Christmas was celebrated at my family's house on Christmas Eve at midnight so I could enjoy Christmas Day at Ronnie's house. I did have to wait until he called to say they were awake and everything. I would like to say I was bright eyed and bushy tailed but I was reluctant to wake after such a late night of opening presents at home. Ronnie understood and called me again around lunch time. I came over as soon as I was ready. All of my gifts were wrapped perfectly, after all I wasn't the best gift wrapper Wards had ever known for nothing.
I can remember exactly what I gave his parents ....a speaker phone "Now Ronnie can call and speak to all of you at once!" This was a HUGE deal! Everyone wanted to HEAR him when he called and his phone calls home were few and far between. He usually only called his family when he couldn’t reach me. I wanted more than anything for him to call me but sometimes I felt he was neglecting his family. Even when he called his family they had to pass on information they had heard because we didn't really have speaker phones or anything much like them at the time.
I even bought one for myself so my family could hear his voice. I was so enthralled with his voice I wanted my family to know just how much and experience it with me. I had mine installed off the kitchen phone. This way everyone in the whole house would KNOW I was on the phone with Ronnie! I didn’t use it very much as our conversations always lead to mushy stuff.
Christmas night I was at Ronnie's house with his family. It was wonderful. He was so happy to have his family, best friends and me all under one roof. There were a few times I had to remind him that we were not alone. We only kissed lightly on the lips when others were around which was something new for us. He got out of hand a few times...so I had to remind him we were in his parents house. Ok, Players was a different story. This was his territory, he didn’t have to prove anything to anyone and he knew it. There were a few times he pulled me behind closed doors and only managed to kiss me once or twice before I said "Open that door young man" or his Mom came around and said the same thing. It was a bit funny to his Mom and I but Ronnie didn't seem to think so. "You will be my wife soon and that won't work. Everyone will have to get use to it sooner or later."
When he said that to his mother, she said "As long as you are under my roof mister." I had to laugh! My parents would have said the same thing! And then some, because I was a their precious princess. The Leadore’s house was a Ranch style, ours was a two story so upstairs where the bedrooms were was off limits and anyone trying to make their way up. Any guy trying that at our house…well they would have been shot. There was a loaded shot gun in the closet at the bottom of the stairs. My Dad's spoken policy was "Shoot first and ask questions latter." My Dad never fired that shot gun, not even when he went hunting. He did make a habit of cleaning it when I introduced a guy who wanted to go out on a date with me. Surprisingly, not one guy ever left without going on the first date with me but there were several one and only dates.
Each day that passed we volleyed back and forth. Ronnie wanted us to get married as soon as he stepped off the plane and I wanted to at least finish college. Things changed since that night at the Cozy. I felt we had to get married as soon as possible. On the days I was thinking we had to get married that day Ronnie would say "Your parents would never forgive me if you didn't graduate high school." I eventually came up with a plan. We would get married, he would go back to finish A School and I would finish high school. In the mean time all the proper military forms would be filled out and we would be together no matter where they sent him. He didn’t like that plan “What if I come back here for Recruiter Aide? We will be married, you living with your parents and me at the base. When we are married we WILL live under OUR own roof, together.” The thought of us being married and living in the same house while I went to high school just seemed so wrong…to both of us. Could you imagine if I was sick, who would write my note to the attendance office? My parents or my husband? Weird.
Then there were days when Ronnie said "I can't live without you. We need to get married before I leave." Usually I was a little brat on those days. “Well, you didn’t want to when I suggested it and I’M the GIRL! Do you know how difficult it is to be the GIRL and say something like that? Why is it a bad idea when I say it but not when you say it?“ We always seemed to be on opposites on any given day ..."your parents would never forgive me if I made you give up your diploma" and I was telling him they would forgive so long as our parents were invited to the wedding. We didn't need permission. We wanted approval. He wanted my parents approval. "They need to know that I can take care of you and your Dad was in service before. You know what it is like. I want us to have that townhouse. I want us to have that car and you don't have to do anything." I told him over and over again "I don't want things, I want you. I want to be with you. We can work together to get those things." Ronnie would come back with "You are not making this decision on your own, I want you to have things and so do your parents. We are not negotiating this." I have to admit I was use to getting my way. Ronnie saying there was no "negotiating" was the end of the line and I didn't like it but I knew he meant it. I pitched a little girlie pouting fit about it but he would budge. Again, another first for me. If I pouted or said "or else" I usually got my way with everyone except Ronnie. He only let me get my way if it was the right decision or it didn’t effect the rest of our lives. My goodness, I have to say ...how young was I?!
I was a real brat but I felt I had every right to be. We already made love and we were not married yet. I was going to give up the two nominations I had to the Naval Academy so why wouldn’t he give a little bit over ‘things’? That’s right, I not only had a letter of nomination from our local Congress woman but I also had one from President Ronald Regan who can only give out a few per year. Ronnie didn’t really want me to go to the Academy since that would mean four years at the Academy and four years of service. With him in the Army and me in the Navy we wouldn’t see much of each other. My Dad was very proud I was accepted but he was also worried. Women in the Academy wasn’t exactly new but they went through more than what the Navy put on them.
Ronnie and were both on the same side and in agreement on New Years Eve. We had everything planned, so we thought. The brides maids (Lefty's Angles) would wear their prom dresses from the last prom, the ushers would wear the suits they have and Ronnie would rent a tux. I tried and tried to explain how wonderful it would be to get married in his dress greens but he wouldn't budge on that. IN turn I wouldn't budge on my dress. I did look at several shops but the least expensive was a 20s flapper dress and I wanted something in the lines of wedding dresses from "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes." Since it was after Christmas and there was the Cozy party, we had both spent a great deal of our money. We still had our own car insurance to pay. I had a check coming for around $70. The facts were we would have enough to pay for everything in a month or so but not enough to get married right away.
Then there was the obstacle of telling our parents. We could just elope but I Promised we would tell his Mom! I wanted a nice wedding too, with my friends and both of our families. I had it all planned out with his approval before. The biggest obstacle we faced was my graduation. It wasn't just my parents but his as well "she has to finish school first." Both of our friends (especially mine), his parents, the faculty at my school, turning down two nominations to the Naval Academy - and me a Navy Chief's daughter. Ronnie had already graduated from high school and now making his own way in the world. The focus was now on me, what I had to give up and what no one wanted me to give up.
Well, we had our work cut out for us be we pushed forward. Ronnie and I went to his Catholic church only to find out they wouldn't marry us unless I converted. We only had a few days. I would have done anything to marry him at that point but time was of the essence since he was leaving in just a few days. My church would marry us but we had to take a two week marriage course. We finally decided on the chapel on base, Ft. Detrick. The pastor there would marry us and even told me about the sword and saber squad (they were supplied with a rifle squad but it would the same as a saber squad). I was a little afraid of being swatted on the butt. Apparently, when the married couple reaches the end of the arch the swards/rifles are crossed to stop them and the soldier on the bride’s side swats her on the butt and says “Welcome to the Army!” I thought they meant he swats me with a sward or rifle not his hand. He also told Ronnie and I that we needed a local marriage license.
We talked to his recruiter who made it sound like it was a done deal that Ronnie would come back to Frederick as a Recruiter's Aide. From the recruiter it sounded like one phone call to the commander would make it all happen. Ronnie believed him but I had my doubts. It wasn't anything personal, I had lived as a military brat all my life. You could be living in one city one day and have to move to the next day then go back to the same city the same day or go across country. Nothing wrong with that because you are use to it, you are a military brat, that is the way it is. Or you could be stationed and live in the same place for years. That is the military. Random as necessary. Ronnie believed what he was told...set in stone. To me I heard a possibility not a promise. IF the military, any branch, promises you anything, get it witting and frame in on the wall. (Government of any sort not just the military - I still have a personal, hand written letter of apology from the IRS framed)
My parents were very proud of the way I handled Ronnie's initial departure. They didn't know I agreed to marry him...our engagement was one sided ...only his family knew about it. My parents would have stopped any and all letters from him had they known. They thought he was a phase...they were waiting it out. My parents knew I was very serious about Ronnie but they hoped the distance from him would be good for me, i.e. I would get over him. I didn't have to tell Ronnie about how my parents felt about my future...he knew. I was expected to discover a cure for cancer or at least be on the house of senate as a speaker of some sort. At the very least I could make a good go of the "square" combat ship. Before Ronnie came home I had great dreams and expectations of myself. So did my family and even my friends. I gave in. All I wanted was to be Ronnie's wife and make him proud of me. I stopped wanting to make my Dad proud of me. I stopped wanting to make my friends expect great things of me. I only wanted to be Ronnie's wife. Do everything to make Ronnie happy. I was part of his life. Brining Ronnie his slippers at the end of the work day seemed far more satisfying than brining up old parchments to the capital building and reminding them why those parchments existed. All that mattered to me was Ronnie. Being near him. I only cared about being within arms reach of him.
We finally agreed to get married on New Years day but everything was closed and nothing we could do about my wedding dress and still afford wedding rings ( it was really important that we have a double ring ceremony instead of my idea to use just my engagement ring), the photos we had at the portrait studio wouldn't be ready for our announcement, and we wouldn't get a marriage license for Three Days! Ronnie had to go back on January 3rd.
There were a few arguments between us "Well, if you had agreed at the time I said we should do it...." When it finally sunk in that there was nothing we could do about it…we agreed that this must not be the right time. Ronnie reminded me of something I always seemed to have on hand when I wanted it "Everything happens for a reason." I have always believed that God knows the big plan, the big picture and I have to go with it and what happens later will be better than I ever expected.
We finally accepted there was nothing we could do. We just had to put our lives in God's hands. Everything would workout. Our friends were ready at moments notice for our wedding but we never had the plans nailed down enough to actually tell our parents that we were about to have our wedding. It took a lot of courage to tell my parents we had been engaged for months.
Ronnie went back to the base in OK to finish his A school. His graduation was the end of January.
Sorry it took so long to get this posted. There are many things coming regarding the Ronnie Crazy For You Soap Opera that I had great difficulty writting. I had to stop thinking about it for awhile. Some things life throws at you...well, you just don't come to terms with...even after so many years.
On the upside I have re-connected with several of my friends in the past. They were really suprised I kept a certain incident to myself all these years. What that is you will have to wait until I can actually get it all down without breaking down.