I commented to Joyce that we were never apart long enough to write to each other, whereupon, she got up and a few minutes later returned with an armful of correspondence we wrote to each other while I was in the second semester of my junior year of college and she was still working in Southern Jersey. (We were planning a wedding!)
I did not remember we did this. I am glad she saved them, though. I have been reading somewhere around 175 letters. There is a story here. Much of what we discussed was the kind of wedding detail that everyone talks over but there were elements that required small miracles to make it all come together—and for that, I affirm, there was God!
Some details of our wedding needed to “fall in place” that couldn’t have by happenstance. Two details come to mind: One, I needed a good job to support the marriage while finishing my senior year of schooling. I had no car and no license to drive one. Family argued that I should return to the place of my Nativity and save money. Talk marriage in a year. The other puzzle piece of obvious importance was a place to live. There were none according to the realtors within a 10 mile radius of the school. Married couples on campus had already gobbled them up. Beside, I had no job, remember!
The year before, the faculty advisor for the yearbook offered me the assistant editor position in training for Editor-in-chief in my Senior year. It didn’t work out as planned, but I was introduced to the current Editor in Chief, Don, who also worked at Longacres in Franconia, PA where they made chicken products. A month before the wedding following an intense conversation with the Lord, I met Don who approached me with a job opportunity to work there. The following year, an H.R. department was set up at the company making this kind-of offer impossible. But for now, according to the correspondence, I would start at 1.80 an hour, a fantastic wage in those days.
The apartment? I met Frank while attending school. Frank was refused admission because he did not complete high-school. Frank came across state from the Pittsburgh area to attend the school and he too was looking for a place to live for a family of four. There was a two room and a bath a mile down the hill from the college that was too small for them which the local realtor forgot he had. When Joyce and I enquired, we were turned away the first time but Frank said, “Go back! It’s there!” We did and the realtor apologized. Fifty dollars, utilities included. I still wonder how many students sought out that agency for something and were turned away. Did God hold it for us, using a brother who traveled across the state to attend a college that didn’t want him?
The letters also documented a very stressful disapproval of both families and some friends that we were planning a wedding in August—just 9 months after we met on campus in ’67. With the job and apartment we moved the wedding up to June 22. This week will complete 53 years together..