When I was told that I couldn't fly for awhile, after my plane was brought down by a flock of gulls, it was time to make some decisions. Should I go back to the Portland flying school where they wanted me, return to the Army flying in the
WASPS, or listen to my heart and marry Van. Van and I had only seen each other twice. He wanted to get married before he went overseas.
He took the train out to get married as soon as he got leave to do so. When his folks found out about it they were very upset. They didn't figure anyone with my lifestyle could possibly be the lady they wanted their son to marry. My folks were excited about it, and Uncle Nelse was especially happy because he felt he had been responsible for it all when he introduced me to Van on the train. Van's folks sent him a telegram a few minutes before he got on the train to come out to get married. He was stationed in Columbus, Ohio and we were going to be married in our house in Tigard which is near Portland. I made all the arrangements to get married on the day Van got there. I knew it would be tight because it was a Saturday, and we still had to be married on that day. I had quickly made myself a long white satin dress out of one Mom had used in Eastern Star. Van's train was late and after I picked him up at the train station, | rushed him to the license bureau which had just closed. They opened it up and we got the license. I had arranged for an Army chaplain to marry us that evening.
When Van realized I had everything planned for the evening, I guess he decided to go through with it, regardless of the objections of his family. After reading this part of my autobiography he said he was glad he didn't read the telegram again. After all, he was the one who had made the decision to get married so we could spend some time together before he went overseas.
We stayed the night of our wedding in Tigard, and it was then he told me about the telegram in his pocket. I never did read it. He called his folks from our house, and they decided there was nothing they could do about the marriage. They quickly got together a small reception the evening we got to Salt Lake. lt was very nice, but I was petrified of them. Grandma Helen started talking about all the famous ancestors and then told me about how long they had lived
in Salt Lake. Then she made the statement, "We feel that better people don't move around, but they establish roots."
Well, you can imagine what that did to someone who had gone to school in seven different schools, and had even lived in a gypsy camp. I survived the conversations, and then Van and I were given a bedroom with twin beds. Van‘s sister Teto was about eight months pregnant, and Helen wouldn't even let her come to the reception. lt would be too embarrassing to have someone there who was that pregnant. Van and l, of course, slept in the same bed, and later Teto told me how horrified Helen had been that we slept together. Later, however, Helen and I had a good relationship.
I think back now and realize how little Van really knew about me. He had only seen me twice, and I had little time to write him extensive letters about my childhood. lf I had, it would probably have scared him to death. In comparison I, knew so much about him because of the two letters a day that he wrote to me. He told me all about the great times he had on Great Salt Lake and about skiing adventures. lt all sounded like a glorious fairy tale experience to me. At that time I had never had boating or skiing experiences. When I would get home from a trip (sometimes two to four days) the postman would have fun handing me all those letters.
After marriage in Portland we went to Salt Lake where we picked up his car and drove to St. Louis. It was already time for Van to go overseas. It was quite a shock when he mentioned that I was going to be driving the car back home from St. Louis. lt was a bigger shock for him when I said I didn't know how to drive! Another one came when we found out that the officer's wife who was going to drive with me didn't know how to drive, either! After lots of practice we made it!
And Van and I are still together, 68 years later!