In 1968 Two Crazy Kids Got Married
I’m sharing a post I published two years ago about our humble beginnings. Now, as we are about to enter our 49th year together, I have updated this a little bit but, not too much because our beginning will be the end of the memoir and I don’t want to spoil that for anyone.
Our wedding was a bit of a rush job due to Dave getting transferred to Scarsdale, NY. I had moved to a tiny furnished apartment in Pittsburgh shortly after high school, and Dave was living with his parents a short drive away. The transfer changed all our plans.
We pushed up the wedding and my step-father, Scotty, played wedding planner. It was an amazing feat. We were mere babies, really, at 18 and 20 years old.
Right after our wedding we took off with everything we owned in the back of a VW bug! Dave’s career was just taking off, and so were we. We knew it wasn’t going to be as affordable to live there as it was in Pittsburgh, but we weren’t at all prepared for the reality.
After 2 weeks of searching for a place we could afford, we realized there weren’t any. The company, (Kmart), had a program for this situation called an ‘excess living expense’. They kicked in the difference needed to pay your rent and utilities if you proved you couldn’t find something in your price range. In NY, it wasn’t necessary to show proof… they were quite aware that a guy making $105 a wk. was screwed if he had to live in Westchester county.
So we found a 1 bedroom garden apartment, in Hartsdale, NY (the slum of Westchester haha!) for $155 a month, and furnished it with a double cot we borrowed from the motel where we’d stayed for 2 weeks, and a card table w/ 4 folding chairs the super of the building was kind enough to loan us. We used boxes Dave brought home from work for tables. Covered them with a couple of hand-knitted afghans we had in the back of the bug… so it wouldn’t look, you know, tacky. God, it really makes me laugh when I think about it!
I found out I was pregnant right away, which begged the question… now what!? I have to tell you that kids weren’t in my immediate plan. We hadn’t discussed it, really. I had been told by a Dr., when I was 16, I probably couldn’t have children, after being punched in the stomach by a stepfather, and if I did it wouldn’t be an easy pregnancy. Birth control wasn’t discussed. Therefore…instant kid! And to make it worse, due to the rushed wedding and move, I hadn’t been enrolled in Dave’s insurance plan until we had this ‘pre-existing’ condition. Even then insurance companies were figuring out ways to put it to you.
We managed. I don’t think Mr. Ikea had even invented the alan wrench at that time, but who needed him. We had S&H Green stamps! And thanks to Dave’s mom and her friends, we got a steady supply of green stamps almost weekly.
For those of you who’ve never heard of this phenomenon, it was quite something I have to say. When you got gas, you would get green stamps…buy groceries, get green stamps…shop at ’select’ stores and get green stamps. You pasted them in small booklets, like postage stamps. When the book was full you could redeem them for all sorts of things. So between green stamps and filling in at the local Kresge store, we furnished our apartment.
We were also lucky enough to find a furniture store that would allow us to buy a bedroom suite one piece at a time. Oh, and I almost forgot… the sofa bed, with built in end tables from Castro Convertible. Oh, yeah! We were livin’ large!
Honestly, it was fun. Maybe we were too young and crazy to feel poor and oppressed, even with the pregnancy and all of it. We were so close to NYC, and couldn’t afford to go, even to window shop. It didn’t matter.
When the baby came we had a crib, and the rocking chair Dave’s parent’s gave us for Christmas. We turned the dining area into a nursery… luckily we didn’t have any dining room furniture to deal with. The kid was set!
I hadn’t heard the expression, ‘All I have is all I need’ back then, but I have to say, ever since I first heard it and looked back over my life, I honestly believe it’s true.
We got through our year in that slum, Hartsdale, actually needing a moving truck to take us back to Pittsburgh! Not a big one, but still….
Have any fun wedding stories to share? Feel free in the comments, I’d love to read them!