The Story of Us - Part 9

If you missed the first eight sections of this story, you can catch up HERE. When I left off the last time we had just been given permission to get married sooner rather than later and our wedding date had been set for June 17, 2000. You might recall that our first date was on June 17, 1998 - but we didn't remember that when we picked our wedding date. It wasn't until early in '99 when I was looking through my old calendar that I realized our first date was on the 17th - what a "coincidence", no? :-)

My senior picture outside of my "school" - the beauty of being home-schooled!

I finished my 11th grade studies in December 1998 and started my senior year of high school in January 1999. It ended up being a very good thing that I decided to double up my work and graduate one year early as we discovered I didn't actually have all that much work left to do in order to graduate. In other words, I would have been totally bored in 12th grade if I had stuck to the schedule - yeah for listening to Peter! :-)

Valentine's Day 1999

I managed to get through all of my classwork - even spending full days sitting at Peter's school to get it done. At that point everyone, even the school receptionist who gave me a hard time about getting my math work done (thanks Natalie!), was rooting for me to graduate early and move on with life. In May 1999 Peter completed his college work and graduated with a B.S. in Missionary Aviation Technology from Moody Bible Institute/Moody Aviation (Elizabethton). About a week later I finished all my high school work and my parents threw a graduation party for me. We were now one step closer to getting married - woo hoo!!

LEFT - Peter's college graduation ; RIGHT - My high school "graduation"

Sometime during that spring we started talking about what we were going to do after graduation and marriage. I had already been accepted to a school just outside of Boston and would be moving up there in August to begin my freshman year of college. Peter knew that he would need to find a job that would help him pay off his school loans (and something else I didn't know about yet) and most of the A & P (Airframe and Powerplant - basically his aviation mechanic's license) jobs where we live don't pay much. We also planned on him moving to Boston after we were married so I could continue my education. We had heard that it was difficult to find an apartment in the Boston area and that's when Peter got a brilliant idea - he should move to Boston after his graduation and work on getting a job and apartment that would work for us once we were married. He had gone to Moody with some guys whose parents lived in a suburb of Boston and had an extra room where he could stay (for free) until he got on his feet. Perfect! The only complication was what my dad would think about sending his daughter 14 hours away and having Peter with-in driving distance of me. I was also a little unsure about the arrangement as I thought he might "hamper" my college experience and I was only going to get a year of dorm life (which, let me tell you, was more than enough for me!). However, Peter made a good case to me about how we hadn't done well after being apart for ten weeks while I worked with Teen Missions, so he wasn't sure how we would do being separated for ten months. Good point. Eventually we made it onto the same page and then approached my dad. Shocker of shockers, Dad actually thought Peter moving to Boston was a good idea! He liked the idea of Peter getting settled in a job and finding a good place for us to live once we were married. I think he also liked the idea of me having Peter around to take care of me instead of me being seventeen and alone in Boston. Dad's like their little girls to be safe and my dad knew I would be safe with Peter. And so it was decided, when Peter graduated and after my sister got married in June, he would take off for Boston and hopefully find a job and apartment quickly. I was disappointed about him going to Boston without me as I really wanted to be the one to show him around (Boston is my favorite city!), but he promised he would save all the good stuff for after I arrived in August. :-)

We made plans to go out on June 17, 1999 for a celebration of the one year mark until our wedding. My sister was getting married two days later and we had been quite busy getting all the stuff done for their wedding. Peter had been over at the house daily since his graduation and he was very much becoming part of the family. On June 16th my dad asked Peter to help him set up a new media center while I stayed downstairs working on wedding stuff. The timing was perfect for Peter. The next day we planned to grab a bite to eat and then go see a play at a local theatre. When Peter came by to pick me up my dad was heading out the door to play golf. Dad told me good-bye and then at the last minute he popped his head back in the door and said, "You two have a good time today!" and then gave us a big grin. That should have been my tip off, but I was oblivious. My mom - always ready with a camera as you can probably tell from all the pictures we have of our courtship - snapped a few photos before we headed out the door.

On the way to get lunch Peter asked me if I wanted to go by one of our favorite parks. Since we had gotten an early start, I figured it wouldn't hurt. As we drove into the park Peter suggested that we get out and walk around - and I suggested that we stay in the car and drive around. However, he ignored me and parked anyway. Out we went and all the while I was talking about how we needed to make sure we had enough time to eat and enough time to get up to the theatre (about an hours drive). Peter smiled and nodded and herded me over towards a gazebo. We stopped between two giant evergreen trees and Peter told me that he wanted to propose to me and I told him I didn't want him to propose until he had a ring. He told me he wanted to anyway and he would propose when he had a ring too. I thought that was silly...one proposal was enough. BONUS INFO: Several months earlier while doing some engine work at school Peter had found an o-ring that he thought would fit my finger. He gave it to me to wear until he could give me a real ring. I wore it every day and my sister thought it was the ugliest thing ever. In fact, she informed me I couldn't wear it in her wedding - and Peter told me not to worry about it. As we stopped by the pine trees, Peter asked me to give him my o-ring. He put it in his coat pocket and then started to kneel down - and I stopped him! My exact words were: "Peter, don't kneel down! I have to wash those pants!" (I'd been doing his laundry for several months) Peter gave me a look and then took a day timer out of his pocket, threw it on the ground and knelt on that. I was embarrassed and wondering why he was doing this now - we had somewhere to be and I already knew I wouldn't get a ring until Christmas. The next thing I knew he was asking me to marry him. After I stopped being a pill I (Peter wants me to add "quickly" and "sarcastically" here) said, "yes"...and then he was putting something heavy on my finger. Oh no, it wasn't the o-ring I had just handed him...it was the ring we had picked out together at the jewelry store several months earlier (only these diamonds were bigger than the ring in the store)! I gasped and then I sat down on his knee to keep from falling down. Our conversation went something like this (as I stared at the ring):

Me: "Does Dad know?!"
Peter: "Yes he does and he's thrilled about it. I talked to him last night."
{Long Pause}
Me: "Is it real?!" (we had briefly talked about getting a cubic zirconium to save money) 
Peter: (Peter wants me to add: "With a hurt look on his face...") "Yes it is. And bigger too."
Me: "Can I keep it?" (I had this funny idea that maybe the jeweler - who also knew my family - had "loaned" it to him and we had to take it back later)
Peter: "Yes you can. He let me take it before it was paid off so I could give it to you today. I've had it for several months and even buried it a jar in the ground so I wouldn't be tempted to give it to you early. I told several guys where it was and told them to give it to you if something happened to me."

And so that was how we got engaged - one year to the day after we went on our first official "date" and one year prior to our wedding day. We drove back to my parents house to show my mom and sister (and some of her friends who were there to be bridesmaids at her wedding two days later) and then stopped by Chick-fil-A to show it to another friend who was planning on getting married the same day as us. All the way to the theatre I stared at the ring - it just didn't seem real...but it was and we were finally officially engaged and my dad was okay with it! I know we went to see "Guys and Dolls" at the theatre that day, but honestly I spent most of my time snuggled up with Peter and admiring how nice the theatre lights made my ring look - how those diamonds sparkled! :-)

Two days later my 30-year-old sister tied the knot and we knew that a year later it would be our turn. There was a lot to come in the following year, but that will have to be saved for the 10th and final installment! :-)



  1. I'm glad I'm not the only woman who tells her man not to do something because I will have to clean it!! :) Good thing our men are so forgiving of us!

  2. I already knew that Andrew and I got engaged on your wedding anniversary, but I didn't realise that we got engaged on your engagement anniversary too!!


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