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Early Marriage Adventures
6:42 a.m. - 2002-09-08

We got married in August and went on a honeymoon to Oregon. Shortly thereafter, we had to drive across country to get to Indiana for Ward's Officer training camp at Fort Benjamin Harrison. We only got as far as Valmy, Nevada before the car broke down. We had to hike back one mile through the desert to Valmy to call a tow truck. It was quite a distance to the next town so we were lucky to break down so close to a town in the days before cell phones. There was a nice young woman in the little cafe who let us use the phone (they actually had a crank telephone on the wall). While waiting for the truck, we chatted with her. She was from some place in Arizona and had married a serviceman who was from Valmy. When her husband was shipped out, he sent her to his father in Valmy to stay. The father lived in the trailer park in Valmy, which at the time was about all there was to Valmy. She entertained us with tales of the gossipy old biddies of Valmy who were convinced something smutty was going on between her and the father-in-law and called her a "Chippy", a term I had not heard before. Then the tow truck came and we were towed all the way to the next town to get the fuel filter or whatever it was fixed.

When we got to Indianapolis, we found a studio apartment in a big big complex near the army base. We were right on the edge of town, which just stopped suddenly. On one side of the street was the apartment complex, and on the other were cornfields as far as one could see. On the weekends when Ward was off duty we would drive around to see things. We found Tuttles Farm, which sold apples and apple cider. They would give free samples of the cider, and it would be so cold it is a wonder your teeth didn't fall out. One weekend we went to Chicago to visit a friend of Ward's from college, and we went to the big museum there. Another weekend we went to the beautiful town of Vincennes, the first capitol of the Northwest territories, which sits on the edge of a river. We went to a pizza parlor there and that was the first time we saw little bottles of red pepper flakes on the table at a pizza parlor. At Thanksgiving, we drove to Atlanta to meet up with Craig and Sue, who were then living in Jacksonville, Florida, where Craig was in the navy. The plan was to go out to a lovely restaurant for Thanksgiving, but we found out that all the restaurants were closed on that day, and we ended up in a pizza parlor and had pepperoni instead of turkey. The little towns of Indiana were gorgeous, and we especially liked the ones that were county seats, with the pretty town spread around the center square with the county courthouse. We did not have much money, but I had fun going to the library and sewing. We drove back to California on the Southern Route, running into snow in Arizona. That was my first experience with chains on the car and we found out that you cannot drive 55 MPH after you have gotten out of the snow with the chains still on. They break and wrap themselves around the car parts in unpleasant ways.

After we got back, we found an apartment in Sacramento. It was a fairly new 4-plex on F Street near the downtown. I could take a bus to the shops downtown (this predated the mall that is there now) and I could walk down our street to a nice park with a duck pond and Library. I got a job at Arden Fair, which at that time was a small strip mall with a Weinstocks and a Sears or Penneys at either end and some shops in between. I worked at the Weinstocks in the yarn department as their last knitting instructor. In those days the department stores had fabric and yarn departments, even Macy's and Penneys. There was usually an instructor to help you choose the pattern and yarn or to design a custom pattern for you. I was the youngest one ever at Weinstocks. The former instructor was named Dora or something like that and she and I worked together for two weeks before she left to shack up with her man friend in Idaho. She was probably in her fifties at that time.

After I left that job, they eliminated the yarn and fabric departments as a cost cutting measure. I left the job because Ward's hitch in the army was over - he had been stationed at the Sacramento Army Depot - and he had two months of leave pay coming. We realized that we would probably never have another chance like this one - no jobs and plenty of money, no kids or responsibilities - so we decided to take a two month trip around the country by car.

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