This blog primarily concerns the trip to my husband's (H) home in Scranton SC, and meet some friends and members of his family, I had not previously met. Let me re-phrase that last part......a lot of friends and members. I'll explain in a bit.
Here are the previous post links:
When Type A Meet Type Z: Part 1 Get Me to the Church on Time
The Path to the Alter Is Not Straight: Part 2 Get Me to the Church on TimeOne Fiancé MIA! Part 3: Get Me to the Church on Time
From MIA TO AWOL! ONE FIANCÉ! Part 4: Get Me to the Church on Time
Dueling Chairs - Part V: Get Me to the Church on TimeDespite the tribulations discussed in the links above, in retrospect, a great number of the seemingly unbelievable events were products involved both our very different cultures mixed with the military culture. Some of which still arise today, except the military element is gone.
He was from a deep south family, who grew up with limited income; I was from a lower middle class religious family with one breadwinner who wisely and frugally managed to provide his three children and wife with a comfortable lifestyle.
He escaped via a military career, even though monetary income was not what it is today, benefits were certainly better than he ever had. I also participate in his benefits today via primarily the medical benefits, but also monetarily.
With my family's support, and I, with some part-time work, had a college degree in a profitable field and quite independent thereafter. H benefited from my additional income during my working career cut about 5 years short by a bout with cancers.
We both married at ages 34(H) and 33(me). The fact we both were accustomed to singularity may have been both a plus and sometimes a minus in our marriage. Pluses may have been maturity--we had sowed our oats a long time before, and minuses include some unwarranted independence and inconsiderate decisions.
|SC Wedding Shower - Mt.Gilead Free Will |
Baptist Church-Scranton, SC
L-R Husband, Myself, Unidentified Lady
After the wedding we spend several days in my hometown, packing my possessions in a U-Haul trailer. There was no furniture, but it was amazing how much filled that trailer, including wedding gifts.
We also had to wait for a repair shop to fix a small fender bender to my car, which happened near the end of one of the trips to Dallas hunting him down.
There was to be NO honeymoon. I often joke my privilege to accompany him and live in a foreign country, Morocco, was my 2.25 year honeymoon. It was a somewhat life-changing period of time for me. He, of course, literally cruised around the world.
Leaving all that was familiar was somewhat traumatic and our trip to South Carolina was tense at times. I had met his parents and one brother earlier, when I flew into Charleston. His mother had cancer, and was in a hospital, not expected to live. However, she rallied as she had many times over a 5-year period.
When we arrived from the long trek across the South from Texas, his mother had a hot meal prepared, of Shelly's favorite foods. I was quickly informed, and remember her words to this day: " Carol, this is Shelly's favorite foods, and you need to learn to cook them." I dutifully observed and politely ate them.
WHAT WERE THESE FOODS? Brown Speckled Butter Beans, a type of Lima bean, not to be confused with BROWN Butter beans, served with huge mounds of rice.
Both are available as dried beans in South Carolina and nearby states, but difficult to find elsewhere. Both beans change color when cooked, The plain brown Lima turns very dark brown; the speckled bean changes to a grayish brown color and speckles basically disappear.
[I have posted about these beans previously and some of the cuisine listed in this post. Using search of my labels should find the posts.]
I was introduced to other interesting cuisine, chicken purleau , fish stew and mackerel or salmon scrambled with eggs and served over grits. I did not then realize the cuisine was closely related to the Gullah culture which resides along the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia and upper Florida.
It took awhile, but I can minimally cook the beans, chicken purleau and salmon/grits, but not fish stew which is a specialty of one of H's former brother-in-laws. In my later years my health problems caused me to reduce the unhealthy ingredients, primarily fat and salt; hence, the result is the food is not as tasty to H.
Not did I ever realize rice, which is a major staple in the cuisine, came in huge cloth sacks of 25 and 50 lbs. We ate rice and grits in Texas, but I never saw more than a 1-2 lb. box in our home or grocery stores.
H's brother worked at Winn Dixie and other area grocery chains. It was interesting to tour the stores and see items I had no idea existed. I had the same experience in Baltimore.
|Gift Table, Mt. Gilead Free Will|
Baptist Church, Scranton, SC
There were many and wonderful gifts, including some homemade quilts from H's mother. She proudly told me H had helped "quilt" one.
We kept the quilts, many years only using and wearing out one, but in recent years we have returned items closely connected to our families, to the next generation. This quilt went to a nephew of Shelly's as a wedding gift, I think. A "haunted" kitchen mantel clock was given to a niece. The "haunting" is another post, unless I have already mentioned it.
H's father was a hoot and a great storyteller. He shared many tales with me...reminding me somewhat of my later found half-brother--not sure there was much truth in them, but then I am a Texan: exaggeration of fact is ingrained.
H's sister and brother, their spouses and children were about all I remembered in names. His mother had a birth and foster family, all of which were mixed among the people I met. I don't know who wrote her obituary, but it was a long one.
|This motel where we landed and stayed.|
All these years I have not noticed
this photo and companion photo(below)
were printed backwards. Notice
license plate, U-Haul, motel signs.
|First temporaray "home" - glad I had a coat|
handy as most clothes were in U-Haul!
[Also printed backwards]
It was the worst night I ever spent. I slept on the floor to keep the room from spinning. But a good deal of the time I spent in the bathroom, sick. It virtually ended my drinking 'career' as H realized he needed to refrain from alcohol himself, he has been sober 40+ years! Living with me, that is remarkable.
One of the family friends had a floral shop in Lake City, SC. She regaled, to me one interesting tale of H's many escapades in the surrounding countryside. As I remember, he was home on leave, drinking, had a wreck, knocking out all the lights in Lake City, and putting a huge hole in the mayor's hedge row. That gape in the hedgerow remained until the hedge row was completed removed.
I must interject that we both found that there is a bias, particularly in the military against non-drinkers because all celebratory functions, including promotions, drinking is almost mandatory.
Also, wives who work with salaries exceeding their husbands, as well as non-drinking, spiritual attitudes are considered detriments to their husband's career.
The drinking bias exists in some civilian work environments, such as upper echelons of management or a lot of male environments, including the local volunteer fire department in our earlier years living in the Ozarks.
I , nor H, are prohibitionists, and general non-judgemental of those who choose to drink socially and know their limits. I only wish the same social drinkers were less critical of our choice to refrain socially, or privately.
Finally, we moved to Baltimore where we lived for about three years before the transfer of duty station to Morocco.
We went to his home every weekend he, or I did not work. His mother's cancerous condition was worsening and she died almost two months to the day we were married.
My husband was her favorite child; even his brother and sister admitted it. The short time I knew her I know I would have had a wonderful mother-in-law. She had written me several letters before we were married, which I think I still have along with my husband's letters.
Again I met a multitude of family and friends, all at one time. It reminded me of going to a once in a life-time family reunion, most of whom you never knew before that event.
Unlike many couples, I looked forward to having a mother/father-in-law. At least, I had a father-in-law, but he died also, about 3 years later, when we were living in Morocco.
Although this is a somewhat sad ending to the epilogue. Meeting his family, I'm sure would parallel his meeting mine, in many respects.
However, I was not bitten by a Chihuahua, which was H's introduction to my parents. The little piece of nothing bit him on the shins as we enter the back porch of my home.
The back porch was the Chihuahua's domain as it was where she slept and ate.
41 yr. OLD Photos taken by family(3); myself (1) U-Haul & husband.