In August of 1963 I moved out of my parent’s home and set up a room at a lady’s house in Bridgewater, Va. She was an elderly lady and a substitute dorm mother and she was living there by herself. I was free to use the kitchen and watch TV. All that for $75 per month. It did not seem like such a good deal back then.
I started teaching at Bridgewater College that fall, I was 24 at that time. I had had diabetes for 18 years and I had no complications even though I ran high blood sugar so much of the time. I still did not know about carb counting and I ate many carbs every day but I avoided sugar, just like the doctor said. I was using the test tape method of testing my urine. A little urine placed on the strip of tape would make it turn various shades of green. The tape was initially yellow and if it remained yellow after inserted in urine then there was 0% sugar present. If there was sugar then the tape turned green, the darker the shade of green then the higher the urine sugar. I used that type of urine testing for many years. I do not remember exactly what kind of beef/pork imsulin I was using at that time. I just know that certain improvements were made and there wold be some occasional changes but it was still insulin from pigs and cows. It kept me very much alive and I had a good life and good health despite my high blood sugar levels.
Teaching was going reasonably well that fall but it was much more challenging because I had a full schedule of five classes. It was very different from summer school. I had noticed that the head of the math department, who was about 5 years older than me, was dating one of the coeds on campus. I discovered teachers were permitted to date students as long as the students were not members of their own classes. There was another young male teacher who was not at all good looking but he was dating a very attractive female student. I thought “Hey, if they can do it so can I!!!” I looked at the 1963 college yearbook and started with the senior class and made a list. Bridgewater College was a small college then and had less than 700 students. I shared an office with the head of the physics dept. and he knew many of the female students on campus, at least by reputation. He looked at my list and immediately said no to all of the seniors on the list. They were either married, engaged or had questionable reputations. I asked the dorm mother where I was staying and she confirmed his decision. Oh well, on to the junior class. There was one very attractive gal named Wanda. She was a junior and a physics major. My office mate knew her well. She had the same kind of reputation as Mary Louise, very intelligent, straight A student and a good reputation. I called her that evening and we had our first date on Friday of that week. She agreed to date on Fridays only so I called her “my girl friday” like in the book “Robinson Caruso”. She wanted to get a PhD in nuclear physics and she was a very interesting gal but I saw no real future in our relationship. I could see a pattern developing. My girl friends had been very pretty and very intelligent with great reputations. Why was I able to get dates with such young ladies? I found out later on that dating a teacher was a really big deal among the girls in the dorms there and so I felt I had a chance with just about any girl I chose. Back to the yearbook. Let’s see, one for Saturday, one for Sunday,… Can you tell I had delusions of grandeur? I had more juniors and some sophomores in a list in my little black book. I showed the list to my dorm mother friend. She looked very carefully at my list and said date this one, her name is Anita, she is wonderful, and forget about the others. That was not my plan but I agreed to give Anita a call. After a few dates with Anita I was not so interested in calling any more girls so I just stuck with Anita and Wanda. I dated Wanda on Friday and Anita on Saturday, Sunday, Monday,… I guess the dorm mother had hit the nail on the head. Anita was different in a very positive way. Beautiful and so sweet and I felt very comfortable with her like I had with Mary Louise. I looked for that little black book one day and it was gone. I have wondered if the dorm mother had cleaned my room one day and saw my list and threw it away??? She really did like Anita. I DID TOO!!! I stopped dating Wanda and Anita and I were going steady. Anita eventually told me that the girls at her dorm had helped her fix her hair, pick out the dress she wore, etc before our first date. I think the whole campus knew we were dating. At that stage I was even dating her on Fridays. Dating every day of the week. I wonder if any other couple ever did that. HMMM!
I took Anita home with me for the Thanksgiving weekend. Mother loved Anita! Daddy did too! Hey, this is getting serious here!!! Anita and I had already admitted our love for each other. When the semester was over I went home for Christmas and Anita went to Falls Church, VA to be with her family. It was agreed that I would go to Anita’s house the day after Christmas so I could meet her family. Late on Christmas Day a terrific snow sorm hit Roanoke. The roads were plowed late the next morning but the driveway at our house had about 18 inches of snow. My parents insisted that I stay home and wait to see my sweetie when the spring semester began. They were out of their minds!!! I shoveled the driveway and packed my car while Mother was screaming at me. I started up the hill on our driveway. Too much ice, it was bitter cold. My tires were spinning and Daddy helped me put chains on the rear wheels. I still could not make it up that hill. I was about to give up when I saw daddy coming with his tractor. He pulled my car up the hill to the road and off I went. The roads between Roanoke and Falls Church were slick and dangerous but nothing was going to stop me. It took me about six hours, normally it would have been four hours. I found her house and I met her parents and her brother. Nice people! That evening we went downstairs to the rec room where there was a fireplace, all warm and cozy. I proposed marriage that evening and she said yes!!! HURRAY! Months later her Mother said she knew that we were engaged, she could tell by Anita’s grin as we walked up the steps. We were going to keep it secret for awhile because we had been dating for less than two months, but they knew. We planned our wedding for May 31, 1964. We were married after 7 months of courting. We celebrated our 43’rd anniversary on May 31, 2007. We have had a wonderful marriage, still going strong!!!
Anita read this after I finished. She proof reads all my chapters. She says it is to find mispelled words and grammatical errors but I know she has other reasons as well. She was an English major in college. She howled all the way through this chapter.