Saturday, March 21, 2015

Honeymoon High Jinks

Clara Jean Garrison became Mrs. James V. Hatch on September 14, 1956, in the Minister’s Parsonage of Culdee Presbyterian Church. She wore a beautiful dress, hat and white gloves and Dad was decked out in a very sharp looking suit. Both sets of parents were in attendance along with numerous other family members. After the wedding, they set out for their honeymoon to the mountains in western North Carolina, ready to start their life together.
Wedding Day, September 1956 

After they had left, Clara Jean’s brother Fred realized he had their luggage in his car. He realized it too late, however, to catch the happy couple, as they were already way down the road. He was in a state of panic that the newlyweds would not have the stuff they needed for their trip. He tried everything to get the bags to my parents, even contacting the local law enforcement, but to no avail. No worries though. Dad said it was not a problem because they had all they really needed for their honeymoon.

They toured the mountains, a Cherokee Indian Reservation and went to visit one of Clara Jean’s sisters, during their time away. Knowing that dad would have to leave when they got home, probably made the trip seem shorter than ever.

Several days into the honeymoon they were driving along and there was this horrible odor emanating throughout the car. They had noticed it a little along the way but now it had gotten much more pungent. Dad is looking at mom and mom is looking at dad, wondering what or who was making the smell. Awkward! They finally figured it out that it wasn’t either of them, so they pulled off the road and went through the car and discovered an open can of sardines under the rug, beneath one of the seats. One of their relatives or friends had placed it there as a joke. It took a while to get the odor out but the thought of it made them laugh whenever it came up, even years later.

After they returned home, dad headed to South Dakota and mom stayed in North Carolina to finish school. At Christmas of that year, she headed up to join him in the frigid Rapid City weather. They began their life together a long way from North Carolina, a long way from home, a long way from family. 

A little over a year later, the first of their three children arrived in this world. Me! My mom had a very hard pregnancy. She was sick for many months and lost a lot of weight, which she couldn't afford to lose. I was born on January 6, 1958 at St. John’s Hospital, there in Rapid City. Years later, the hospital was converted into apartments. Our family went through Rapid City when I was 16 to see the town, Mount Rushmore and the hospital I was born in.

I asked my dad about the day I was born and he said, “We did not live far from the hospital. We had made several dry runs to time it, see how long it took, etc. The night your mom's water broke, we got up, got dressed, got her bag, got in the car and drove right past the hospital…we laughed about that for years. In those days you could not go in the room for delivery… I got word of your birth then took off to see you.”

Me standing in front of the hospital I was born in.
Our little family lived in an apartment, which used to be part of a local motel. It sat on the outskirts of town, on the road to the airport. It is still there today. I have pictures from back then with my mom and I, and outside of the change in color, it looks very much the same.

I don’t remember anything about our stay in South Dakota because I was still very little and we weren’t there long after I was born. As was typical of Air Force families at that time, we were off to a new base long before we had the chance to put down too many roots. However, I do know that while there, Rev. Rew Walz baptized me at First Presbyterian Church. Right after I was born he typed me a note and placed it inside a tiny white bible that he gave me. I still have both to this day.

It wasn’t long and we moved to Goldsboro, North Carolina. My dad was transferred to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and on April 15, 1959, my brother Kevin came into this world. We are 15 months apart in age. He was my best friend and what one didn’t think of, the other did. We had many exciting adventures as kids, much to my parent’s chagrin. I’ll share more on our escapades later. 

This was a great place to go after being all the way out in South Dakota. Mom and dad were close to home again. Our house was on Luftberry Drive and when I went looking for that address on Google Earth, it looks like the houses of that time have been torn down and new ones constructed. The house was a Capehart home, which was typical military housing on several of the bases we lived on. If any of them are still standing, they are very old.

Kevin, too, knew little of his birthplace, as we were off to Elmendorf AFB, Anchorage, Alaska, long before he was able to remember Goldsboro. Moving to Alaska would once again take us a long way from Pinehurst/Southern Pines, North Carolina and to another very cold climate! Would we like it?

Terri's Tidbit for Today:  I really like my Amazon Prime!  With the Prime membership, you can get free two day shipping (I used an option where you could take a longer delivery time, still free, and got a $1.00 credit towards a book), you get great music you can listen to, you can watch lots of instant videos and I learned today that if you buy something from Amazon and they drop the price within a week, you can contact them and depending on what you bought, they may credit you the difference.  Because I have family all over the US, I really benefit from the free shipping but I love all the other features too.  

1 comment:

Jeff said...

When I saw that photo of your parents wedding, I thought, "that looks familiar" as my parents were married in the same living room two years earlier. And, when I saw your teenage photo in SD, I knew it was you from our teenage years. Thanks for sharing!

Btw, do you remember the POW bracelets--I got one from you, back during the Vietnam War and wore it faithfully until it broke--a few months before they were released. But I remember seeing the guy's name toward the top of the list of those released.