Friday, April 9, 2010

I am Thankful for Early Lean Times

[OK, I missed another day. I have been ill. I will catch up.]

On December 21, 1974 Cheryl and I got married. Less than two weeks later, on January 1, 1975 we pulled the 4X6 U-haul into the driveway of our first apartment in Wheaton, Illinois. Two days later we went through orientation for grad school and classes began. We haven’t slowed down much since then.

Wheaton was an exciting time in our lives, discovering the joys and challenges of marriage and the difference between graduate education and undergraduate, not to mention being financially responsible. Cheryl got a job at a day care and later transitioned in clerical work at Creation House Publishers. I became part-time minister of education at the Indian Trails Church of God in Aurora, Illinois and later transitioned into being a security guard at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

We were poor. We ate a lot of meatless spaghetti until we finally swallowed our pride and got food stamps. We didn’t have a phone or a television. Each week we had a date night. First, we went to a corner convenience store and called our parents, collect of course. Second we went to McDonalds where we split one order of fries and one milk shake. Then we drove to K-Mart where we went to the appliance section and watched a TV show. We were poor, but we were happy.

There were a couple of financial miracles that first year and a half of marriage, but mostly we learned to work hard and live within our means. The first lesson took; the second not so well. We also learned that happiness does not come from material possessions, but material goods can indeed be blessings from God to be enjoyed and used. With reflection, happiness and thanksgiving seemed right at home with thread-bare carpet, chicken-pot pies, old cars, and Friday night dates at K-Mart.

Cleveland, Tennessee
April 8, 2010

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Such wonderful days! Were they not the best times??? I recall fun more than the suffering of poverty. I recall enjoying simple things like a McDonald's milkshake. I recall us chasing each other around the apartment and laughing our heads off as you made good on a threat to "put my head in the commode." (your mother thought this was abuse)
I recall seeing God provide our needs down to the exact dollar amount and I recall being free from the burden of debt- so much so that the car salesman told us we had to "establish credit" before we could buy our first new car.
I recall also the shame of food stamps...but overall the positive memories out weigh the bad!
We are on a great adventure and how wonderful were those days. Cheryl