It began with the realization that years had passed and a celebration was due. The reality was, however, that we were both considered “elderly now” and it was 53 years after the fact. How to celebrate??? We weren’t “travel-worthy” these days.
I was 18 and he was 20 when we met while building a homecoming float at my dorm at Oklahoma State University. A month later he turned 21 and three months later we were married; church wedding and all.
Of the eleven grandchildren we had from the three offspring we were blessed with, one is now a freshman at Oklahoma State University and she is a firecracker from Wisconsin. She became the catalyst for our 53rd anniversary celebration of our “First Date”.
The first order of business was to celebrate Homecoming up right. That would entail the recruitment of our two daughters who would fly there from Ohio and Wisconsin and meet my two nieces, one from Georgia and one from Oklahoma. They would coordinate a reunion of sorts at the Homecoming festivities with our granddaughter.
It went perfectly. Lots of pictures of the homecoming events, our beloved hangout spots like Theta Pond, and walking the campus which had made drastic changes in the intervening years.
It ended with our girls bringing back to our home in Iowa a metal sculpture of the OSU Posse which was proudly displayed immediately in a quickly built drive-way entrance for all to see.
That was a great celebration but as a writer, romantic and instigator of love, I had another event that I thought appropriate. Our first date was on a Halloween night and for years we celebrated that date more rigorously than our wedding anniversary. So it was, that I decided I needed to make it even more special; pay it forward so to speak. I enlisted my college granddaughter at OSU to carry out the plan.
Our first date, being poor college students, we went to study at the Library (he studied and I faked it.) From there we went to the Student Union for hot chocolates and a dance was in progress for Halloween. I determined to “recreate that” for two new couples that my granddaughter would select with her keen eye and her grandmother’s genetic pre-disposition to be able to discern about people. In this case couples.
I sent money to my granddaughter to buy two long stem roses
and then I prepared and sent two cards with an inserted story about why they were receiving the roses and included $10 to buy hot chocolate (or their choice) at the student union. Aspen attached a card to each rose. And as luck would have it, there was a Halloween dance open to the students again at the Union. The pressure was on my granddaughter to find just the right couple. And we knew we didn’t want to pressure the couple for pictures, although I wanted so badly to see them. For that reason, my granddaughter took two friends with her who stayed at a respectful distance to film the events.
At the library, my granddaughter was already in party mode on her way to a Halloween party so she became a little shy. The importance of the event won out however, and she went up on every single floor looking at all the couples and finding no one who met her scrutiny for “the perfect couple” they went to the coffee/cafe on the ground floor.
There in the corner was a couple sharing a single dinner. While they weren’t feeding each other, they were engaged in intimate conversation and to my granddaughter’s interpretation were “adorable.” She left the rose on a book ledge and went to their table and verbally ascertained they were a couple. She then gave the rose to the girl and the card to the young man saying it would explain everything. He thanked her and she noted he spoke with an accent that she was not able to identify and both of them smiled and laughed as she left them to read the card, letter of explanation, and to realize they had $10 to go for a treat.
At the Student Union she repeated her faithful search going to every floor and looking for the right couple. She and her friends were “not feeling it” so they went outside and sat in the courtyard of the Union. As they sat there they say a young couple came out and it was obvious they were a couple so no “interview” was necessary. She gave the girl the rose and again gave the young man the card and said it would explain everything. She was delighted in their enthusiasm and as she listened to their thanks, she was once again captivated by the “Okie twang” that so readily landed on her Wisconsin ears. I imagine she realized it was much like what I would have sounded like 53 years ago. Her friends had done their duty taking respectful, distant documentations by photos.
As for me, I hadn’t told my husband what I had done until I got the report back. He shook his head but luckily for him didn’t roll his eyes. After 53 years I believe he’s accepted he married a hopeless romantic. As for me I finally felt I had “celebrated” the anniversary up right.
I hope in your life you never lose your sense of wonder, romance, possibilities, hope, and faith. Even though it might be a small gesture, that you make the effort to include others in your good times; to pass on love and romance, and that you remember to always “give away that which you would want for yourself.”
This is a copy of the letter included with the Library couple’s card and $$ for a treat. A similar one was made for the couple at the Student Union.
SO THE REASON FOR THIS SPECIAL OCCASION IS;
Halloween, 1961, 53 years ago, we sat in the Oklahoma State University Library on our first date. We met while decorating a homecoming float just days before. He was a senior from Billings, Ok. And I was a freshman transfer from Iowa’s Coe College. Until my middle school years, I had lived in my hometown of Okmulgee, Oklahoma and wanted to return to my “roots”.
Following the library date, where he studied and I faked it, we went to the Student Union for hot chocolate and finding a dance in progress, we joined in and had a wonderful time. Thus enclosed is $10 for a hot chocolate or some treat.
We married 2 and ½ months later thinking we would be saving money, LOL. It did help, we didn’t have to pay for dating expenses; but everyone thought we would never last because we were impetuous. (The first and last time that word was ever said of my husband.)
53 years, 3 children and 11 grandchildren later, we feel we were blessed to have attended Oklahoma State University and met. Our 53rd wedding anniversary is in January, and the young lady who delivered your rose, envelope, and $$ is our granddaughter from Wisconsin. She is 3rd generation student and her mom attended here as well. She is a Legacy student thanks to her grandpa’s graduation from OSU. Her brother is transferring to OSU next semester. All in all a wonderful gift to be able to give them “Legacy status” for $$ off their tuition.
We wanted to share this moment in time with someone special and our granddaughter selected you. I hope it brightened your Halloween and gave you another wonderful OSU memory to carry forward.
Author Joyce Godwin Grubbs
We are incredibly blessed to see ourselves together for a 52nd Christmas. I could write a book based only on those Christmas celebrations which were all so dear, and so very different. We laughed this week about our first married Christmas where I got my husband a tire pump to pump up our car tires when the time to came to take me to the hospital for the birth of our first child. We had to pump them up each time we drove the car as we were poor college kids and he walked to classes each day to save gas (and probably having to hand pump 4 tires.) He got me a pair of $3 shoes (which he quickly pointed out that with inflation would probably be $40 dollars now, LOL). It was a very special time.
We now have eleven grandkids in five states:
North Dakota: Steven and Dakota Hensler
Minnesota-University of Minnesota: Justin Grubbs
Ohio: Jeff and Samantha Butcher
Illinois Northwestern University: Erica Grubbs
Wisconsin: Zachary Ellingson Adam Ellingson Aspen Hensler
Iowa: Olivia Grubbs Jared Grubbs
THE FOUR TALENTED AND BEAUTIFUL GRANDDAUGHTERS
OUR TWO DAUGHTERS AT MY BOULDER,CO. BOOK SIGNING 2012
OUR “FUR CHILDREN” AND THE TWO OF US IN PRESENT DAY TIME, LOL