Family Friday #3 Boyfriend and Girlfriend
Not everyone was happy we were dating. Some of our good band friends, Steve, who I had gone out with and Debbie, who Jim had gone out with, were not thrilled to hear we had gone on a date. In all fairness, it was a blind date that jim had set up and I happened to know both of the people he had set up. I was well aware of the feelings my friend had for Jim and so I talked her up. Jim gently let me know that he was aware of her affections but that he was not interested in “that kind” of relationship. Ouch!
Later when he asked me out again, to go play Rook at the Wrobbels’* Jim let me know that he was interested in pursuing me. That was a lot for me to process as I felt that dating him would be a betrayal to my friendship with Debbie. Also, I knew the girls in band that he had gone out on at least one date with and I was not sure I was interested in being #25 (exaggerated number) in a guy’s life. But, we had the same circle of friends at this point, a similar sense of humor and ministry focused career paths, so we kept going out!
We dated, but did not consider we were boyfriend and girlfriend until the summer of 1979. Jim graduated in May of 1979 and was off to the far side of campus – Talbot – and I was off to Mount Hermon, a christian camp in the Santa Cruz mountains, where i was a junior high camp counselor. This season launched my future career path as a junior high pastor. I was not sure I wanted to be tied down as I wa going off to a camp adventure, but told Jim I would write. He had worked at Mt. Hermon several years before and well knew the rhythms of camp life so he called appropriately and wrote often. By the middle of the summer he was “in love” and was sure I was the “one” and in July, after the worst day of his pastoral life ever (which is another story), we become exclusive.
At the end of the summer, Jim picked me up from camp in his new car, a mercury Capri, which he chose for me. It was my favorite car at that time. He also drove me to Sugar Loaf Lodge in Posey, CA. This was a restaurant and bar with several cabins and cottages nearby, located in Kern County. Jim’s dad purchased it after his wife died and his hope was that he children would come and life there, in the middle of nowhere, and run things! A huge dream but an impossible “sell” to his already grown children. It included a run down tennis court and empty pool, a sawmill and land owned and run by Jim’s dad. It was located in the Sequoia National Forest, near Johnsondale and Lake Isabella and I am not sure I could find it or whether or not any of it still exists. It took him years to process a land swap so that he could own the government land it was on and by the time he did, he was no longer able to work there due to altitude isses and the condition of his heart. But, I was the first and only girl Jim ever brought “home” to meet his dad.
Not long after we were really an exclusive item, Steve and Debbie began dating. They got married and we were in their wedding party! We remained friends – Deb and I still are – and Steve went to heaven about 2 years before Jim did.
Our love grew and at Christmas 1979 Jim asked me to marry him.
* Paul and Karen Wrobbel were a married couple in the band. They had transferred to Biola from Moody, which at the time didn’t offer a bachelor degree. Paul played french horn and Karen played clarinet. We have always remained friends and supported them as missionary educators until they landed back in the states. We even went to put on American style camps for their students in Spain and Venezuela. Karen became a professor at Trinity and later my “boss” as I taught on-line for TIU for years. Paul and Lorraine Triggs grew up in the same youth group in MI. It is a small world!