Friday, August 6, 2010

Anniversary Time

Today is August 5th, a Thursday...I started this on the 5th. It has stretched into the 6th.

On this date in 1962 we were all shocked to learn that Marilyn Monroe had committed suicide. It was something unbelievable. Over the years, many have made theories about her death being a murder ( see John F. Kennedy ) Vs. Suicide. It was all over the news.

I come down on the suicide side of this argument. Lemme tell you why.

On August 5, 1962, my lovely bride Brenda Joy Cooper and I tied the knot in the chapel of the First Baptist Church in Levelland. The preacher from the First Methodist Church did the preaching and tying. It was a lively, lovely time for all.

Before I continue with this "Old Man Remembering" stone, I return to Marilyn Monroe. I figure suicide because she learned I was getting married. That is my story all these years, and I plan to carry it with me to my grave.

Our wedding was not like these fancy dancy weddings we see today. No big band, no tuxes, no champagne (remember Baptist church?), no trip to the Bahamas. It was a nice wedding with several of our closest friends. I am embarrassed to say that I cannot remember who else was in the wedding. Brother Jim was the best man. Backups were Jerry Pickens and Jim Sudduth. Jeff Ingram did something - I think Coy Cook was involved - can't remember if brothers Marshall and Pat were in the wedding part - surely they were...Girl will remember.

BJ, as my father called her -- Brenda ( or Girl ) to me -- and Brenda Joy to everyone else in the entire town of Levelland - she can explain that name later if she wishes... I cannot remember any of her bridesmaids - maybe if I think for a while.

There were only a few things that I actually remember about that day 48 years ago. I do believe my brain went out for lunch for part of that time and date. (1) the night before the wedding, I was cleaning my new electric shaver and dropped it - parts went everywhere and I was teased unmercilessly by brother relatives. (2) gifts for the best men and helpers was a ceramic kangaroo that you put on your dresser to hold your coins and keys overnight. I never got one for myself, but would have loved to have one ( even today I long for one ).

(3) remember having to have a conference with the preacher - y'know, joint confer with the future bride. We sat in his office as he rambled about marriage and associated subjects. I remember one particular phrase - don't know why it stuck with me all these years. He said, "Remember, both of you stink when you go to the bathroom." How Wude!! I don't believe she or I mentioned that conference ever again. (4) When Brother Pat was a little kid he stayed with a lady who lived across the street from the Baptist church. She was a nice lady and Pat seems to have been okay....well, that has nothing to do with the wedding, except the lady who lived there let Brenda use the place to get dressed for the wedding. All the appropriate females gathered at the house & moved across the dusty main street in time for the music. They hid me in a back room.

(5) The wedding was just fine. Neither of us messed up to speak of. I am not sure that I liked all of that attention at the time. At the end of the ceremony we did the traditional kissysuckface thing. It was the first time we had demonstrated this in front of anyone. That was hard to do. (6) when we went to the courthouse to get our marriage license a couple days before the wedding, the clerk told us we had a 3 day waiting period. It was Friday. We were in trouble - actually not. We were both over 21 and the waiting period was for underage people. We looked so young, she just thought.....

(7) In those days, I suppose now too, after the wedding reception, one changed into traveling clothes. Being in Levelland, we were not going to hang around there very long. When Bren was buying her traveling dress, the clerk said it was a very good dress, and she could wear it all through high school. If I remember it was a tan dress with some type of white stripes. (8) she had a beautiful wedding dress - sorta puffy at the bottom with little puffy type sleeves, I believe. I only got to see it once. The dress is in a box in our garage. Recently heard of a grandmother that took her wedding dress and made special things for her grandkid's weddings out of it - like ring bearer pillows and the like.... (9) Our cake was nice. We did the "bit" of trying to mess a little cake on the other's face. Not much else. Did not have a groom's cake. I want one on our 50th. Sugar free of course.

(8) after the gig, we drove away in my brothers Ford convertible. Someone tied cans to the back. The car had been protected and nothing was written on it. I drove off, turned the corner, drove one block and took the cans off. Did I mention I wore a brown suit which Marshall helped me select. I wore that suit forever and still have the coat somewhere, moth holes and all. As we drove out of town, we stopped at the Chat and Chew Drive-In for a coke before driving north towards Clovis. (9) We spent the night in Clovis after having a steak dinner at some joint down that street. The wedding trip was to the Grand Canyon. We had no reservations or plans. Just took off and went. There were no vacancies when we arrived at the G.C. We whined and were able to make one for the next night. We left the park, driving south as we looked for a motel. It seemed like a long drive. The night was pitch black out there; the stars were bright; it was hot in Arizona; the top was up on the Ford; the inside of the top was very black and when you looked up you got the idea that no stars were out. (10) Honeymoons are one of the best traditions we have.

(11) My parents had a trailer house in the backyard in Levelland. We lived in that place till school started. My father got me a job working on a oil field crew. I learned so much - like: dig a hole to fill up that other hole. There was a guy on the crew who told me that he married a Spanish gal. The girl didn't know how to cook anything. He taught her how to make meatloaf right after they married. She was still cooking meatloaf everyday. About one week after the oil field job started, Littlefield high school called and I was hired as their very first asst. director. I was not prepared for that school at all.

(12) We both went back to Tech that fall. She finished her teaching certificate and I completed my Masters. Everyday, I drove to Littlefield and made it back to Tech for marching band at 1 p.m. We lived in a small duplex in a strange part of town. Rent was $50 a month, bills paid. Them were the days.
Old Man remembering ends Other thoughts will wait cause I need to go to bed. Mtz

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