bride. I wore a nice dress in my favorite color. [Yes I still have it, and NO I cannot get in it!] LC was getting married in what was called Navy dress blues (winter dress uniform), the old style bell bottom trousers. Yes, LC can still wear his original dress blues; in fact, the uniform size is a tad too large.

I purchased two large artificial flower arrangements in aqua and white--the colors of my chosen dress. This turned out to be a wise choice for reasons other than I am allergic to flowers with any scent. Standing at alter sneezing and wheezing did not seem very romantic. Little did I know the time between purchase and use unexpectedly was extended. Live flowers probably would have been wilted.

Since it was a small wedding. the usual large sanctuary was not chosen but a smaller auditorium in the same church was reserved; and a smaller area for reception which was simply cake and appropriate finger snacks. I had no attendants. LC and I would walk down the aisle together. A trio of long-time female friends provided selected music. A long time respected minister agreed to marry us. Invitations were sent to a select small group of family and friends, about 25 total.

All plans were in place and ready, awaiting arrival of one very important piece of the puzzle--the groom.

LC said he would arrive on Wednesday by air, flying into Dallas Love Field [these were the days before DFW Intl]. Since the single flight into my hometown was iffy, and the bus line route was onerous and tiring, friends and I decided to drive to Dallas and pick him up. This sounded like a firm confirmation to me. I was soon to find out nothing is as it seems when Type A (NitWit1) and Type Z (LC) are involved.

Four persons piled into my black Ford LTD and headed for Love Field, about a 200 mile round trip. His projected arrival time was late afternoon. There was no hope of returning home before dark.

We got home AFTER dark, but NO FIANCÉ! no Groom. He was not on the manifest, passenger list. The courteous personnel checked every possible route and reservation. No air passenger service into Love Field had a record LC even bought a ticket. We waited for several incoming flights which he might have LC. The long, tiring ride home was gloomy. Remember this is NOT the era of cell phones or easy access to communication facilities. Pay phones were the only available means of contact.

Because I was drowsy after a long day's work, I allowed a man in our traveling party to make the long drive home, not knowing he also was tired. After dark, and within four blocks of his home,he dozed off and barely side-swiped a tree and car.

My problems just quadrupled. No Fiancé + a driving ticket + two damaged cars (mainly body repair) + insurance rate immediate increase. We did not find the owner of the street-parked car so a note with my phone number was left on the windshield. The owner called early the next morning and we exchanged insurance information. Thankfully, NO one was injured.

Even though we arrived home after dark, it was still early evening in February. I had several phone numbers where LC might be reached, if he was not en route to Texas. When ships are in port telephone services are available. A man, not LC, answered the phone. My question was if LC was on the way to Texas. The man, somewhat humorously, replied, "No, he missed his flight," and then provided me a phone number of a bar close to the ship where I could reach him. I found nothing humorous about potentially missing your wedding day, whiling away the time in a bar.

Needless to say, the news he was in a bar, missed the plane for wedding, and seemingly saw no reason to inform me did not set well with this TYPE A person. Biting my tongue and gritting my teeth, I called the number. He already had a few drinks which probably was good as he was about to see another side of his fiancée.

He informed me all flights out of the Norfolk-Virginia Beach area were fully booked and he was taking a bus to Atlanta (I think) a giant Delta Air Lines hub which he was sure would have several flights to Dallas. He also assured me he would call me when he knew the exact flight. I'm sure he called COLLECT but I do not remember.

I explained to him blood tests and other legal matters were required of both of us, plus we now would only have Friday to get this accomplished. Normally we could not have completed these prerequisites in this time frame, except I knew the people personally who could speed up the procedures, an advantage to living in a small town, fortuitously being employed in the medical field and family who had lived in the same town over 40 years. My Dad knew the county clerk and other governmental personnel on a personal level.

The next day, Thursday, I set about rescheduling the wedding to Saturday, Feb 22. Again the doubts that this marriage would ever take place, from the ever patient minister, singers, and all invited guests. I could do nothing about the engraved key chain dates. It would become one of many things that went wrong, which provided mirth in the retelling even forty years later. Every wedding seems to have some mishap of plans gone awry, but missing a groom usually is not laughable.

Oh yes! Put in a day's work!

What LC and I did not realize was Feb. 21 was the beginning of George Washington's Birthday weekend, now more commonly known as Presidents' dahya much greater observed holiday on the East Coast, than Texas. I later found this to be true when we lived in Baltimore.

LC called with a flight number. He and I assumed he would fly the tree-chopper once a day flight into my home town. Belatedly I realized the two flights would never connect, thus another day would be lost for blood tests and licenses, even if he took the bus. He did not tell me how he planned to get from Dallas to my hometown.

Remember, I was not learned in military protocol and perks; I was marrying an enlisted man ingrained with 10+ years military service. Lower ranked and lower salaried men took advantage of every perk available to them to save expenses. One perk was flying stand-by on military and civilian airways. Military men received first priority. I'm not sure if the fare was reduced or even free. LC probably assumed I knew these little tidbits. It wasn't the last tidbit of knowledge I was to learn in forty years of marriage, some of which I don't care to discuss.

LC was not learned in the necessity of informing his soon-to-be wife about tiny little things like missing the flight taking him to his wedding date. I assume he did not understand the prerequisites to obtaining a marriage license, or the time required for blood tests results to be known.

Some ministers require a brief counseling session prior to the ceremony; however this minister did not, probably surmising persons in their 30s have hashed out all the little things that make or break a marriage. What a miscalculation! We both might as well have been 18!!!

Further, the minister's son played college ball at an Abilene Christian college. He planned to attend the game and still have time to perform our wedding. With all these changes I had to offer him the opportunity to opt out for the wedding, but he still wanted to perform the wedding, probably more so as he was a close friend of my parents.

WILL THIS SAGA EVERY END? HOW, WHEN, and WHERE? I would not have been surprised if enterprising friends had begun taking bets on the likelihood this event would ever take place. One of the women in the musical group asked me what the problem was(?)....not very tactfully, but then she knew me and my family before my parents ever brought me home as an infant.

PHOTOS:[B&W photos I've carried in my purse for 40 years; I think we were approximately the same age]

1. Actually two photos, one overlaying the other: portrait of LC and LC in some Mediterranean country, maybe Sicily

2. A professional photo of myself in my mid-20s.

The following YouTube recording for this blog's episodes[Get Me to the Church on Time}is Judy Garland's performance in 1963: The Judy Garland Show Ep#14 Recorded November 30th 1963; aired December 29th 1963.

As a fan of Garland, I first thought this YouTube recording was made during her declining years, as the singing seemed noticeably off-key, her rhythm out of sync, her dancing(?)or stage movement, jerky and exaggerated. However, when checking the B&W recording info [The Judy Garland Show Ep#14 Recorded November 30th 1963 Aired December 29th 1963] I tempered my somewhat harsh judgment, to 'it is not Judy Garland at her BEST!'

To be continued...
From MIA TO AWOL! ONE FIANCÉ! Part 4: Get Me to the Church on Time.


Linda said...

My what a story. I married a military guy when I was 20 and believe you me there is a lot to learn about military life. You have to quickly give up that old wives tale of being first in your husband's life, not so, the military is always first. When I married in 1962 some of my family opposed me marrying into military life. They looked on that life as if it was made up of white trash.

Arkansas Patti said...

It is just good I didn't know you Feb, 1969 for I would have told you to run for your life, this guy is not in this for the long haul. Aren't you glad I wasn't around for I would have been all wet by 40years.
Still kind of marveling at your hanging in there pre-wedding.

Liz said...

Oh no! Well, we know the saga ended well but what a route to get there. Can't wait for the next instalment.

Kelly said...

Wow! That's quite a story and you tell it so well! I would have been livid if it had happened to me. Looking forward to the part 4. :)

Small City Scenes said...

Oh MY!! that is certaintly a nerve-wracking tale. I know it turned out OK because you are here to tell us. MB

Lisa said...

Wow!!! What a story! I have to go back and read part one and two....The hard work of Marriage started right away. What a great story! Happy Anniversary Month ;-)

Lorna said...

This was such a trial! Still, it turned out well. Congratulations!