The Spring brought back warmer temperature, and we were excited that we could afford a window air conditioner that cooled the entire apartment. We were also able to buy a couch and loveseat with a coffee table and end table so we had furniture in the living room other than two folding director chairs and a plastic table. We were moving up.
Then, a bit later, we bought a computer desk, a computer, and a Dot-Matrix printer. We thought we were pretty advanced with a printer in the home. I can still hear it clacking to print the dots.
Summer brought our first anniversary. You sent a dozen roses to my office. They smelled so pretty, because they were “wood” roses. They were beautiful and lasted at least a week. We went out to eat at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour Restaurants. I loved that restaurant, because they had really fancy ice cream desserts.
Then, we went home to eat the cake topper that we had saved from the wedding and have champagne.
The rest of the Summer was daily married life.
Sometime in early Fall, you took a second job at Dart Drug store. It was always so comforting to know that you would do anything for me and us. This job was mostly to save to buy a second car. But, we used the discount you received to buy our first Christmas tree.
Mom, Dad, Jason, and Kim came up to visit in early Fall. We toured the DC exhibits, rode paddle boats and generally played tourist during that time.
We went to Ashland for Thanksgiving and went about daily life in Arlington.
We went to Ashland for Christmas and began the tradition of celebrating with Nana and Grand-Dad the morning of Christmas, then going over to the Roses in the afternoon.
New Year’s was never a big deal for us. I don’t remember what we did, but we usually just stayed in and watched the ball drop on television.
I tried my hand at a second job at David’s Bridal, but working seven days a week was brutal. I know you were doing it at Dart Drug store, but I was your little girl and you never wanted to see me suffer. You took making me happy seriously. So, I began looking for a job that paid more. In late January/early February, I landed a job as Bookkeeper for Dowell and Dowell using the Accounting classes I had taken at ACC. With that salary and the NAVY, of course, we could afford for you to quit at Dart Drug and let a loan for a 1980 Blue Thunderbird. You loved that car. And, I loved buying our first big expense together.
The rest of winter was daily life in Arlington with you working at the Annex and me at Dowell and Dowell. We spent the weekends doing laundry and catching up from the week along with going to the mall, etc.
Once we arrived as husband and wife in Arlington, I began applying for jobs. God has always taken care of us as I found a position as a Customer Service Representative for EBSCO Subscription Services in Springfield, Virginia, before June ended. We only had one car, so I took the Metro to work. That was good because I didn’t have to fight traffic. Even thought I was going against traffic with going from Arlington to Springfield, this was still traffic that I was not used to. The bus dropped me off at the back of the office complex, and I walked a beaten path up a grassy hill to the EBSCO offices. You continued as DP3 at the Naval Annex.
One of the first things I remember is a spat we had over money in the first couple weeks of marriage. I was going to go cool off and left the apartment. (Actually, that’s not really true. My “fight” mode is to rob you of my company when I’m mad. You always thought that was hilarious, because it’s logical that you wouldn’t want to be around me anyway if you were mad.) I got out to the sidewalk and realized I couldn’t get in the car, because we couldn’t afford gas just to go running around. So, I sat down on the stoop of the apartment building until I got hot. I thought about going in and calling my mother, but then realized we couldn’t afford long distance charges. So, I went back in and said, “I guess I’ll talk to you. You’re all I’ve got.” We talked a lot over the years about how those two years were so good for our marriage. They forced us to work together and form an inseparable team.
One thing of significance this summer is that our little one bedroom apartment did not have air conditioning. We spent a lot of time at the Springfield Mall just to get cool. And, we joked that if we couldn’t afford food, we ate fancy. We had a credit card to Shilito’s, and they had a Benigan’s restaurant. We loved to eat there.
Our apartment didn’t have a washer and dryer, either, but the apartment complex had a laundromat of sorts. We’d spend our evenings making and eating dinner, watching television, and running back and forth to wash clothes. One of your favorite songs is Alan Jackson’s “Livin’ on Love” because it tells our story so well. We were definitely livin’ on love in those early years, but those were some of the happiest because we had each other. You are not only my husband, but my best friend and mentor! I will forever love you!!!
After the wedding, we drove over to Ironton, Ohio, and stayed in a nice hotel for our wedding night. But, before we got there, we realized we were hungry. We had been so busy and excited during the reception that neither of us ate very much. We didn’t see any restaurants open, but we did see a small deli. So, we stopped and bought ham, bread, mayonnaise and a bottle of champagne.
When we got to the room, the hotel restaurant, including room service, was closed, so we couldn’t get utensils. We spread mayonnaise with a finger nail file from my purse to make the sandwiches and drank champagne from plastic cups in the room. We were married, on our honeymoon, and happy as ever. We didn’t need fancy things. We just needed each other.
The next morning, I called Mom and Dad. I didn’t really have anything to say. I just wanted to hear the operator say, “Collect call from Mrs. Rose.”
After a leisurely morning, we got up and got ready to go back to Ashland to give our good-byes and head to Arlington. But, the family wanted us to stay, so we did – until the 10th when your vacation was up and our rent was due. We slept in Kim’s room as the bed and furniture in my room were in our apartment in Arlington. It’s funny that after all these years, no one – not even Kim – remembers where she slept. We guessed it was probably on one of the couches in the family room.
We just visited with family the remainder of the time in Ashland.