Courtship, Iowa style

by Jennifer Stevenson

best eaten suavely

My husband of 35 years and I met at college in the dormitory cafeteria.  He was the most eligible bachelor at our table. The suave way he sucked down an entire square of lime jello all at once, or sometimes half a peach, completely captivated me.

We were delighted to discover mutual interests in wandering the cemetary by moonlight, walking on frozen streams in the forest preserve, and necking backstage behind the velours. Romantic Sunday dinners at Taco Grande. Whistling “our song” from Die Fledermaus.

I still have those love notes on napkins!

The year I worked in the dish room, he would send me cookies or whole slices of pie via the “trayveyor,” which chugged trays loaded with dirty dishes down into the basement. Along with the pie came paper napkins inscribed with love notes.

I’ll never forget trying to get his attention early in our courtship by chasing him around the topographic map of Iowa which he had spread on his dorm room floor, the better to explain why the Coralville Reservoir was the way it was.

When he graduated a year ahead of me, we were officially engaged. He sent me a letter every single day until the wedding…except for five days in Spring, when he had his wisdom teeth out. I was afraid he didn’t love me any more. Turns out the Vicodin was making him too woozy to type. *whew!*

We married at a Baptist church across the street from the dorm, where I’d been paid to sing in the choir for the past year and took a shine to the minister, Paul Sandin. (Shout-out to Pastor Sandin–hey, we’re still married!)

Pastor Sandin required us to meet with him before the ceremony. Scheduled appointment. Solemn cup of coffee at his desk. When he was ready to impart wisdom, he leaned forward and said, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” Then he sent us home.

$75.00 at Merrillee’s

I was married in a dress my mother had bought me to wear to my high school senior prom, four years previously. As you can see, it was far more suitable as a wedding dress, which validates both her foresight and her parsimony. My husband wore a dark suit instead of a tux, an act of rebellion encouraged by the best man.

However, five years after the wedding, he wore a tux to a stagehands local Centennial. This is my favorite picture of him in that tux.

He looked even hotter than this

Every year–sometimes every day–I have new reasons to be glad we married.

Love you, babe.









Courtship, Iowa style — 6 Comments

  1. Wow, writing to you each day. That is commitment. You have good taste and yay for turning both your dedication int a marriage that continues working after all this time!