It was a hot summer night exactly forty-seven years ago today. Elaine was wearing a dress that is hanging in the basement. I was in clothes that I have no idea where they are now. People were there, lots of people. The very next day, I borrowed my brother's Camaro, and Elaine and I left for California.
Forty-seven years ago today Elaine married me in a church that neither one of us belonged to. Before you get all mushy, it was probably the first in a long line of mistakes. If we had to do it over this would be our forty-sixth anniversary.
Elaine was in her last year of college working on a degree that would enable her to become a school teacher. Read carefully, this is where the mistakes start. Love is powerful. That girl loved me. OK, I loved her just as much.
The two of us were excited about getting married. We didn't realize what a big deal that last year of college was going to mean. It meant that Elaine and I were going to pay for it. We knew the consequences of her not finishing school with the financial help of her parents, but she was working part-time and I had a good job.
We somehow forgot, that when you have a part-time job in a women's retail clothing store, you need to buy new clothes. The cost of the clothes will more than cancel out your paycheck. But that was OK, I had a good job and Elaine was a few months from being a teacher. Before we get into the teachers don't make any money debate, teachers make more than retail clerks, and teachers can wear the same outfit more than once.
Elaine had already received her student teacher's assignment and was planning on teaching art at a school she had attended as a teenager. She was being mentored by her favorite childhood teacher.
This might be a good time to change gears and tell a story about Elaine's favorite teacher. Before I tell the story, this guy had a lot to do with Elaine's decision to teach. He was a tremendous help to Elaine. So here's the story. In those days our hometown had several men's fast-pitch softball leagues. I played for years.
In one particular game, I was batting and got a hit, which I don't need to tell you happened often. I ran to first base with lightning speed and collided with the man playing first base. The pitcher of the opposing team took exception to the collision. He mentioned he wanted to kick my (construction language). I just hate when people tell me that. The umpires and members of the teams stopped the ugliness. Elaine arrived late for the game and missed the ugly part. After the game, she asked me to meet her favorite teacher/mentor who was playing for the other team. Yep, it was him. We shook hands, stared at each other, and mumbled, "It is nice to meet you." It wasn't that nice.
Back to teaching. At the time the world was looking for teachers to accept jobs in rural areas. Elaine was asked to go for one week to Rand, Colorado to teach for one week. Rand is in the "mountains/North Park" of Colorado. If you have not heard of Rand, you are obviously not one of the five people that have. After one week of teaching, I was summoned to Rand to pick Elaine up. Turns out it was quite a historic night. This was the same Friday night in October that Reggie Jackson hit three home runs in a single World Series game. I heard every home run while I was driving through the mountains to Rand.
Elaine came back to our town and started student teaching at her old school. By now her favorite teacher/mentor was the principal of the school. This fact becomes very important to Elaine's teaching in a few weeks.
Junior high children will be junior high children. While teaching in that school one of the boys in her class stabbed Elaine in the back with a compass. Do you remember those devices we learned to measure angles with? The ones with the sharp point.
Elaine went with the boy to her mentor/principal office, where she was told he could punish the boy, but there wasn't much else he could do.
Elaine didn't want to accept my advice and go back to school and stick the compass in the kid's neck. She decided to do something way more drastic. She quit teaching.
Except for the brief argument Elaine and I had in my brother's Camero in the Circus Circus parking lot after I hit a parked car, Elaine quitting teaching might have led to our first disagreement. We were financially committed to her taking a teaching job.
The story doesn't end there. In fact, it goes on for forty-seven years. About thirty years into this story, Elaine comes to me with a suggestion.
Elaine: I think I'm going to start teaching.
Me: And I think I'm going to stab you with a compass.
Elaine: Not teaching like that, I want to teach knitting and fiber arts.
Me: I can't take this.
Elaine: I'm going to teach only people that want to learn.
That sums up our first year. I wonder where we would be if this was our forty-sixth anniversary. Needless to say, it's been a ride. Thanks for being there with us. Love you, God Bless. Buy yarn.