Monday, August 14, 2017

Almanac. Thoughts on my 46th Wedding Anniversary - Conclusion

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 of 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.

From last week
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 candy 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.

Chapel at Camp Cedar Crest. Viewing site of "Old Yeller."
As cabins filed into the chapel for the movie, Rev. Goble 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.


New Stuff Starts Here

The next morning, the Anaheim Nazarene Church bus pulled into the camp. Leanne and I were talking while we helped our kids get their suitcases and sleeping bags to the right vehicle. At some point, Leanne informed me that her father was driving the Anaheim bus.
The first time I met Gene Stagner, he was stuffing luggage under bus seats. I think we shook hands, but we did not chat. Gene was not a chatter… ever.
Leanne and I exchanged addresses. I sent her a lot of letters during the 18-months we dated while she still lived in Anaheim.

I took her out on our first date later that month.
For our second, we watched the Angels play in The Big A. My most vivid memory is the stentorian voice of a guy behind us.
“Way to go, Jim,” boomed past us often as Jim Fregosi did something mediocre or poorly. Jim had a bad night. Not me. Leanne was sitting next to me.

The first time I held her hand was clambering down the rock to the beach in Doheny. I have this vivid memory of how our fingers intertwined. I was certain it was kismet. After all, how many hands fit perfectly into another person’s hands?
Turns out that it’s pretty much everyone.

I called Leanne Princess after Deja Thoris, the strikingly beautiful Martian princess in Edgar Rice Burrough’s John Carter of Mars novels. Those are still some of my favorite sci-fi novels.

If we were lucky, Leanne and I got to go on a date every other Saturday. I would drive to Anaheim—106 miles. I wrote her a poem about that. I can't find it. Neither can she.

Regardless of when the date started, Leanne had to be home by 11:00. Occasionally, we spent some time in the parking lot of the city park close to her house before I walked her to her door. On one of those evenings, there was a rapping on my window. Startled, I rolled the window down and found myself staring up a one of Anaheim’s finest.
“Hmmm. I know you’re old enough,” he said to me. “But, you’d better take her home now.”
I did.


Oh, we did get to stay up together once—Leanne’s Grad Night at Disneyland.
Grad Night for Anaheim High Class of 1970
Once you go to D'Land dressed like this, when you go and see people in shorts in the summer, you look around and wonder how anyone could dress like that.
I don't remember when our first kiss was, but I suspect it was standing on her front porch with the porch light on waiting for my watch to show 11:00 p.m.

Boy’s Life, the Boy Scout magazine, was a staple of my reading while in Junior High. William Boyd played Hopalong Cassidy on TV. He also wrote a column for the magazine. I cut one of those out and kept it for years.
The subject of the column was dating. The key point I gleaned was “Never say ‘I love you,’ to a girl until you’re ready to marry her.”
I did that.  I suspect that it was very close to the night I asked her to marry me before I said, “I love you” to her.

I could write a lifetime of memories here. Well, at least 48 years worth. I won’t. I’ll close with this.


I was fortunate to meet a young lady who was willing to put up with all my “Chuck”-ness. More than that, she was willing to commit to that for our lifetimes. You are free to disagree, but I’m sure that I am the luckiest man on earth because Leanne Marie is my wife and the mother of my children.

At my sister's wedding in 1976.
Leanne helped make her dress, my shirt, and my matching tie!

Rockin' the Fedoras from the Padres at Petco Park.

If you did disagree about the luckiest man part, you’re wrong.

Happy Anniversary, Leanne.

I love you.

Next Almanac:  Almanac. Musings on One-Lane, Two-Way Tapers

Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor

My website is: www.crdowning.com

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