This time (June 27-30, 1982) was spent being together and taking care of your car. We were engaged and had weathered a storm, so we seemed an “old” couple by now even though we had truly only met two weeks before.
I remember the night of June 30 as clearly as if it was yesterday. We were saying our good-byes for the night as you were leaving the next day to return to the ship. You had to be back by July 2, because the Saipan was going to New York for a PR tour over the July 4th holiday. As we were saying our good-byes, I clumsily said, “Why do you have to leave?” You looked at me confused as if to say “Because I have to get back to the ship”. I explained that I meant leave me, not simply leave. I was worried that this might just be a “summer thing” for this handsome sailor. You reminded me that you loved me and would never leave me. Your words were so genuine that I knew at that moment that we were forever. So, even though I was sad that you were leaving, I was so happy that I found my forever love.
The next day, July 1, I drove you to the airport. You and Don couldn’t get your car in working order, and we hadn’t heard anything from insurance so we hadn’t bought a new one yet. So, you flew back. I wrote my address along with “I love Robert E. Rose” on the airline folder, which is the start of the letters in the box.
This two weeks was the happiest I had been in my life. I was so happy to have fallen in love with you. It happened so naturally that I was sure God sent you to me.
We left early Saturday (June 26, 1982) morning to make the most of day. We decided not to stay the night as we were still so early in our relationship. We visited at their apartment, where we talked and simply visited most of the day.
Toward the evening, around 6:00, we headed back to Ashland. At the end of the street was a four way stop. You reached over to kiss me after you stopped, then pulled out. A couple of UK football players barreled through the stop and hit us sending the car spinning. After the car came to a stop, we both got out to talk to the people in the other car and assess the damage. We watched them throw at least one case of beer in the field on the other side of the street before they even bothered to come over and talk to us. They then insisted that you had pulled out in front of them and wouldn’t accept responsibility for drinking, under age at that, and driving nor running the stop sign.
Before the police arrived, a camera crew happened to pass by. The passenger got out of the van to ask if anyone was hurt. When we said no, he got back in the van, and they proceeded on their way. We always thought that was interesting, but it was the early ’80s and the beginning of biased/entertainment journalism. We would later lament the loss of unbiased journalism.
Once the police arrived, the football players kept to their story, so the accident was written as your fault. I still feel that it was pitiful that the police took the story of the UK football players over a US Navy Sailor. Yet, we always thought the accident was due to the kiss. You thought you would have probably seen that they weren’t going to stop had you not been distracted.
It was an expensive kiss. The car was totaled, so we had it towed to Ross and Mendy’s and they drove us back to Ashland. You sat up and allowed me to lay in your arms with my body stretched out in the seat so that I could sleep. I still remember the comfort of laying in your arms after than rough evening. That was the first time that you put your feelings and needs beneath mine. Your car was totaled, but you were concerned about me. That would be a running theme throughout our journey. You always put me first and took such care to take care of me.
When we got to Ashland, Ross and Mendy dropped us off at Mom and Dads. I took you to your parents’ house in the car Kim and I were sharing.
We were just thrilled to have this week together. I was honored that you used the last of your leave on the ship to be with me. We were an engaged couple now, and it seemed both of us were over the moon. We spent every waking hour together.
On Tuesday night, I had a Mary Kay part as I tried my hand as a consultant this summer. You were going to go down to the park to play basketball during the party, but on your way you passed a car pulled over to the side of the road that seemed to need help. This was long before cell phones where these people could call for help, so you pulled over to offer a hand. After checking out the car, you realized that they just needed gas. This was on Rose Road, less than a mile from Mom and Dad’s house where I was having the party, so you went down the the little market at the end of the road, Lyon’s (that has since gone out of business) to get a gas can and gas. They didn’t sell gas cans, so you came back to Mom and Dad’s to see if Dad had a gas can. I was pleased, because the girls at the party were church friends, and they got to meet you. They thought you were so handsome. They were also impressed with your good deed. I was so proud to be your girl. Dad, of course, had a gas can. You took it and went back to help the guy. By the time you were finished, the party was over. You never made it down to the park, but I was thrilled that my friends go to meet my handsome hunk.
Sometime during this week, Ross and Mendy invited us down to their apartment in Lexington, so they could officially meet me. Since we just had one weekend before you had to go back to the ship, we planned the trip for that Saturday, June 26. More on that next time.
Although you had unofficially mentioned marriage before, this is the day that you officially proposed – or so it seemed.
We were walking around Central Park and decided to cross the street to Stationers, a local greeting card store similar to Hallmark, to have shirts made. At this time, personalization things were altogether in one store. We had off-white quarter-length T-shirts made. Your had “Susan’s” in navy small letters on the front where a pocket would normally be and “Susan’s” in larger navy letters on the back. Mine was the same with “Bob’s”. I wish we still had these shirts, but we loved them so much that we wore them. However, pictures of them are in our dating album.
While the shirts were being made, we walked around the store. I stopped and looked through the wedding announcements because I’ve always loved all things wedding. You were looking over my shoulder at them as I am so much shorter than you. When I got to the announcement that actually did become ours, you said, “That’s what ours should look like.” I turned around, agreed, and hugged you. And, we considered ourselves officially engaged.
You then told me that you had called the day before and were able to extend your leave until June 30, so you wouldn’t have to leave the following day. And, that is how we were engaged four days after we met.