Once a upon a time, there was a girl who was born and raised in St. Joseph, Missouri. When the girl was a sixth-grader, hormonal changes caused her to abandon all consideration of becoming a nun, which she had done since the first grade, and she decided to pursue marriage and a family. One summer, while her family and she went on vacation, they went to the arch in St. Louis. Near the arch was the Old Cathedral where she had prayed to the Blessed Mother for a good future husband. “By the way, Mary, could he have blonde hair and blue eyes?”

She went to college where she was forced to learn a foreign language she knew she would never use. On the first day of class, she sat behind a talkative guy who stopped talking to the fellow next to him in order to smile at the girl who sat behind him.

Throughout the course, the girl, the guy who smiled at her, and the fellow he was talking to would get together to study for tests. But Thanksgiving vacation came, and the guy who smiled would be traveling home which was near…St. Louis! He left instructions for the fellow not to ask the girl out because he was going to when he got back. The fellow promptly asked the girl out.

While in the St. Louis area, the guy who smiled gave his mother his Christmas list which included the girl’s name, but his mother said he would have to get that item on his own. Having a sneaking suspicion that the item might become unavailable, he called the girl at home then he called the fellow only to be told both were out.

The girl didn’t fancy the fellow, but really wished the guy who smiled had asked her out instead.

Finally, he did ask her out, and they spent every day together for a year. He then proposed. She accepted. She loved that he was smart, responsible, and made her laugh.  They married July 30, 1988. Yes, he had blonde hair and blue eyes.

The girl and the guy who smiled then lived in an apartment in Urbandale, Iowa, where he worked for the power company, and she worked for a car dealership. The couple was poor but happy and eventually saved enough money to have a house built in Waukee, Iowa.

Soon after, they had a boy who was born in the spring of 1994. He had very big cheeks which he eventually grew into.  The girl stayed home to take care of the little guy. She took up quilting in 1996 to make a cover for the little guy’s bed once he moved out of his crib. In 1997, the baby boy was going to have a baby sister, and the guy who smiled had a new job working for a major appliance manufacturer.  Commuting from Waukee to Newton every day got old, so they decided to have a new house built closer to his job.

When the oldest was ready for school, the girl and the guy who smiled just couldn’t send him to public school. Luckily, the next best thing was the local Christian school. The girl was involved with various things at the school. The school even asked her to make a quilt to commemorate their old school, and the quilt hung in the new school.

Eventually, though, she got an unrelenting call to home school. So the quilting and other sewing projects were put on hold, for the most part, until the kiddos were in their late teens. When she looks back on those earlier years, she thinks that keeping up with that creative outlet might have preserved her sanity.

One of her babies has flown the nest, and the other is on her way. What to do next? Well, that’s to be determined.


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