Mary Louise did not care so much about her first name so I called her Louise. She had been a straight A student throughout elementary and high school and also had all A’s for her first two years at Roanoke College. She did not have to study hard at all. A very smart cookie! She was a chemistry major. Va. Tech was only one hour from my home in Roanoke so I stayed in Blacksburg during the week and drove home late in the afternoon on Friday’s. I was starting my second year of graduate work and I was much more interested in Louise than graduate school. Louise kept my spirits up and gave me confidence in myself. She told me I was a good teacher, considering it was my first teaching experience. She thought I ought to consider making teaching my profession. I had never known a young lady who was so intelligent but she was very sweet and kind and made me feel so comfortable when I was with her. We dated Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday almost every week during the fall, winter and spring until my graduation from Tech in June of 1963. It did not take long until I realized that I was in love with Louise. I was 23 and she was the first girl I had ever kissed, and kissed and kissed,…
I took my daily insulin injections in the morning and there were no glucose monitors back then for testing my blood sugar so it was easy to go on a date without letting my girlfriend know that I was diabetic. I never told Linda even if we ate together. I only avoided things containing sugar back then, I did not know I was also supposed to keep my carb intake low as well. I did not eat desserts when I ate out. Louise was so different and I felt so relaxed with her, so I told her about my diabetes. She was very interested. We went on a few picnics and she baked a pie with saccharin when we did that. I still hated grad school but Louise kept me happy and I coasted through that year without much frustration. I barely made a B average again when the spring semester was over. I had to write a thesis for my MS degree. It’s title was “An Analysis of Some Aspects of Population Projection”. I won’t bother you with the details of that. I had to take orals as a final step to being approved for my MS degree. I was so nervous. Several teachers in the Statistics Dept. asked me questions about my thesis and other things concerning statistics as a suject matter. I do not think I did so well and when it was over. I left the room feeling I had flunked. Less than thirty minutes later my advisor told me I had passed because they really liked my thesis. I think the orals were of secondary importance and they certainly knew I was very nervous during my presentation. I was overjoyed!!! The next day the department head told me that my fellowship would be for only half as much if I continued towards my PhD. I told him that I did not want to continue, I had reached that decision a few months earlier. I do not think I would have been capable of getting a PhD. I will never know.
I had been looking for a teaching position at colleges that were advertising for math and statistics teachers. Louise and I drove north to Bridgewater, Va. one Saturday during April of that year. The president of Bridgewater College and his wife interviewed me and offered me a job. My salary would be $5,000 for one school year. I thanked them and went back to my car and told Louise I was offered a job. She and I went to a nice restaurant to celebrate after driving two hours back to Roanoke. I had also been hired for a second year of summer teaching at Roanoke College that year.
Louise and my parents attended my graduation at Tech in early June. Larry, my old friend from my neighborhood, graduated there too that year with a BS degree.
The day after graduation Louise and I had a date. When I took her home she told me that was our last date. I was dumbfounded! I felt numb all over. I did not see this coming. She intended on spending that summer in Tennessee in a summer program for top ranked undergraduate chem majors. We would not be able to see each other. When I was at Bridgewater that fall she would be in her senior year at Roanoke College. She thought it was time for us to break off our relationship. I was almost speechless. She wished me well and left the car and walked into her house without looking back. She would not let me kiss her good bye. On my way home I realized that she had dated me for nine months in order to encourage me to finish gratuate school and keep me going until I graduated. I cannot help but think that way. She enjoyed our dates but any kind of permanent relationship between us was not meant to be. She realized that but I was blinded by my love for her and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. In many ways she was more mature than me. I could not sleep that night and I did not tell my parents what had happened. I told them the next day and I could see that Mother was happy. She knew that Louise was not the girl for me. She had told me that several times. It always made me mad.
My teaching was not very good for the first few weeks that summer. I called Linda and we resumed dating. Finally I concentrated more on my teaching and things were going more smoothly. All in all I had another good experience teaching that summer. I still thought about Louise and what she had meant to me. I had been angry with her for awhile but I came to realize that she gave me a lift whenever I needed her and she saw me through all my rough spots for nine months. I will aways be very grateful to her. Years later I was looking at a Roanoke College alumni directory I had purchased. I looked for Louise immediately. She was married and was employed as a chemist by Eli Lilly in Indianappolis. That is the company that makes the insulin that many of us take. Is this a small world or what? I couldn’t believe it. She was such an intelligent lady that I would not be at all surprised if she had a hand in the development of some of the modern day insulins. She may still be helping me even now, if that is the case. I gained 57 pounds on modern day insulins though. Can I blame Louise for that??? Nahhh! I want to have good thoughts about her, forever.