Sometime back either on facebook or on one of my blogs, someone asked me to tell our love story–Jerry’s and mine–and a few days ago she reminded me of that for I had promised to do so. This is the perfect time: Valentine’s Day 2013.
I had graduated from high school and just turned 17 when I packed up my things at home in Springfield, MO. and was driven to Apostolic College, a bible school in Tulsa, OK. I had always attended small to moderate-sized churches, so when I arrived at that great school that was a ministry of a dynamic, unusual church pastored by Brother C. P. Williams, and in addition lived on campus in the girl’s dorm, it was so wonderful I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
The stars were aligned, romance for me was in the making, for Jerry was already a student there. He had enrolled the year prior after already graduating with a BA degree with Northwestern State College in Natchitoches, LA. The first time I recall seeing him was in the basement of the church where we had prayer meetings before services started. Someone had received the Holy Ghost and he was dancing as he stood atop two opened folding chairs. He was already a leader among the student body, spoke in some of the services and led in worship. I was a peon from Mo. Somewhat later, someone said to him, “I know someone who has her eyes on you.”
He dismissed the news.”Aw, she’s just a kid.” I must have been a pretty effective kid, though, for soon it was obvious the attraction was mutual. Strict rules were in effect concerning dating, one of which was that a new student could not have a date during the first semester there. We were with each other in the dining room, snack bars, chapel services, other church and school activities, until after the first semester when I could have a date. All dates, though, were chaperoned, and everyone was eager to pick certain chaperones–those who weren’t too strict or too “eagle-eyed.”
I don’t often have extra-sensory, unique things happen to me, but once during this time, I walked into a room where Jerry was–don’t recall exactly the room–and a kind of knowing came over me, and I knew I would marry him. Strange. I didn’t tell anyone–didn’t even tell Jerry until years later that had happened to me. We didn’t have many actual dates, for Jerry left before the end of the school year to go evangelizing. We communicated extensively by letter.
…and then came the day at Swan Lake when he had come back to Tulsa. We were in the back seat of a car, chaperones were in the front, and he asked me to marry him. I said yes. I don’t remember saying it, but Jerry says I answered, “You knew the answer before you ever asked.”
We were married in a preacher’s home a few weeks later: June 27th, 1956. We had a two-day honeymoon traveling by car to our first revival in Russellville, Ky.
In the summer of 2011, just after we had celebrated our 55th anniversary, we revisited Swan Lake in Tulsa. Click on either of these pictures to see many more pictures.
A few days ago as we drove over to Lake Arrowhead, we stopped to admire the scenery and I snapped this picture of my beloved. Lucky, aren’t I.
(Did I tell you that once in the snack bar, he kissed me! A terrible thing!)
Update: 2/14 12:18 pm Jerry just read this and reminded me he did not kiss me in the snack bar. It was in the ping pong room!
What about you? Today is Valentine’s Day. Let’s hear your story.