Monday, August 7, 2017

Almanac: Thoughts on My 46th Wedding Anniversary

August 7, 1971

I possess a gateway to a unique technology. Known as the 
Latent Energy Accessible Neural Network Experience, 
it is guaranteed to correct any real or perceived error in my memory of a plethora of life events. I am indebted to Gene and Emily Stagner, the co-developers of this technological wonder. This blog series was scanned by L.E.A.N.N.E. Additions, corrections, and deletions—which, of course, you’ll never know about—are included in the same font as this disclaimer.

On Saturday, August 7, 1971, Leanne Marie Stagner, from Anaheim, California married Charles Robert Downing, from Spring Valley, California.
The ceremony was held at 2:00 p.m. at the Anaheim First Church of the Nazarene. A cake, nuts, and "some mints from a place down on Market Street" reception followed in the Fellowship Hall.
Clockwise from Top. Bridesmaids. Leanne and I. Groomsmen. Leanne's Engagement Photo. Bride and Groom with Gene and Emily.
Bridesmaids were (L-R above): Nancy Crosby—friend of the bride; Marla Stagner—sister of the bride; Maid of Honor, Cherry Heydon—longtime friend of the bride; and Barbara Downing—sister of the groom. Carol Berneike--Flower Girl.
Groomsmen were (L-R above): Best Man, Doug Saltus—longtime friend of the groom; Bob Godley—friend of the groom; Bill Scheerer—friend of the groom; and Ben Downing—cousin of the groom. Mark Waller--Ring Bearer.

The above is a summary of the facts of our wedding. Below is our marriage license.

It was HOT in Anaheim on 8/7/71. By the end of the reception, just about everyone was dripping sweat from somewhere on his/her body. A groomsman, who will remain nameless, was more than dripping. That was not uncommon with Bob. Oops! Did I just write his name?

Our honeymoon was one night in “The Stagner Cabin.” It was a small family cabin in the San Bernardino Mountains. The photo below was taken several years later. It wasn’t hot on the day that photo was taken.

Monday, August 9, Leanne went back to work as the cashier at Mesa Porsche-Audi. I went back to my summer job ($1.75/hour) at an auto parts distribution warehouse.
 Leanne and I met in July 1969, when she and I were counselors at Children’s Camp—3rd and 4th graders—at Camp Cedar Crest just outside Running Springs, California. It was the campground that the Southern California District Church of the Nazarene rented for all summer and winter camps.

Counselors for camps had to arrive on Sunday afternoon for “orientation.” After the meeting, it was tradition to go into Running Springs and have strawberry pie as a group. Cherry was also counseling. Leanne sat next to Cherry diagonally across the table from me. I have no recollection of my seatmate.

Cherry pretty much blew me off at that get-together. While I thought Leanne was very pretty, she didn’t say much. I found out later that she rarely does talk at gatherings, although she’s chattier now.

Tuesday and Wednesday nights, half of the counselors were “excused” from cabin duty for a couple of hours for a time of food and silly games. I asked Leanne to pick Tuesday. She chose Wednesday.

Mealtimes were experiences. Camp food was just that. Many kids didn’t want/like it. Counselors were supposed to encourage their campers to eat something.
Cabins lined up outside the mess hall. When the camp director deemed a line of campers met the minimum standard for meal lines, that cabin trudged into the cafeteria-style food service. Once all a counselor’s kids had food, they filled the benches on both sides of a table. I think my cabin might have been close to Leanne’s once or twice in the 15 meals.
You can see what an impact I had on her.

Regardless of her actions, I was bound and determined to spend some time with her. I think we talked during meal lines on the last two days of camp.
Rev. Tom Goble was the camp director. He had been the pastor of my church while I was in high school. He was a wonderful man. He died too young about seven years ago.
Rev Tom Goble at our wedding. Probably bathing at his success as a matchmaker.
On the last night of Children’s Camp, they always showed a Disney movie to the whole group. For counselors, it was a blessing and a curse.
  • Blessing: kids were occupied, or at least corralled.
  • Curse: it was the last night of camp and time meant nothing to the kids.

Chapel at Camp Cedar Crest. Viewing site of "Old Yeller."
As cabins filed into the chapel for the movie, Tom called Leanne and me aside.
“I don’t really need you two in here tonight,” he said. “Why don’t you spend some time together?”
“Okay,” I said.
I don’t remember if Leanne said anything.
For however long Old Yeller is, I did most of the talking. Between stories of my assorted injuries, I did give her my letterman’s jacket to wear in the nighttime chill.

Oooh, what a cliffhanger point. I can feel the tension building.
We'll finish the saga next week.

Next Almanac: Almanac. Thoughts on my 46th Wedding Anniversary - Conclusion

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