Nickel/Free Beer: It'll Get Ya Every Time


26 years ago, I said "I do".  I had only known this young man for 8 1/2 months, but knew the minute I saw him he was going to be mine.  August 31, 1983:  Fraternity Rush.  I was a Lil' Sis, having a good time at the Rush Party, when I see this really cute guy.  He's surrounded by a couple of other girls: one I had known since we were freshman, the other was a new girl on campus.  Those girls were crowding in close to him, not letting anyone else near him.  Like I said:  I knew the minute I saw him he'd be mine, I just wasn't sure how it was going to happen.  The girls had met him at a pizza place that had nickel beer, and they enticed him and his friends to the fraternity house for free beer at the Rush Party.
The next night was a "dry night"-no alcohol allowed, supposedly.  Not openly, anyway.  As expected, it was a pretty boring night...until that same guy walks in with the new girl.  Everybody else is in the tv room, but they're in the trophy room.  (I think that's what it was called...not exactly sure now!)  A couple of friends & I decided it's time to go somewhere more fun...nothing going on at the house.  So, we start calling out that we're going to a place down the road, then we leave.
At the hangout down the road, I run into a friend and am talking to him.  Lo &  behold, in walks the cutie!  Well, me being the good fraternity little sister that I was, I went up and talked to him and invited him to sit with us.  He said he had to go see some friends, but he'd be over in a bit.  Yeah, I know a brush off when I see it.  I had actually kind of forgotten about it, when, a little while later, he comes over to our table and talks to us.  We closed the place down that night, talking and dancing.  We were pretty much inseparable that semester.  We talked and talked and talked.  He ended up pledging the fraternity where I was a little sister.  We had pizza in the dorm lobby while I was on duty as an R.A.
I knew that he wouldn't be back that next semester: he had been called to Army Medic School in Texas.  I saw him before he left, then didn't see him again until March or April.  He never really asked me to marry him: it was more of a "Let's get married" over the phone kind of thing.  I was almost 2 1/2 years older than him.  I thought he was so mature for his age, and he was.  Now I tell him how stupid he was to get married at 19. 
Anyway, when he got back from medic school, he stayed in town for a couple of weeks, then went home.  I finished the semester, graduated, then he came up to my parents' house for a few days.  When he went to ask my dad if he could marry me, my dad was in his workshop with a saw in his hand.  Husband gulped, but he wasn't deterred.  I guess he thought it was all or nothing, to ask Daddy if he could marry his youngest daughter, his baby girl.  My dad agreed.
I know how fortunate I was that my parents were able to pay for my college education.  So, I didn't think it was wise or fair to turn around and ask them to pay for a wedding 13 days after graduation.  We decided to go down to his hometown and get married at the courthouse.  We were going to just wear our jeans, but husband's friend from high school talked us into wearing something decent.   Husband's dad was in Germany (he's retired military) for work, so the only other people there were my MIL, BIL, husband's friend from school, friend's sister & their father.  My MIL insisted that I have a bouquet, so she got me a silk arrangement that husband's friend's sister put in the freezer so they would stay fresh!  For our honeymoon, my MIL gave us a trip to the beach for a couple of days.  We  I bought champagne:  husband wasn't old enough to buy it!
We spent the first summer living with my in-laws, although they weren't there most of the summer.  I worked in a grocery store as a "crashier" (as my dad called it) and husband worked in a factory.  Then, we moved to North Ga. to begin our life.
When I look back, I realize how differently our life has turned out than what we had planned.  Husband was going to finish school, then go into the Army.  I was going to get to live in different places all over the world, and visit places I'd just dreamed about.  Well, life happens, and it didn't happen.  Who knows:  if we had done that, we wouldn't be the people we are today.  We've had some rough spots (what marriage hasn't?), but we've chosen to work it out and honor the vows that we said to each other 26 years ago, in a courthouse in South Alabama.  I love this husband of mine with all my heart; I can't imagine spending my life with anyone but him.
For my Catholic friends:  we did get our marriage blessed in the Church in 1986.  My parents were our witnesses; I wouldn't have had it any other way.
Oh, wait...I can hear people out in Blogland asking, "What about pictures?"  Funny you should ask.  When we got married, my BIL was 14 (I think).  For some really dumb  strange reason, we let him be in charge of the camera.  I absolutely love my BIL, but he was quite the brat when he was a teenager.  (You can see this coming, right?  Remember, this is before digital cameras, although I have a feeling the pictures would've been deleted before we got to download them!)  If I'm not mistaken, the door to the film was opened at some point, completely ruining the pictures.  Therefore, I have no pictures from the day I got married.  However, I do have a few pictures to share:
My bouquet:  My MIL had it put into a shadow box for me:
A picture of husband & me then:
And now (well, 1 year ago!):

We've had 26 good years; here's to many, many more!


  1. Oh Mary that was the sweetest story I have ever read. I am sitting her with tears....we have so much in common....both involved with schools...both connected to Knoxville....both married to men 2-3 years younger than we are...both living a wonderful life....not exactly the one we had pictured....and loving it. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

  2. What a lovely story. Well done both of you. Marriage does take work and a lasting one means much compromise. God Bless you.

  3. Happy Anniversary! Love your story. The ones that don't happen as expected are always the best! Cheers!

  4. Ha-you're a cougar : )

    I think its good to plan and dream a life but its also good that it doesn't always go as we planned.

    Nickel beer-so glad they don't do that anymore now that I'm on the parenting end of life.

    Happy Anniversary! Wishing you many more!

  5. That's so sweet. We've been married 26 years too and also did not have a big wedding. I think there's way too much emphasis placed on weddings--not marriages.

  6. Thanks for sharing your sweet story. Seems like someone upstairs had a hand in you two getting together. Congratulations on so many years together and still being so much in love.

  7. My favorite part:

    I bought champagne: husband wasn't old enough to buy it!


  8. I love stories like this! Happy Anniversary!! And many, many more!

  9. What a sweet story!!! We just never know where we are heading when we start out do we? Fate Baby!!!
    Happy anniversary to you both.

  10. Congratulations! That was just beautiful!

  11. I looove to read stories of how husbands and wives met and then get married AND your was wonderful, Mary! Congratulations and yes, it does take work and committment but it is so worth it especially in these later years!
    Thanks so much for sharing your memories with us!!! :-)

  12. Happy Anniversary!

    I remember shortly after you got married, he took me to Pigeon Forge and we went to the Fly Away place. When they asked if we were related (because at 16 I was too young to sign the release form myself), I nonchalantly said, he's my brother-in-law. He did a double take and looked at me, then said later that was the first time he'd been referred to as an in-law. I of course didn't think any thing of it since I'd had brothers-in-law (and a sister-in-law) since I was, what, 4 years old? :)

    I liked him right away. And not just because he took me to Fly Away (and a water slide place too)!

  13. Happy Anniversary! I never knew the whole story...thanks for sharing.

  14. I love hearing the "how we met and got married" stories!
    Happy Belated Anniversary!


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