We became engaged at the ripe old age of 19. When we married, Steve had completed exactly one semester of medical school. I was unemployed, due to a recession with double-digit inflation. We planned an Indiana wedding in blizzard-prone January — with his mother in charge, because I happened to live in Oregon. I flew in two whole weeks before our date. Plenty of time for Steve and me to work out wedding details, right? And get reacquainted after not having seen each other for five months.
We made promises to God and each other on a snow-white, blue-sky winter day. Finally liberated from to-do lists, we escaped to beautiful downtown Indianapolis, famous during that era for crumbling architecture and parking lot shootings. A coal truck had demolished Steve’s car earlier, so we drove a borrowed car that died only at left turns.
After our honeymoon, we arrived at university married student housing and hauled meager belongings up three flights of stairs. After months 2,300 miles apart, rationed phone calls and yearning letters, we finally could stay together forever in our $97.50-per-month furnished heaven on earth.
The first night in our new home, roaches welcomed us like long-lost relatives. The tiny refrigerator froze lettuce and melted ice cream. The bathroom was located in the back of a large closet. Our bed consisted of a worn, drop-dead-ugly fold-out sofa.
Undaunted, I pulled it out and spread our prettiest wedding sheets: a pink and white striped floral set. We snuggled in, but before turning off the light, I observed a disturbing phenomena not described in helpful marriage manuals I’d read. Steve’s ears were turning fire-engine red, deepening to purple. Would they explode?
“Is something wrong?” I stammered.
He muttered, “I’ve never slept on lacy pink sheets in my life.”
We changed to plain sheets. I resolved to go to sleep.
Except that my feet hung off the bed.
Half my new husband dangled into thin air.
He bent himself into a Z. I formed a lower-case z beside him.
During the night, the bed’s middle sagged almost to the floor, entangling us like skeins of yarn. I awoke with Steve’s elbow in my armpit. He choked on my left foot.
We had wanted togetherness, but, ahem . …
Decades later, I marvel how we, our children and their spouses have survived and thrived while practicing married love, student style.
But I am convinced that a couple with faith, love and commitment can survive anything.
Even lacy pink sheets.
Do you and your spouse tell we’ve-only-just-begun stories that bring you fresh grins, no matter how many times you repeat them?