It took me longer than I expected to “Phil” in the blank and meet my husband. Like Diana Ross once said, “You can’t hurry love.” I was an old maid of twenty when I finally married. Lest you worry, dear reader, that my selfish motives caused the relationship to end badly, such was not the case. I genuinely loved Phil. I mean Dan. After almost 30 years I still do. Fortunately for both of us, he loves me back.
On my wedding day I was nervous and shaking. One of my bridesmaids said, “What are you so nervous about? This is the day you’ve been waiting for since you were, like, four years old!” I wondered if I had always been that obvious.
After a brief honeymoon during which our ten-year-old rusty Datsun pick up broke down in a place called Baker, Nevada, we settled into domestic bliss. We bought a ten by forty-seven foot two bedroom mobile home and moved in all our stuff. Guess what? I had married my father. He brought into our marriage forty-five boxes of I-don’t-know-what, and at least a dozen more which should have been marked, “What-was-he-thinking?”
One box was filled with just his ironing from the previous six months. What a considerate guy! He knew how much I wanted to be a real housewife, so he had saved every non-perma-press shirt he owned from the time he fell in love with me, just so I could have the joy of ironing. I found quickly that, even if I had wanted to shove Dan under the bed while I roasted plastic turkeys, he was a living, breathing, flesh-and-blood man with his own feelings and opinions. He liked his stuff. He wanted his stuff. He kept his stuff. When I suggested that, since he had not worn those shirts for more than six months, we should throw them out, he got mad. I taped up the box of ironing and hid it in the spare bedroom.
Of course I brought my stuff into the trailer, too, but it was good stuff. I only owned things that I really valued, like my mom’s three gallon spaghetti pot and Aunt Doll’s old cardboard dresser that was covered in pink quilted taffeta and filled with about twenty-five pounds of rickrack. My heartstrings were tied tightly to the things that belonged to my departed loved ones, and seriously, you just never knew when that kind of stuff would come in handy.
Added to both his boxes and mine were the wedding gifts. We got two toasters, three crockpots, and a “Hang in There, Baby” poster. We hung the poster on our bedroom door and exchanged one of the crockpots for a set of jumper cables for the Datsun. The rest we crammed into the spare bedroom.