Our Retro Bungalow

Our Retro Bungalow
The journal of the making of an old house into a lovely new home.

Thursday, September 1, 2016


I sat myself down and told Mr I was gonna write up a blog post in honor of our 34th wedding anniversary. There's quite a story or two or three or more about the period of time between our engagement and right up through the day of our wedding reception, which was the day after we were sealed for time and eternity in the Oakland temple.

That blog post  turned out to be more along the lines of a draft for a chapter book. There's a lot to tell. And it just wasn't feeling right. With so much time and effort being poured into recounting the events and not wanting to leave out any defining detail that could give readers an adequate vision of what we were faced with just trying to get married 34 years ago, I couldn't bring myself to post something that I felt would be incomplete without more thought and time put into it. So, it looks as if I have myself yet another project.

I'm quite certain I've mentioned my going through and sorting and scanning ALL the photos that we've EVER taken before the wonders of digital photography came to be. The thing is, I was quite the shutterbug back in the days of our children's childhood years. NOT a photographer, just a shutterbug. Yeah. It's pretty much overwhelming. And, if you don't mind, I may as well mention that since scanning and filing the first gazillion images onto our computer I've experienced a level of paranoia that could justify having me committed due to the fears and nightmares I've been experiencing at the thought of our hard drive crashing and all my time and work disappearing into a black hole. I must - absolutely must - purchase more online storage space. Soon. Today.

As if sorting and scanning forty-five gazillion photos isn't enough, I dug out all our old journals and have commenced transcribing them. A couple of years ago, when we lived outback in our trailer, I'd already done several entries, but there are SO MANY MORE to do. Truthfully, I think I may need medication. Mr thinks I may need medication. ADD medication. He's come to the conclusion that the older we get, the more conspicuous my "tendencies" become. Honestly, I don't even think the left side of my brain functions at half capacity anymore. Are there pacemakers for brains? Or shock therapy, maybe? Oh well. I've always wanted to try my hand at watercolor anyway. And it wouldn't surprise me or Mr one bit if in 15 or 20 years I'm running 'round hill and dale dressed in big floppy hats and other eccentric attire complete with an over-sized straw handbag for carrying my little white dog, pet rabbit or a stray raccoon like a certified 'crazy old woman'. Yep. Kinda like these gals...

By the way, have you seen "Practical Magic"? It's a lot of fun, though a little creepy.

But I digress, which, of course, is par for my meandering right mind (right, as in not left).

About those journal entries...

Since a blog post about the opposition, frustration and craziness leading up to our marriage will have to wait until I can finish the manuscript and find a publisher (juhhhst kidding), I thought I'd post one of Dean's journal entries from December 18, 1983, which I recently transcribed to Word. It's his version of our engagement. Please know that I feel just a little silly and sheepish as he was quite obviously "blinded by love" - his written account is unduly flattering of me. Not that I was homely, by any means. Okay. Never mind about that.

An excerpt from Mr's personal journal:
December 18, 1983
As soon as school got out in April of 1982 I decided to stay on in Provo and work for Mega Diamond for the summer. Sheri and I had been conversing often during this time, though our exchange of letters eventually trickled to about one every 2-3 weeks. We called each other once in a while but the flame kind of receded a bit. Anyway, she planned on coming out here in May to live and go to school. I was mildly excited about the prospect, but was a little anxious as I did not know how to feel toward her anymore. I had dated quite a few girls. Well, she came out and we kind of started dating again, but dated others at the same time. I started to become a little jealous as the guys started to congregate around her and began to ask her out. I didn’t know what to feel or what to do. This continued on for several weeks until one day I felt I was really losing her. I didn’t like the feeling at all. I began to pray about it and counsel with the Lord. Finally, one day I saw her from a distance looking more beautiful than I had ever seen her before. She was gorgeous! I knew I was going to marry her then, but how and where were details that needed to be worked out. Of course I knew that I was going to marry her when I first met her at a dance after my mission. That may sound trite, but it’s true. I loved her at that moment.

We planned a trip to go down to Southern California for her aunt’s wedding at which she was going to be a bridesmaid. That was in the end of June. We drove down together, went to Disneyland, Universal Studios, the beach and stayed at her Granny’s place for several days and came back. I had already made my mind up at that time to ask her to marry me and I did, a week later.
Late June, 1982 in Southern California the week before he proposed.

I had planned an elaborate treasure hunt for her to go to several different places and get clues for each succeeding place to go. It was great, if I do say so myself! I had her go to a pizza parlor and pick up a pizza that had a note in it. I had her go to a telephone booth where I called her to go to another place. She was running all over the place. Finally I had her go back home, put on a nice dress and come over to my place. I had a nice candlelight dinner prepared with lasagna and fake champagne. I really played it up. We ate (with my roommates conveniently gone for the evening) and talked quietly. We then proceeded to “rest” and decided to go for a quiet drive (prearranged on my part). We went to Kiwanis Park and things were kind of quiet. We strolled out to a bench and sat there and just when I was about to spring the question on her, a cop came up and shone his spotlight right in our eyes. He told us that it was past curfew and that we would have to leave. Well, not being one to be easily discouraged, we went to another park (Provo River Parkway) and sat on a bench there. Finally I got the courage up to ask her. Finally the words came out and I was stunned. I said them! I actually asked her to marry me! Now there was silence. – a day of silence, it seemed. “Oh I know. She’s trying to think of a way to let me down easy.” “How did I ever get into this?” Her reply was that she would have to ponder it for a while before she gave me an answer. That was on Saturday, July the 3rd. The next day – Sunday was a quiet one for both of us. It was stunning to think that we were on the verge of taking such a big step. I knew what her answer would be, though. We talked it over Sunday afternoon and  she said, 'YES'!
Yes, of course I still have all the clues from the "treasure hunt".

The bench at the Provo River Parkway where he asked me to be his wife.

Allow me to continue with this thought: I love that he asked me - that he pursued me. I've heard a plethora of stories of young women (and old) suggesting, and even proposing (!), marriage to a suitor. I can't help thinking that when this is the case it is because that type of women (eh hem...controlling) sees what she wants and aims to secure her will so that said suitor doesn't get away and set his sights on some other gal.That was not my style. I believed in and wanted the sweet, old-fashioned kind of love story. I still do. Have I ever told you about the time I'd hinted to my high school boyfriend that maybe he should come to my bedroom window sometime in the night and serenade me?

And he did.
 Ah, gee wiz. I can't even believe I told you that. How embarrassing. But..ya know...it substantiates my claim to being a long-time, sentimental romantic. Okay. I know what you're thinking.
But I learned something valuable from that. 
I learned that it's rather awkward and is far less meaningful if you have to ask. 
Or hint.
Moving right along...

About a month ago I attended the lovely backyard wedding reception of a dear friend's step-daughter. Dean wasn't able to get home from his 9 to 5 in time to accompany me. As I was entering the party area I passed a few guests who were on their way out. One of them, a male acquaintance of both Mr and me, commented on how great Our Retro Bungalow has turned out. He then proceeded to carry on a brief conversation about the stunning fact that the whole project - the tearing down, design, construction, and us living in a trailer in the back yard for 15 months - did not end our marriage. He went on to tell about his experiences in contracting and how he knew of more than a few couples that called it quits because of disagreements over selections of flooring, exterior color schemes and even entry doors. And these were couples whose homes were built by hired contractors, not themselves. He was about the thousandth person that has expressed amazement at the survival of our marriage and our relationship while we worked together building Retro Bungalow. It's sad to me that so many folks don't believe in marriages that lasting, that strong anymore.

Dean and I both know and have always been committed to what's of foremost value and it's definitely not any of the countless details of a house. It most certainly is our belief and faith in God and His plan for us. It is our belief and faith in each other and our partnership with our Creator. Another reason, perhaps, I can't help believing our happiness and our vows were not compromised over the course of the crazy, three year long house demolition/home construction project we took on, is a point I've already illustrated in this piece. While I am extremely right brained, he is extremely left. He sometimes must remind me that my car runs on - and will eventually run out of - gasoline. I remind him that slow dancing in the kitchen once in a while is essential to keeping our eternal alliance endearing and impenetrable. Some might contend that such extreme opposites would work together about as well as oil and water, but I'm here to tell you that, for us, it is balance - balance and understanding.

To commemorate our 34th year as husband and wife I ordered  custom, heirloom quality "portraiture" of Mr & Me in the form of classic silhouettes. They are lovely! And Etsy is FABULOUS.

We hung them in the little hallway that leads to our bedroom and I have started stitching a wonderful quote that I love and will have framed to hang below our black and white likenesses. Actually, with all the other things I have going on, so far I've only managed to map it out on graph paper. Stitching will commence when I wrap up a couple of other things. Hopefully soon. It'd sure be handy to have an extra set of eyes, arms and hands to accomplish all the projects that're bumpin' 'round and into each other in my cluttered head. But little good that'd do me, I suppose, if I'm only flyin' around on half a brain.

Here's to 34 years of goodness and absolute fidelity!
(that's "FAKE CHAMPAGNE" btw - insert laughing emoticon here)

Happy Anniversary to Us!