1987: We become Parents

This is the year that we became parents. We spent the first part of the year setting up the nursery and getting ready for our little one. We found out around Valentine’s Day that it was going to be a boy. We had already selected the name, David, because it was a strong Biblical name.

You were focused on getting the car ready to bring him home safely, while I was focused on getting the nursery ready. You got all new tires and the car completely tuned up. I made the crib bumpers and blankets from Precious Moments fabric and balloons with the alphabet out of matching colors for the wall. The sheets were coordinating fabric as well. (It was always so special to me that you were proud of how “crafty” I was. You were my biggest cheerleader in everything.) And, of course, we bought the crib and a matching dresser for the room.

We thought it was special that David was due on our dating anniversary, June 15. However, his actual arrival was even more special – our wedding anniversary, June 4. I had worked on a cross-stitch as we traveled to Ashland over these past four years, and you had it professionally stretched and framed for me for our fourth anniversary. It still hangs in the family room of our home. But the joke was that I gave you the best present.

The second half of the year was spent taking care of our little miracle. We had planned for me to take the traditional six weeks maternity leave and then David would go to daycare. It is one of my favorite memories that my big, strong husband just couldn’t leave our son at daycare. The day I returned to work, you were to take David to daycare as my workday started before yours. You did drop him off, but then cried as you were driving away and went back to get him. (I can count on on hand the times I saw you cry, so this was big.) You took the rest of the day off and called to tell me that we needed to work things out so we could care for David on our own. Your part was to switch to nights so you could watch him during the day. And, you went without much sleep for the next six years to be the best Dad ever.

Arthur Young sent me on a trip for training and auditing soon thereafter. Mom came down to help with David. I missed you all so much that we decided that I would quit to be home with David and help you get more sleep. And, about this same time, we learned that I could make money by going back to school as a scholarship for parents who had graduated in the top 20% of the class was more than tuition. So, I went back to school to earn my education degree that Fall.

The holidays were more exciting this year, because we had a little one. We dressed David up for Thanksgiving as well as Christmas (and most days, really), and had one of the best Christmas celebrations, because it was David’s first.

1986

This was the year of our first house and the beginnings of our becoming parents.

You had always said that you wouldn’t want to have children until we had a house. We had been in Louisville for six months and had time to research where we wanted to settle down for a bit. We selected Jeffersontown, because I liked the feel of the area with the nice neighborhoods and proximity to downtown and you felt it would be a good investment as you sensed the area would develop more.

We had been trying since soon after we both landed those good jobs to be pregnant, but nothing had happened. And, in Spring 1986, I had a stroke. I was only 23, so I was hospitalized for a battery of tests. They determined it was hormonal. With the stroke and the almost a year of trying to grow our family with little result, we were directed to the Doctor’s. We selected Dr. Watson as our OB/Gyn and went for what we thought was regular check-up and follow-up from the hospital tests. Yet, Dr. Watson told us that the NAVY doctor had put me on too strong a birth control for my body, and he wasn’t sure if that could be repaired. We were devastated and elected to try anything. I was put on Clomid and instructed to do the most interesting exercises as we attempted the process for a baby. In late Fall, we had the best news. We were expecting!

Thoughout this time, we were house hunting in Jeffersontown. We found a beautiful 3 bedroom 1 /12 bath split-level at 8710 Avondale Court. We purchased it and moving in during the Summer. It seemed that God was smiling all over us – beautiful marriage, a child on the way, and a nice house. Our love story was growing and deepening with each day.

1985

For Valentine’s Day this year, you sent flowers as you always did. But, you also took me to the Ice Capades in Capital Centre.

The biggest thing that happened this year is that you had decided not to re-enlist, so we were getting out of the NAVY. I gave my notice to Dowell and Dowell in February to allow time for them to hire and for me to help transition and train. They were very gracious even though I had been there less than two years. They took me out to eat and gave me a bracelet as a good-bye gift.

You had 30 days leave, so we were able to leave Arlington on June 1 even though your last day was officially June 30. This was good, because you would still be paid through June and neither of us had a job yet. Even though we had put out applications within 180 miles of Ashland for several months, no jobs had transpired yet. So, we decided to settle in Louisville as the largest city in Kentucky for two reasons: (1) More opportunity for jobs, especially in IT as it was a new field at the time, and (2) We’d have a better chance of our children staying close when they grew up. Now, remember that these children hadn’t been born yet, but we were planning.

The NAVY came and packed up our furniture and delivered it to our apartment on Brownsboro Road. We stayed with Charlie and Mary for a few days when we first arrived, and they helped us select an apartment. We felt like we were really moving up now, because the cost of living in Louisville was so much less than Arlington. For about the same cost of our one bedroom in Arlington, we could now get a two bedroom – with air conditioning. Woo-hoo!

And, within less than two weeks after our arrival in Louisville, I got a job with Arthur Young – one of the “Big 8” accounting firms at the time. At about this same time, you were hired with Dairymen. You went the first night for orientation, but no one showed up to orient you. This happened for the next two nights, and you decided this company was just too disorganized to be a good fit for you. We had trusted God this far and continued to follow his leading. We talked often about how that was such a good decision as LG&E came along soon. So, by the end of June, we were secure in Louisville with jobs. We were convinced that was God.

One funny thing that I remember from this Summer is that you decided to have a yard sale with the stuff we had from Arlington and no longer needed. Now, remember, we were living in an interior apartment with no yard. Yet, because of your out-going personality and interpersonal skills, we did pretty well. I had teased and razzed you about this little escapade the whole time and was quite surprised when you proved me wrong.

Fall brought the end to my Grandpa Rardon’s life on September 29, 1985. We went with the rest of the family to Ravenswood, West Virginia for the funeral. We were the first to arrive as the others had farther to drive. The Riggs were coming from New York; the Earl Rardons from South Carolina, and the Edlers from Ohio. As the Edlers were coming in, you said to Dad, “Carl, here comes your sister.” You had never met Lois but she looked just like me. I thought it was funny that you recognized her right away.

Fall also brought Thanksgiving. We were now about 2 1/2 hours from Ashland, so we went there to celebrate. And, we returned to Ashland for Christmas for the traditional festivities.

Winter 1984

Winter brought in Thanksgiving. We celebrated this year by inviting all our NAVY friends that couldn’t afford to go home either. I baked a turkey and the fixin’s (stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green beans, rolls, etc.) and spread it out on the small table we bought for our eat in kitchen and the kitchen counter top.

About 20 people piled in our little one-bedroom apartment with each bringing a covered dish or alcohol. We laughed that more brought alcohol. We crowded in the living room and kitchen, but it was nice just to be together with friends.

This is yet again another example of your reaching out to others to provide some sense of belonging that we all need. You were always so generous and giving!

For Christmas, we were able to go back to Ashland and celebrate with family. And the rest was daily life in Arlington, Virginia.

Spring/Summer 1984

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.

Fall/Winter 1983

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.

Starting Out as Husband and Wife

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!!!

 

The Honeymoon

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.  

Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Robert Rose

After the pictures, the music began at 6:00. This was the early ’80s when the tradition was that you couldn’t wear tuxes, especially a tux with tails until after 6:00. Hence, that was the start time for the wedding. It was also supposed to be good luck to marry on the up-sweep of the clock. So, the service began at 6:30.

It was not your typical 15 minute Protestant service. You thought it hilarious that our wedding lasted almost an hour. But, this was my moment to shine, and I made every moment count. The actual details are in the wedding albums, so I won’t reiterate them here. Yet, one thing that I always thought was sweet is that you leaned in and asked if you could kiss me during the prayer after the Lord’s supper. We were kneeling on the prayer benches facing one another. I whispered, “Later.” But, I always appreciated that you love me so much. Today, as I write this, I wear a bracelet that says just that – “I love her so much” in your handwriting. The kids read this in your Papa book as you described meeting their grandmother, and Lauren had it made for me for Christmas. I wear it each day along with our wedding ring to remind me that I’ll always be Mrs. Robert E. Rose. I love you forever and ever!!

The Big Day

This was the best day of my life at this point.  I got to become Mrs. Robert Edward Rose.  I awoke early – like a child on Christmas morning.  And, you did as well, but I had told you you that you couldn’t see me until I had my wedding dress on for pictures.  So, you went down to the park to watch Little League Baseball.  I thought it very special that you like to encourage those kids.  You always wanted to give to others what Fred and Linda had given to you – unconditional love and encouragement.  Then, you had lunch and went over to the church to help the crew of family members set up.

While I was back at the house doing my fingernails, hair and make-up, the family (Mom, Dad, Kim, Barney, Jason, Greg, Linda, Scott and Mark) along with other friends from church were setting up for the reception.  The sanctuary had been set up the day before for the rehearsal, but we had the rehearsal dinner in the fellowship hall.  So, it had to be re-set and cleaned for the reception.  As Granny was the “chef” for the reception, it was the family’s job to set up.  🙂 

I always thought is a loving gesture on Granny’s part to prepare all the food, but more appreciate it now as I understand how much work that was now that I am almost her age at the time. (She was 59; I am now 57 as I write this.) 

I joined the crew for set-up at about 2:00 as Daddy sent for me to make sure everything was set up as I wanted.  Yet, I wasn’t in my dress yet, so we worked together n finishing the set up for the reception.  Then, at about 3:00, we went to the rooms set up for the Bridal party and the Groomsmen to dress.  

As I think of dressing, I’m reminded that I forgot to include you and the Groomsmen when I talked about the planning. The wedding was pink, but you thought that a little too feminine for the guys.  So, they wore burgundy tuxes.  But, your all white tux with tails is the story.  In the planning, we discussed why the bride traditionally wears white as you were the typical guy and didn’t know anything about weddings.  You decided that you wanted to wear all white as well for the same symbolism.  And, because I had made such a big deal about the dress, you wanted tails on your tux.  

So, we changed into our dress and tux for pictures, which began at 4:00.  My favorite picture is the one above where you are sitting on a pew and I am looking into your eyes as it’s not a “staged” picture.  We were relaxing a bit between the pictures and the service.  The photographer saw and snapped the picture.  It shows genuine love.