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Turning the Page

By Yvonne Nyenhuis

Fri, Dec 28th, 2012
Posted in All Commentary

“So quickly yesterdays become tomorrows memories!” It was 1964. Glenn’s family in Minneapolis tidied up the vestiges of Christmas, packed their suitcases into two cars and headed across the country to Pennsylvania, where Glenn and I were being married. The group included Glenn’s Mom and Dad, his brother Rodney and his wife Julie, his brother Jerry and his wife Grace and their little girl (not yet two) and Glenn’s youngest brother, Keith.

No sooner had they crossed the Mississippi River than a winter storm overtook them. As the miles fell away, the blizzard showed no signs of abating. They were encompassed in a swirling white veil, severely limiting visibility and challenged by the icy roads. During a pit stop they discussed turning back, but by this time they were halfway to their destination and clearly committed. Besides, Nyenhuises never give up. It’s not in their DNA! They kept on doggedly and in time were rewarded. The snow diminished once they got through the mountains of western Pennsylvania. When they arrived at the suburbs north of Philadelphia, they found the area was experiencing unseasonably warm weather. The scenery transitioned from white to lawns of green grass.

They were greeted with hugs and jubilation as my family crowded around them and whisked them off to meet their prospective hosts and get them settled in their new digs. They wended their way through the hilly countryside with fields and woods past farm houses built of brownstone in the 1700s when our country belonged to England. The populace in that area are spread out through a scattering of small towns linked by a labyrinth of country roads, some sixteen feet wide, paved carriage paths. Jerry, Grace and Amy stayed with Glenn in his apartment in Hatboro. The others ended up with friends and family in Huntingdon Valley and Southampton. I was living with my parents in Willow Grove. The church where we were to be married was a Cathedral, high on a hill, in Bryn Athyn.

Grace and Julie set aside a day to tour Philadelphia. They took a train into the city where they were met by my friend, Eleanor, who agreed to show them around. They were intrigued by the row houses. In some places the streets were brick or cobblestone. There is much to see: Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and the statue of William Penn which looks down on the city from the top of City Hall.

New Year’s Eve there was a gathering of the Nyenhuis family at the apartment in Hatboro. We had three Birthdays to celebrate; Jerry’s, Amy’s (who became two) and mine. I spent the afternoon in the basement arranging aisle bouquets for the church. I nestled pine cones sprayed white and silver into branches of spruce and pine and tied them with big white silk bows. About five p.m., I was summoned to the phone. I heard the excited voice of my friend, Rosemary. “What are you doing tonight?” she asked. “Well,” I hesitated, “We are celebrating Jerry, Amy’s and my birthday. It’s New Year’s Eve and tomorrow I’m getting married. Outside of that, not much!”

“Good,” she rejoined, “then you won’t mind standing up for Ronnie and me. We’re getting married tonight!”

Later, I sat in a circle with the Nyenhuises opening gifts. Amy was given a doll carriage and joyfully took off with it, running in the halls. At eight-thirty there was a knock at the door. I slipped into my coat and out into the dark night. Rosemary, Ronnie, his brother Jack, and I sped through the blackness until we came to a pleasant colonial house. We were welcomed by the warm lights of the home of the Justice of the Peace. There were smiling pleasantries, solemn vows were exchanged, documents were signed and once again we were barreling through the dark.

It was quite a distance to my parents home. When we arrived my parents were asleep. I tip-toed up the stairs without turning on a light and crawled under the covers just as guns were going off in the neighborhood. It was midnight, the beginning of a New Year and my Wedding Day!

I am seventy-nine today. Tomorrow Glenn and I will be married forty-eight years. We read each other’s thoughts and finish each other’s sentences. We fight and argue. We laugh a lot. It’s been a great adventure. We are thrilled with our three sons and their families, with our home and to be living in Lanesboro, the best place in the world.

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