(this is part three of an on going story, scroll down to rewind and catch up if you need to)
I continued on as a Sophomore at Masters, and Rick continued at his new job as....yes, a mailman. He got the job the week we met I’m pretty sure. I guess the Lord knew it was time for him to be a family man. We dated in the most frugal of ways. This is one of those things we look back and kind of regret. Rick was saving up EVERYTHING for a backpack trip to Europe with his best childhood friend. So, I came in right when he did not want to use a penny unless he had to. We learned early how to do things cheap. Now he regrets he did not splurge a bit more on our dating because we have been scrimping ever since. We did a lot of Taco Bell dates, and I would make spaghetti at his apartment (remember he was one of four so there were plenty of people around).
One of our favorite dates was to go up on a place called "Nike Point". From this hill top way out in the country you can look down on the whole San Fernando Valley. At night it is really beautiful. We would sit there and have lots of good talks. Usually there was one or two more cars parked at the top.
One night on the way home driving the curvy roads in the dark, I found myself overwhelmed by the silence. We just had one of those moments when neither of us had anything to say and I was stunned by how okay we both were with that. There was not awkward silence! How can this be? I blurted out "I love you". Yes, it was me that said it first. Rick was quiet and pulled over to stop the car. I was not sure what that meant. As it turned out, he did not want to be distracted in this moment. I must have gone mush brain because all I remember is him turning toward me and putting his arm up on the back of my seat. I know he said he loved me too somewhere in there, but I'm sorry to say my heart was pounding so hard, I think all the blood was there and not in my brain. (my 19th birthday outing at our beloved coffee shop)
Time went on. It was my birthday, my 19th birthday. December 13th, 1995. Rick had planned an outing with us and some of my friends from college. Nothing big, just a quiet time out at our favorite couch coffee shop. When we got home we sat in the car in front of the dorm listening to STAR 98.6 ("the best of the 80's and 90's" ....but mostly 80's, much to Rick's delight). He told me happy birthday and leaned in to kiss me for the first time. I remember the song on the radio was "I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight". I'll keep the rest of that moment to myself:).
Then, it was May and school was ending. Rick was packing up for home in Washington. I think somewhere in here I met his parents and we went out to the famous "Pookies" for lunch (this is the picture up on the side bar for Feb. with all the cups:). The plan was that I was going home, and he was going home for a few days only to head off to Europe for four months. I was not excited to go home. Not only was I leaving all my friends, but I was leaving him for a LONG time. I remember hugging for a long while.
Well, I did go home and he called from Washington. I think it was on May 4th, but I'd have to look at the records, when something unexpected happened. We were on the phone and Rick just blurted out "Will you marry me when I get back?". I think I stammered, I know I did. A proposal over the phone!? Well, this was not exactly what I had imagined, but I have learned that life does this to you sometimes and you better just put your storybook down and seize the reality of goodness that you have. I told him he needed to call back that evening and talk to my dad. By then I think he was very flustered. He forgot that part. Not out of disrespect, but out of the fact that his proposal came purely unplanned out his mouth and there was not time to think. I'll never forget that night. I had to tell my mom the minute I got off the phone, but my dad was wondering why we both had these gidy faces when he came home from work. I remember pacing in my room for the phone to ring, and when it did, I'm sure I bounced in the air a little and started to sweat and get cold at the same time. He was in the living room which was right next to my bedroom. I tried not to listen. I heard a lot of conversation and then my dad came to my door with the sweetest sheepish face and said that Rick needed to talk to me. My heart must have been racing so fast. He asked officially, and I officially said yes.
It was a LONG four months. I racked up 500 dollars of phone bills throughout all of Europe. He had made me a schedule of where he would be when. I worked two jobs, one at a video store and one at a hardware store. I was bored out of my mind, and very lonely. I had no engagement ring. I had been wearing a purity ring for years. Rick and I had gone to Disneyland days before he had to leave and there he bought us both matching shell rings, so I wore it with that. I did have someone ask me out while he was gone and I had to say I was actually engaged, man I wanted that ring on! (Our visit to Victoria, BC for the day, when Rick came home from Europe)
I flew up to Washington days before he was to come in. I was there at the airport when he arrived. I was so happy to see him walk down through that plane exit. We had a wonderful time with his family and visiting Victoria, BC while we were there. That is when we decided we wanted to Honeymoon there. I was 19 and he took me to a Greek restaurant and ordered one glass of white wine. I was legal there. I was anxious to be a big girl. I choked on it and gagged. He drank the rest. :)
Rick moved down to my area of the world and lived with some friends of his parents who happened to be close by. He got a job with the local Post Office. When he came back from Europe he did not have a penny, so the goal was to save enough to have some kind of Honeymoon, and set up our apartment. Once again, we were pinching. (Us months before our wedding)
We were wed on April 5th, 1997. It was a beautiful day. We stayed the first night locally at the Madonna Inn. Rick had a friend who worked there and when we checked in we discovered that he had upped us to one of the grandest rooms. The next morning we drove to San Jose Airport. We were going through the scanner when a bag I had (a paper gift bag) that contained candles, our toasting goblets from the wedding and some other romantic mish mash, tipped over on the conveyer belt and spilled out all over the place. Someone came up to us and helped us start picking it up. I turned to see it was Rick’s dad. His parents were there! We did not realize they would be at the same airport at the same time. I was a wreck by the end of the day when we were finally in Victoria. We had missing luggage. The rest of the time was good.
Two weeks after we were wed, we found out we were pregnant. You should have seen the look on my dad's face. I think he turned white.
.......and now you know....the rest of the story.