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A Macro Bio
PART II

back to PART I

The Self-Remembering Continues...

Before continuing with this self-remembering; I would ask the reader to allow me to gather myself and my thoughts for a moment. I said at the very beginning; that words cannot begin to catch all the nuances, the thoughts, the emotions, or the feelings of a person caught up in an existential moment. Whether that person, be ourselves or someone else.

For the very minute we try to speak, as to what we are thinking or feeling, it become almost impossible to retain the purity of the said moment. And by purity, I do not mean this as a qualitative or a moralistic evaluation. But rather something with a perceived clarity, a realness in keeping with its' " is-ness, its'," thus-ness " To repeat what has been said earlier; we filter this " is-ness ", this moment of purity in and through our personal structuring of reality; as we see ourselves, the World and the things of the World. Thereby, diminishing the perceived moment. Making it beyond recognition.

If only we could deal with the reality, as reality. And block out the resurgence of our doubts, our repressed and suppressed urges, fears and anxieties, our feelings of insecurity and inadequacies. We could better re-present what the moment of reality, just is.

Should two people, be caught up in the same existential moment. And realize that they are capable of this mis-representation of reality as it is. Then maybe just maybe, we might begin to examine our own reality structuring of " All and Everything " And also inspect those building block realities on which we have built all our subsequent structuring.

I am entering into the gray areas of remembering, looking into the past which is intermingled with possible biases, self-rationalizations and justifications. And no matter how hard one tries for objectivity, it is exceedingly difficult to keep the self from entering in. Because we are more often than not, highly subjective.

I used the term, gray areas, for that is what they are, as we speak about past relationships and their staging pads. Also I have made the decision when talking about my relationships in marriage or marriages. That I will refer not by name to my ex-spouses. This is in no way meant to be, de-selfing or demeaning. It just seems to be more equitable.

Back to the rest of the story::

When the first to be Mrs. arrived at the airport in Las Vegas from Atlanta, I was sure the Earth was tilting and that the stars had to be falling somewhere. We hurried back to the Ranch, and introductions were made all around. And then we got reacquainted, as they do say. The next day we were married. And like all newly-weds, we danced among the stars and pledged, 'forever and ever'.

Alana, was in a strange, different world and married. In a relationship with a man, she had dated less than a half dozen times. Also, to someone eight years her senior, whose life experiences exceeded his years. Of course Alana at eighteen, like most eighteen year- olds, felt quite mature, even though her life experience  was confined to the family circle, within its' security and protection. And any other experiences were limited in scope.

Alana, was starry-eyed and innocent in years, that was her charm. But the coping and adjusting to the life-style of Las Vegas, to the working hours of the Ranch, which was twenty-four hour a day, was not easy. Alana, was not what you would label as being a gregarious person. She was "stand-offish", kept to herself a lot; seemingly aloof at times. She sort of just tolerated people. I didn't know at first, why this was so but I learned later. There were those, as she so put it; " they are not my kind of people." I remember the owner, Bryon Foy, asked me one day; " Why does it seem that Alana tries to avoid me, have I done something to offend her? Is there anything I can do, to make her feel more at home?" I remarked "no " that it was something, she had to work out herself. I thought at the time, her mood swings would pass, but this was proven wrong, as days turned into months.. There were those times, I was not sure that Alana was aware of her personality shifts.

The subject was never approached, but I often wondered; what was the conversation  When she told her parents; that she was going to fly all the way to Las Vegas, to marry a man, she hardly knew and one they had not met.

After about four months, Bryon was offered a price to sell the Guest Ranch, which he could not refuse. I knew the "Syndicate" would have their own personnel. And that my services would not be needed. Shortly, thereafter I took a job with the "Rommel Motel Chain", just on a temporary basis. A husband and wife team at one of the Motels had not had a vacation in two years. I took over while they went on a much deserved vacation. My new bride informed me that she was going back to Atlanta. To wait there until I finished at the Rommel. And as I had heard before, in those moments of her discontent; " my job, was not her cup of tea." The honeymoon period had drawn its' last breath. "The Dawn Of Reality" was the title of the new song replacing "Our Song".

Alana was a gifted artist, with a creative talent that reached into Fashion designing. She could take a piece fabric, with no pattern, only the one she held in her mind. And create an original, stunning fashion. With a snip and a stitch, here and there. It was uncanny. She also could sketch or paint anything, with speed and ease. A raw primitive, untrained talent. I often wondered, to what heights could she have gone in the art world ? If she had traveled abroad and studied art. Or attended a creative School of Art here in the States.

When I joined Alana in Atlanta, after leaving Vegas. I answered an advertisement, which read; " Needed a Country Club Manager with Resort or Hotel experience. Terms negotiable. Call such and such, Washington, Georgia. I contacted the number and set up an appointment. Drove down to the Club, met with the Chairman and several other of the members. Checked out the Club and its' facilities. We talked in general terms: about where the Club was financially, membership participation and the Clubs' possible future. We also talked about the percentage split of the food concession, the Golf Pro Shop and a possible bar operation, which at the time was non-existent. Also, how a cash flow might be generated to finance the needed repairs and renovations. A rough draft was made up to show to the rest of the board with some of the suggestions, which had been arrived at during the meeting.

I drove back to Atlanta to await their call. Finally, the "powers to be" called. Alana and I drove down to Washington,Georgia. A Contract was drawn up and signed. We drove back to Atlanta to collect our belongings. All three of us, moved to Washington, Ga. Oh, yes!, we had a new addition to the family, a boxer pup named " Duke".

It was decided, that if the Club was to succeed, we had to have a Lounge area. Where the members could come and have a few drinks after playing golf. Or come in the evenings and also on the weekends.

The traditional Sunday buffets would continue. And we would add a Friday and a Saturday night buffet, as well. Along with some special weekends events. Picnic on the lawn, ice cream socials, cakewalks, dances, etc. We also, added various new Golf tournaments to the schedule.

But the main attraction, the drawing card was the new Lounge area. Alana was in her element, we turned an old storage area into a night club. It was decided that the Lounge would have a tropical motif, "a la Trader Vic's". The walls were done in a grass matted effect, with bamboo strips running vertical down the walls to hid the seams of the matting. Large wine barrels were turned into Jungle Drums and simulated leather formed the top of the drums. Then round thick glass was cut for the table tops. Rattan chairs were placed around the drum tables.  Rattan Bar stools for the bar. The bar itself was designed as a simulated grass hut, with decorative African tribal masks.

But the centerpiece, the focal point which pulled everything together and made the Lounge. Was a breath-taking Black-light Mural that covered a good part of one of the walls. The people in Washington had never seen its' likes before. Not even in Atlanta.

Alana, had created a jungle scene, of a beautiful young maiden, bathing beneath a cascading waterfall. With a tiger, coming through the jungle foliage The vivid colors were primitive, strong and bright. The Mural was a sensation, the talk of Washington, Ga.. Alana had out done herself. For a while she emerged out of her cocoon. She seemed less bored.

The Club, was turning around; the tournaments, the socials, and the dinners were gaining a following. We were climbing out of the red.. People were enjoying the Club and its' facilities. It was becoming the place to meet. Less and less people were driving into Atlanta to celebrate. The Club was fulfilling a need.

But the storm clouds were gathering, rumors and gossip about the Club and the Bar operation began to surface.

(A side note)

No alcoholic beverages were allowed to be sold within the Town limits, or the County. Even though we were out, beyond the towns' boundary lines. If you wanted to buy any kind of spirits. You had to cross over the County line and within a stones throw there was a large Package Store. By law, if you were caught bringing more than two bottles across the county line . You could be arrested for bootlegging and prosecuted.

We got around the no bar, by establishing a locker system, with the members names on the bottles, so we were by all intent pouring out of their bottles. This procedure was used through-out Georgia, because many of the Counties in the State were dry. Where no alcohol was sold.

As the storm clouds increased; the Club became the topic for the Minister of one of the local churches. His dialogue spoke about the existing " den of iniquity " outside our city limits, corrupting the youth of our town, while catering to drunks." But this was the same Minister riding his " hobby horse", who spoke about the sins of mixed bathing, in a swimming pool, while cavorting around half-nude. The amusing thing about his tirade, was that the only community type swimming pools were in Atlanta, Georgia, a couple of hours drive away.

Some of the pillars of the Community, who were Deacons in this same said Church, were also Members of the Club, but inactive, They began to talk about having a referendum vote on the bar issue at the Country Club. The irony of it all, was that many of these same rabble rousers would go the Clubs in Atlanta, for a good-old-time. And then sneak back home in the wee hours.. Or they would have someone step across the county line, to buy their booze. Hypocrisy, had its' finest hour.

The voting finally came to pass, after weeks of mud slinging. All the active members that used the Club, assured me that the opposition would not win. But I was wary of their prediction, small town politics can never be underestimated. There was a strong right guard, an old line "Confederate" mind set, that wielded a lot of influence. This was the same town, that rose up in arms about the State Highway Department of Georgia wanting to widen the main highway through town. But because of a large Oak tree that would have had to be removed. The town refused to remove the tree. This particular oak tree that the State wanted taken down, was where General Tombs of the Confederate Army was hung from, by the Union soldiers, just after the defeat of the South during the Civil War. Because of the City's refusal to allow the tree to be removed, the Highway Dept. built the new highway around the town. Consequently, the town died on the vine, because the diehards couldn't see beyond the end of their noses. Tunneled vision people have a tendency not to see the obvious.

Sad to say; it seems the only way that this "head in the sand mentality" would ever change,  a few premature deaths. A few premature deaths would have to happen.

Back to the story

When the day of the voting took place. I saw more  strangers, than I had ever seen before, coming into the Club. I grabbed Mr. Shine, chairman of the Broad members and asked, who are all these people ? He just shook his head and said; most of them are the original Chartered Members. Some came in wheelchairs and with-walkers. The active members were out gunned. The opposition won hands down. All that was left, was the Clubs' funeral.

Alana, Duke and I, stole silently out of town, back to Atlanta. We moved to Decatur, Ga., around the Stone Mountain area. I went to work at " Richs' " Department Store, doing Designer Display. But alas, Alana was not to happy in Atlanta. She yearned to go to those 'wide open spaces', where everything was bigger than big. Where they chased those long-horned critters and danced the two-step in their Stensons.and 'Tony Lama's' Alligator boots.

Her Mother's brother and two sisters, lived in Houston,Texas. So Texas it was, back to the scene, the beginning where we met. I secured a job at " Foleys " doing display work. Having work at " Richs' " in Atlanta, gave me, immediate entree. " Richs' " Display Dept., had an unlimited budget , which allowed them full creative freedom.  Richs' " Fashion windows and Interior displays were Internationally known in The Display World.

To jump ahead, while working at Foleys, Alana and I decided to purchase a house in a sub-division, out past Airline Drive. The house was located on Ismael St. It was part wood, with a brick exterior. Two bedrooms, plus a very small room, off the hallway. near the front of the house; a living room, kitchen with an eating area and one bath. With a one car garage, a front lawen, along with a fenced in backyard. A typical sub-division home that cost approximately, $13,000 I used my GI loan at 4 1/2% to purchase the house. Alana wanted to purchase a home near Spring Branch where her uncle and aunts lived. The cost of real estate in the Sping Branch was out out of reach.

Not too long afterwards, I ask Alana, if she would be interested in having an interview with Mr.Bob Dundas who was head of the Advertising Dept.at Foleys. I arranged a meeting for the two of them to meet. She worked up some fashion sketches, and the meeting was set. She had her interview with Mr. Dundas. To say, that he was interested in her portfolio would be a big Texas' understatement. He was taken back by Alana's unbelievable talent. I happened to be in Tom Curtis' office {Head of The Display Dept}, when Dundas brought her art work in to show him. Neither, could believed, that she had no formal art training. Or that she had never drawn newspaper fashion advertising before She joined the Advertising Department and became one of their top artist. As I had said before, she was unbelievably fast and good.

And then, along came Missy "M&M"; Madeline Michelle, the first baby at St. Josephs' Hospital to be borne using hypnosis. Alana didn't want a saddle block, nor any anesthesia to be used in her delivery. After calling all over Houston, and being turned down by the Medical profession. Hearing, such remarks from the physicians as "you can't be serious about wanting to perform your wives' delivery by hypnosis. Certainly, you are not qualified to undertake such a procedure. No doctor will allow you. The whole thing is absurd."

Finally, a Dr. Ham, a female Gynecologist, agreed to allow me to perform the hypnosis, under the condition that I would allow a Psychiatrist, a friend of hers' to be present, as I put Alana under, during the induction period. And also to be present with me in the Delivery room in case of any complications, I agreed. The delivery went off without any problems. What a beautiful day! What a beautiful child!

Later in, January of 1959, something happened that changed the course of events both for Alana, Madeline Michelle and for myself. I was diagnosed as having "Pulmonary Tuberculosis". The whole chain of events leading up to the final diagnosis of the dis-ease were both bizarre and puzzling. Up to that point I had no physical symptoms; the hacking cough, weigh loss, the low grade fever, along with the usual sputum. I felt like 'top of the heap, king of the hill'. It was impossible, I could not have tuberculosis, the x-rays and the tests had to belong to someone else. A mistake had been made.

I was admitted to St. Josephs' hospital immediately, upon the final findings. As a precautionary measure to protect the family. This was on a Monday, I was put in a private room, no visitors were allowed, I was by all intent and purpose contagious. The attending physician put me on several new drugs that were in their infancy. I took them after each meal, this went on for seven days. On the sixth day, I asked one of the nurses; "what was the going rate for a private room, plus all the additional costs?" She gave me a ball park figure, I immediately called my Doctor and asked him to please drop by the hospital. We needed to talk. Upon his arrival, I asked if he was still serving as a Consultant at the Veterans Hospital in Houston, he nodded "yes". My remark to him; "I am not going to die from tuberculosis but rather from bankruptcy. I am a Veteran, can you get me in the VA." He said he was sure he could.

I was admitted to the VA Hospital on a Monday morning. A full week, after being admitted to St. Josephs' the prior Monday. And as is the Army's way of doing things I was given all the tests all over again. Even though my attending Doctor was a Consultant there at the VA.

Here comes the puzzlement, all my tests came back negative, the only signs left were the three chest cavities that showed on my x-rays. And even they showed a difference in configuration... Would the Doctors believe the tests. No! Once again came the Gastrics and all the other tests they could think of. Still, at this point I had no underlying symptoms. Dr. Shoffner, head of the Tubercular Clinic was called in. They could not accept the fact that after six days on the new drug therapy I had moved from a positive culture to a negative status. After two more months, my cavities had calcified. They kept me in the hospital until August, it seemed like a lifetime to me. The entire time I was there, I felt like a caged lion, a healthy caged lion!

I used to sneak out of the ward, which was a "no no". Wearing a different patients' jacket and pants. I had bribed one of the Orderlies with a Cigarette rations card, I used to get. I didn't smoke, but I would trade off the cigarettes for candy or something else. The Tubercular ward patients wore a different colored uniform, which made them easy to spot. Once I had changed I would go to the hospital Movies. Sometimes go and play little ping pong or play a game of pool. Shoot some basketball in the gym and maybe pump a little iron.

I was finally caught and put on report. And sent to the Psychiatrist, who wanted to know why I was flaunting the rules. My answer; "I am not sick. All the tests verify that I am cured, I am as healthy as you, if not more so. How would you feel, if you were sane and everyone, was trying to convince you other wise? How would you react to your confinement?" The charges were dropped.

After the third month, I was able to have visitors. Alana came once, only once. Other wives came to visit, even before the third month and would stand outside the glass, and wave, even though they couldn't come in and the patients couldn't go out, some would even bring the children. But as they say; " different genes, different scenes." Alana had her "way".

While in the hospital, I was awarded a World War II Disability pension. Which came to about $750 per. month, from the time I entered the hospital. The irony was, I had been discharged in 1947, twelve years prior. But the Review Board had awarded the pension on the grounds that I had contracted double pneumonia three times in the service. Once in basic training, at Camp Robinson in Little Rock, Arkansas and twice overseas. The predictions of my early birth trauma were coming true, Respiratory diseases would shadow me throughout my life..

During this period, I had a lot time to examine, my life, my goals and my aspirations. Also, to look at my marriage. My relationship with Alana. Just how compatible were we as husband and wife? Did we need the same things in life? Why were we, so far apart, in how we looked at life? And what were the values we shared? It seemed as though, we were looking out a different window, as we were moving through life, but seeing different things

Alana was infatuated, with the Spring Branch, lifestyle. It was her kind of life, her kind of people. Even I enjoyed, visiting the aunts and uncles, going to Juniors' summer place in Galveston .But it was not my life, nor my ambition. My spirit was elsewhere and it always had been.

While in the hospital, I wrote a column for the weekly Hospital magazine. It was a column that spoke about lifestyles, purpose and meaning, values and priorities. A sort of a philosophical, religious, psychological "potpourri". Asking in one way or another, the question: what do each of us, have to bring to the table of life, or to the World, or to our separate relationships. I found myself in a continuing conversation with the other patients and the Staff, speaking about life and its' meaning.

After a lot of soul searching in the hospital. Asking myself, what have I given of myself, beyond making a living. The answer; "very little, came loud and strong". Up to that point in my life, I had done so many things, seen so many things, felt so many things. My questions were many, my answers so few. But I knew one thing. I had to keep searching and seeking for the answers; " Who am I?, Why am I here? and Where am I going? " This was not a self-identity search, this was a soul search; a search for my beginnings. My essence, my is-ness, my intrinsic core, that " Image " I was created to be. The semantics, the rhetoric's was not important. What was important was the "awareness, the "knowing". The process of expansion; the seeking, the searching, the asking, the probing, the experiencing of the " All and Everything " was essential for me.

Herein, Alana and I were not on the same wave-length. Our needs were different and our life meaning and purpose was different. It was not a question of who was right or wrong. It became an " Awareness ", that our existing relationship was not the best for Alana, Michelle or for me. The petty arguments, the bickering, the gloom, the mood swings, the dissatisfaction and discontentment, these were not conducive for any of us. No child should be raised in an atmosphere, where there is a constant negativity. Where love had been replaced; with resentment, anger and pride. And I should know this better than anyone. It was a repeat of my childhood. 

The decision I reached was to somehow enter the Ministry of the Church. I knew it would take place, it would happen. How? When? What denomination? I did not know? The logistics, the timing, I did not know, but it would come to pass. My decision was not based on a " road to Damascus " experience. It was based on my need to give of myself. And also my need to search and to seek after.

I was released from the hospital just before my 32nd.birthday in August I returned to work. And played in a Fast Pitch Softball Tournament. It was good to be back playing again, after being cooped up for so long. While in the hospital; Michelle had learned to talk and walk, and do those little prissy things, that little girls do. At first, she was not to sure about this giant with the deep voice. But little by little, we were reunited. And, "da, da" fell from her lips, as she would climb up into my lap and fall asleep.
 
 
{A sober reflection
A pause if you will permit.}
 
The one memory of my confinement from my eight months in the Hospital, that was difficult to come to terms with. Was Alana's indifference and lack of concern; during my hospital stay; one telephone call and one visit. Upon my release there was no coming home party; no, "Its' great to have you home again, I missed you" Surely that would have been appropiate and appreciated. But alas! While the cat is away the mice will play. So, they do say.
 
Well, back to the rest of the Story!
 
During the month of August, there was a lifeless feeling, a shut down, a lull, a distance in the air, when Alana and I were in the same room, even when we made love. ( It was like there was someone else in the room) We were civil to one another, but our conversations were guarded and hesitant. For those around us, we played our respective roles. From time to time, I would try subtly, to hint about my decision to enter the Ministry. But from the various remarks and more in what Alana did not say, when I spoke about changing professions and my leanings towards the Ministry. It was evident that she did not want to be a ministers' wife.

That same month, we planned a camping and a fishing trip with our next door neighbors, Gene and Lorraine. We borrowed, Junior's trailer and headed off to Lake Austin. Gene and I, used to do a little fishing together. Shoot the breeze over the fence. Lorraine and Alana were sometime friends, more like acquaintances. {A note: in almost all the sevens years of our marriage, I can't remember Alana making any real close lady friends. besides her aunts}. We finally arrived at Lake Austin and set up camp. Ready to relax and enjoy ourselves. But Alana, was not a very "happy camper". I thought at first that probably, it was the long trip, also Michelle was acting up, or maybe it was just my imagination.

Morning came, Gene and I were up bright and early to string some trot lines. So we could have fish for dinner, that night. The girls were still asleep. After, we strung the lines and baited them. Gene and I, did some plugging and some plastic worm fishing. And then some trolling back to the campsite. Gene and I had commented on the way back, that it would sure be nice if breakfast had been started. After docking the boat, we walked towards the campsite. But we couldn't see the girls, in fact there was no visible signs of life. We hastened our steps, when we got there. I opened the trailer door, Alana was sitting on the bed. Before I could speak, she said in a loud enough voice; That could have been heard in the halls of the Capital. " I want to go home." This was a stupid idea in the first place. I don't like it here. I don't want to be here. I asked her to lower her voice. " I don't care, if they do hear me their your friends not mine, they are not my kind of people." Those familar words rang out once more.

I had heard this line of snobbery before at the Guest Ranch also in relation to the wives and husbands of the Softball team, I had played on. And about the people I worked with, and there wives. Which brings to mind a most regrettable moment, near the beginning of the end.

One day, Alana was on one of her "fit flights" about money and she had run out things to say about my job at Foleys and where we lived. She said in her most caustic acid tone: " I know why you work there, with all those "queers", those homosexuals referring to the Display Dept. I believe you are one yourself." And you won't admit it." The straw broke, I wheeled and backhanded her and walked out of the house. Up to that time, I had never every laid a hand on a woman in my life. I couldn't believe that I had pulled such an immature stunt. I knew better, than to let her get to me. I was taught never to strike a woman. Under any circumstances.

Back to the story:

I want you go out, an apologize to Gene and Lorraine. " I will not " Okay, then just ." Shut up ". I'll go out an apologize. I went out and said; I am sorry , you heard all that, I think it's best that we leave. Again I am sorry.. We packed up, and left. We returned home in silence That incident took all the icing off the cake.

I told Alana, I was out of the marriage. File the divorce papers, I would not contest it and she was free to state any reason she wanted to give, as to the grounds for the divorce. Mental cruelty, incompatability, I left the toilet seat up, or the cap off the toothpaste. Everything was hers, except my clothes, golf clubs, books, and car.

Seven years of bickering. My regret was Michelle, but I knew that Alana could provide for her, and that she would care for her. The present atmosphere was not conducive for bringing up a child. Nor was it conducive for Alana and I. The things she felt, she needed to give meaning to her life were not what I needed, nor would I ever need. Our posturing was different, our needs, wants, values and goals didn't come close. Financially, I knew Alana would be earning far more than I would be earning in the Ministry. And that she would be married or be living with someone, quickly. My predictions were true.

While waiting for the divorce to become final, I took a job as a Real Estate salesman, selling track homes in a sub-division. The Realtor I worked for was Don Milheim, whose office at the time was located on Airline Drive. While working for Don, I was making plans to enter the ministry. I visited all kinds of Churches, from the High Churches to the Bible thumping, "slain in the spirit" congregations. My only experience with a Church had been in my early formative years, a small rual Baptist Church and the Catholic Church. My High School training was at La Salle Military Academy, in Troy , New York, which was run by the Brothers. But because of doctrinal differences, I broke from the Catholic Church when I was fifteen.

One Sunday morning, I was walking in the downtown area of Houston, looking for a place to eat breakfast. I passed by the First Methodist Church, Dr. Charles Allen was the Pastor. I stopped briefly and look at the outside Marquee. Just as I started to turn away, a young man in his early twenties invited me to visit his Sunday school class. A singles' class of young professionals, he said;"that this morning Dr. Richard Murray will be teaching about " What Methodists Believe , Would I be interested?" I said; " Yes.

I was introduce to the Class. Afterwards, some announcements were made, a couple of songs and then a collection was taken. Mr. Murrary, begin his introductory remarks about the "Methodist Beliefs" and commented on John Wesley, the creative spirit behind early Methodism.

Up until that time; my only acquaintence with Methodism, was as a child. My uncles and aunts belonged to the Methodist Church in Greencastle, Indiana. At Christmas and Easter, we would drive in from the farm and attend the Holiday services with them.

Out of the lecture, a single thought struck a responsive chord, or to use Wesley's words; "my heart was strangely warmed". Wesley believed that the intellect and the spirit should be united. The mind was a gracious gift, not to be degraded when it came to spiritual matters. That we were to use our minds in our spiritual quest and in our spiritual development. And Wesley's remark, after being forced out of the church, while he was preaching in the fields. Was asked; where is your parish? He said; "the World is my parish". These two remarks caused my swing to Methodism. The World became my parish.

And in a way; "the World" is still my parish. Only my thoughts, words and  rehtoric have a different spin.

As the lecture was being presented, my eyes exchanged glances with a very attractive young lady. After the lecture was over, the same young man that had invited me, came up and asked;" Did you enjoy the lecture?" I replied in the affirmative. He said by the way, we usually go to "Pizza Hut" in the evening , would you be interested in coming. I thought; "I wonder if she will be there"? "Why not", I replied. That evening, she was there. again we exchanged guarded glances and would turn away. The evening ended, but I had found out her name.

The following Sunday, I was back in the class, Richard Murray was to continue where he had left off, about what Methodists believe? And Babs was there. After class I asked her out that Sunday evening. We went to the Movies, and if you were to ask what Movie was playing? I surely don't know. Sometime during the evening, I told Babs about the impending divorce proceedings and when it would become final

We had a whirlwind romance, at first her parents objected to our seeing each other, so often. The divorce and the age difference were the topics of discussion. Babs was 19, going on twenty-five, I was 33. But the family slowly came around. The divorce was finalized, no contest, no hitches. Babs and I were married, in the First United Methodist Church in Houston. We moved into an apartment just blocks away from her parents in the Heights.

During the waiting period and our courtship, I had been talking to Richard Murray about the ministry. About the requirements needed, just how does one go about entering the ministry? He replied; the usual way is graduation from High School, then four years of undergraduate work and a diploma. Then applying for admission into a Seminary. Well, all the above, was out of reach for me at the time. For, I had neither a diploma from High School or College.

Then Richard went on to say;" what I needed to do, was first get my " License to Preach " Then apply to the Conference to be admitted to do the "Conference Course Of Study." And then asked to be appointed as a Supply Pastor, come the June Conference. I told Babs and her parents about my plans. Babs still was not fully conscious of where I was heading. " Love conquers all" thought I, foolish me!.
 
Babs was out of the house, the "apron strings had been cut", she was playing house, decorating and picking up things for the apartment. I believe one of the most popular reasons for young girls getting married, is to break those "strings", to leave the nest. To be out of the house..."freedom". Of course like all newlyweds, we were ecstatically attracted to each other. If we could have lived on love, we would have lived only in the bedroom. But, alas, there is reality. It comes waltzing through the door. And what is reality to a nineteen year old?
 
 
She was going to marry a man who was going into the Ministry, which meant she was about to become a Minister's wife. But the full impact was yet to sink in. This scenario, was not what she pictured at all, with a capital A, a minister's wife!!!

The night finally arrived, the night when the Conference Appointments were to be read in the Sanctuary of the First Methodist Church in Houston, Four hundred plus Ministers and some of their families were gathered to hear Bishop Martin read the appointments. Near the end, I finally heard; H.Lee Mc Ginnis, appointed to Bullard, Texas as a Supply Pastor. I turned and asked the Pastor next to me; where is Bullard,Texas? He shrugged his shoulders.  After the reading of the Appointments was over, I found Babs and her parents and they asked the same question that I had asked; " Where is Bullard?" I then, shrugged my shoulders. Let's find a Journal, it will tell us the District and the location.

Well, it was located in East Texas, the Bible Belt of Texas, deep in Cattle country and the wide open spaces. A little town with a population of 213 people. Whose Downtown consisted of two grocery stores. A Post Office in one of the stores Two filling Stations, a Dry Goods Store and a Hareware Store. And three churches; a Methodist, a Baptist and a Church Of Christ.

The Methodist Church, up until my appointment, had been a students' charge, a Circuit Church with two other Churches. The Church was located in the Tyler District .Dr Durwood Blackwell was the presiding District Superintendent.

When Babs heard all the particulars, this City lady, wanted no part of it. The Civil War was on, and paradise was in jeopardy. Margie, Bill and I try to soothe the troubled waters, that was slowly becoming a Tidal Wave that threatened both Babs and I.

Statements that I was to hear more times than I wanted to hear, later on: " You chose the Ministry, I did not. I don't want to be a Ministers' wife. I won't go to Church.. I will stay home. You can't make me go to Church. I don't want to live in Bullard, Texas, where there is only two hundred people. what am I suppose to do? " The questions poured out like a torrent. Little did I know, or maybe I didn't want to know. That the seeds, were beginning to germinate, and would come to full bloom in the Winter of our marriage.

 

continue to Part III...

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