The Year of Golden - Episode 2

 By Kelly McDonald

Editor's note: This is Episode 2 of a three-part memoir series comprising micro-essays. Each essay touches on a memory highlight, describing it in less than 500 words.

        By mid-February 1974, our dating was moving forward. We were seeing each other once or twice a week, and since we attended the same church congregation, we also interacted on Sundays. I was feeling fine about our dating relationship, and I thought Beverly was pleased with it, too. 

        However, on one Saturday evening near the end of February, we attended a dance in the Physical Education building on campus. As we danced, Beverly was especially quiet and would not make eye contact with me, elusive to my questions. I realized she didn’t want to be at the dance, and I suggested we return home. We were quiet as we drove back to Park Plaza, and when I walked her back to her apartment, she revealed she wanted to date less and not be so exclusive. It seemed like a breakup to me. I finally concluded this was part of the dating process. A friend had recently told me about his younger sister, so I soon began dating her instead.

        Several weeks later, coming home from a date with my friend’s sister, I met Beverly on the walkway between our apartments. She seemed talkative, so I invited her to come to my apartment. I was planning to make a birthday call to a former missionary companion of mine who was still in the mission field, and I wanted her to listen in. After the call ended, Beverly and I kept talking, and eventually we arranged another date between us. I wondered why she was now so interested in me again. Beverly later revealed that she had felt a bit of jealousy, first seeing me with my new girlfriend at a dance, then hearing me whistling, as I climbed the stairs that night to my apartment.

        After a few more weeks of renewed dating, Beverly and I returned to our previously exclusive relationship in late March. However, Beverly told me she had signed up to travel to Europe for the upcoming summer. I suddenly realized that if she departed for a summer abroad experience, I was not likely to see her again. Thus, while watching television together at her apartment, I informally asked, “So, do you think we should get married?” There was no special place chosen for my popping the question, no down-on-one-knee, no engagement ring to present. It was just my typical style of getting to the point.

        Beverly stared at me in disbelief and asked, “Are you serious?” When I responded positively, she described what we should do to ensure it was the right decision. We should fast and pray the next day, seeking individual guidance, then meet later to discuss our decision. We did those things, then met the following afternoon. The spiritual answer we had both received was “Yes”. After struggling to find the ideal timing for our marriage and after meeting both sets of parents, we finally settled on May 31, 1974, as our wedding date.


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