We really need to get an up-to-date photo!
This one is a few years old!
A dear friend, wiser and a few years older than I, was Renate. She invited me to her house many times. As mid to late–teens we still did sleepovers for a weekend, complete with chit-chatting into the wee hours of the morning!! We played piano, table games like Aggravation, went for walks, to the Dairy Queen and had a lot of fun. She had two brothers, one 3 years older and the other 2 years older. The older brother, Klaus, was the outgoing one and the middle one, Peter, was such a shy young man and always into his books. Peter was our Youth leader in the church for a term or two. He never flirted with any of the girls in this youth group of over a hundred teens and twens! He certainly kept his sense of humor under wraps, always appearing to be a serious. He was a well-respected, humble young man. He was a godly man with a focus on getting his studies finished and then heading out to the mission field. Times were a little different then and at our age we seemed to me to be more mature – at least I thought so then! Our Youth Group was only open to anyone over 16 to 25++. Even those who were not yet married at 30 attended! I know – that’s hard to believe in today’s times! In hindsight it was great for me to have the older singles looking out for us younger folks. I treated the younger than me men as kid-brothers, lots of fun, teasing, mentoring conversations and good fellowship, but I looked up to the at least 5 year older men as someone I could marry. I prayed for the Lord’s leading upon my life in terms of a life partner asking Him to open my heart and my life for the RIGHT man, the one chosen for me by the Lord.
At Christmas 1963 I gave Renate a framed picture of myself, which she displayed on the side table in her room. At 18, I had been a bridesmaid at my cousin's wedding. The picture had turned out well and was probably the only photo I had that was professionally taken. As she shared with me much later, Peter stopped by her room to have a chat one day and noticed my photo on her side-table. He admired me very much in church and said that it was a lovely photo. At this time Renate teased him and said, “I wouldn’t mind having her for a sister-in-law.” Interestingly enough, he took that as a clue that he would not be rejected if he asked me out. It seemed to be the nudge he needed!
On January 1st, 1964 my mom helped me to host a young people’s party at our house and as usual Peter and Renate were invited. After the party at my house, they had still been invited to a party at another friend’s house. I was going to walk with Renate and Peter for a block or two just to get a bit of fresh air. Renate, however, decided to walk up ahead quite briskly and left me alone with Peter. Peter then said that he had a question to ask me. He was leaving to go back to University in Waterloo, Ontario the next day, but he wondered if he could write to me. Then when he came back for the summer, we could get to know each other better, and start dating! Wow!! That came totally out of the blue! I had no idea that he felt that way about me. I really liked him too, but thought he was too much of a scholar for practical ol’ me! I felt a check by the Lord in my heart and, of course, I agreed! Peter said that he would definitely ask my father by phone if this would be agreeable to my parents.
The next day, before boarding the bus to Ontario, Peter phoned and asked my father if he would have permission get to know me better. I just knew it was Peter when the phone rang and I quickly sat down on the top of the stairs to shamelessly eavesdrop. I nearly died when I heard my father finally answer, “Of course, you can write to my daughter, and get to know her better. We have been praying for a son-in-law like you.” I was stunned and didn’t hear the rest. They finished the conversation and dad hung up. “Dad,” I hollered down the stairs, “He just wants to get to know me better, not marry me right away. You are going to scare him off.”
Two weeks later I got my first letter! Peter and I corresponded for 4 months. The letters came like clockwork as Peter is very dependable. Guess what? I still have all those love letters. Quite tame actually! Nothing to be embarrassed about! We were calling each other sweet nothings, and then when Peter came back from his schooling and we met, we still didn’t know each other - really. We started dating, holding hands, going to parks, ice cream parlors, youth groups, other social events and long walks all over Winnipeg. I kept wondering when, if ever, he was going to kiss me. I let him read my journal entry one day. I had written about my slight disappointment that he was distant emotionally and had not yet kissed me even though we had been going out for over three months. Understandable really, as his was not an affectionately touching family. He and his siblings had never hugged. Mom had died when he was ten. Dad had remarried. Step-mom had also been a widow whose only child died in infancy. There was love and caring, but no hugging! Then his dad died just a few years prior to our going together. Finally, in response to my having the courage to share my feelings, he kissed me ----- but missed. Boy, were we naïve! We hugged, and held each other and laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed some more!!! But we did get the hang of it eventually! Wink, Wink!!! It’s sure funny to remember NOW!!!
We still dated for a year, Peter still studied in Ontario, and then we decided to get engaged on June 22, 1965 - incidentally my father’s birthday. Meanwhile, I had made some contacts with the Manitoba School Board and Peter got a job with the Virden School System for the Sept. 65 to June 66 school year. At least he wouldn’t be in Ontario, but in western Manitoba – much closer to home. During the engagement year we saw each other at least once a month and over school vacations. Peter’s mom had a car and we would drive out the four hours and bring him home for the weekend. Those were the memories………..lots of love!
Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5