Monday, November 11, 2013

17. A Honeymoon Surprise...August 1964...

I have been working nearly a month at Ranchouse Restaurant.  August will begin with my brother's wedding 1,200 miles away in WI without my sister and me but something else will happen as
August begins...  More of the story to come...
Continuing the story...
Have you wondered if I'm misspelling the word Ranchouse?  Let me prove that I'm not..
Somehow a paper placemat from Ranchouse has been preserved for 49 years...
I found 2 of these placemats nestled amongst my letters home which Mom saved in a file folder.

I think this restaurant is no longer in existence though I don't know when it was sold nor when it was razed.

The night before my brother's wedding, I would write a note to and send checks and a money order to my Dad.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                    Fri. July 31
Dear Dad,
Sure was good to talk to everybody last nite.  After talking to you & visiting Bennett's for awhile, I went bowling for awhile.  Sure was fun.  Bowled 2 games & hit a high of 133 which was the highest I've ever bowled.  My 1st game was 98 though.
Don't have too much time to write now but I wanted to send these money orders to you.  I just couldn't keep my money here any longer so I bought these money orders this morning.  It's $165.00 all together.  ($165.00 in 1964 had the same buying power as $1,226.02 in 2013.)  Put it in the bank for me but first of all take out the $20.00 I borrowed from you to get out here & also take out the $10.00 Mom sent us to live on before we got jobs.  I figured it's about time I get all my bills paid.  Thanks alot!  I'll probably be sending a money order home about every week 'cause I don't want to keep much money here.
Must go as I want this mailed yet today & it won't go out if I don't mail it now.
Sure am thinking alot about tomorrow's activities.  Hope everything goes well.
Love, Lee
Graduation Day with Grandpa & Grandma Groves, Carolyn & Jim
 My brother graduated from the University of Wisconsin in June 1964.  It was at UW where he met Carolyn Nelson though she had grown up on a farm only about 40 miles north of our farm.  Her family's home place was very near the site of the LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS, where Laura Ingalls lived with her family prior to crossing Lake Pepin and moving west.  Jim and Carolyn met in Badger Christian Fellowship, UW's Inter-Varsity chapter. 

Wedding Program cover...
August 1, 1964 would be one of the hottest days on record in WI but the wedding of my brother and Carolyn Nelson would go well.  My father, however, got sick around that time and could not even get out of bed to milk our cows.  Mom and our other 2 sisters would have to "report" for that duty.  Adding that to the wedding preparations was quite a challenge.  But Jim and Carolyn will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary next summer and God has blessed them immensely. 

Wedding Program inside left hand
Wedding Program Inside right hand
 Our sisters got new dresses for the wedding and looked lovely as their photo was taken in front of our farm home.  Their work load on the farm had definitely increased with the absence of their two older sisters.
My sisters Margelyn and Barbara ready for the wedding
  Jim and Carolyn's wedding would take place with all the usual elements -
  • church ceremony, 
  • reception, 
  • opening of gifts and 
  • departure for honeymoon - 
  • destination?

Can you believe it?
When my sister and I learned of the newly wed couple's decision to come to Estes Park on their honeymoon, I do not remember.  I did not reference that fact in any of my letters home.  A phone conversation with my brother this week revealed that neither he nor Carolyn remember when or how they informed us either.  But they did come!

I do not remember thinking that this was unusual at the time.  Many years later, however, I would reflect on their choice and realize what a selfless act it was for them to include us in their honeymoon plans.  Knowing that we were far from home and longing to be part of this holy and very special occasion, they made a sacrificial choice to include us in their celebration.  I am deeply grateful to them both, but especially to my sister-in-law, for making this choice.   She may have preferred to have her new husband completely to herself during those precious first days of marriage, but her willingness to share themselves with her lonely sisters-in-law is for me a treasured memory of kindness and love. 

Marrying the only son in a family with four sisters who were each interestingly unique and not always winsomely opinionated, could not have been easy nor predictable.  That is what makes the honeymoon choice even sweeter.

Why were my brother and I such close family members?  My next post will give some insight into the origin and continuation of our friendship bond.

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