In August of 2001 I met Carlene Wilson. We met thru a dating web site called Webfriends (which has since been bought out by match.com apparently) I put my ad on their site near the end of May. I sent several messages, I even met one lady, she was nice but not interested in pursuing anything. Still, Carlene was the first person on the service to initiate things by sending me an email.
Many long e mails later we had our first meeting.We hit it off well .
Soon we were spending all of our
free time together. Not only did we get to know each other
quite well but also each others families. Carlenes
mother is elderly and every other weekend Carlene takes care of her.
Sometimes her mom comes here and stays with us. Some weekends that
I'm off work we go up to her moms' house and take care of things around there.
Carlenes mom lives in a rural area that adjoins a national forest.
She has a big lawn and although Carlene loves to garden, she hates to mow the lawn,
so I help with that and various "fix it" type jobs.
We have also been up to WV to visit my mom, sister and brother-in-law. Our second trip to WV was particularly interesting.The first trip we went to Cross Lanes, where my sister and brother in law live. So I did not get to show her the sights where I grew up, in Huntington. The second trip I took her sightseeing in Huntington. She really seemed to enjoy it. I think the things that made the biggest impression on her initially were the Cable Stayed suspension bridge over the Ohio river on the East end and the rose garden at Ritter park. I knew that it would make an impression on her; she loves to garden. She has more gardening tools than anyone else I know who lives in a condo.
I thought the memorial arch might make a good impression, since she had been to Paris and had mentioned L' Arc De Triumph several times already since we met . This seemed perfect to propose to her in a place that had a connection both to her (L' Arc De Triumph) and to me (my home town). She had no idea the arch was there, until we pulled up to it. She thought it was indeed a wonderfully romantic place to have our picnic. I went and picked up sandwiches for our picnic, from the nearby Huntington restaurant known as Cams Ham (1st Street at 8th Avenue) and we proceeded to have a wonderful lunch, listening to a CD I had made on my computer with various romantic songs.
Having finished our meal we neared the end of the CD. I took some pictures of the arch and her, then she went to take a picture of me from the other side of the arch. As she took my picture I saw some girls come out of a house beside the park where Carlene was, they headed towards a car. I asked them if one of them could take our picture together. As Carlene showed the girl how the camera worked, I pulled out the ring and when Carlene got in the picture with me I popped the question. She was totally surprised!
We also had a most wonderful Christmas. My mom and sister came to visit the week before Christmas and Carlenes mom came down the day before they left, so, we had our first Christmas then. Then after working the weekend (including plant shutdown Monday morning). Carlene, her mom, and I headed up to her moms place. Christmas eve for dinner we headed over to Carlenes sister Elizabeths' house that was second Christmas. The next morning we exchanged gifts between Carlene her mom and I. then I assembled her moms glider rocker and the ottoman that goes with it before heading over to the big hall at the church one of her Brothers in law preaches at for the big family dinner.
Carlene is the youngest of six. Her sisters are Beaulah , Wanda , Joyce, Jewel, and Elizabeth. Her oldest sister Beaulah married a few months before Carlene was born, Carlene notes that Spence ( Beaulahs husband ) has been in her family longer than her. As you can imagine, there are quite a few grandchildren between her sisters . At that dinner everyone brings a small gift for someone their sex. Then all the men gather in a circle and draw numbers, when your turn comes it is like "Let's Make A Deal" in that, you can pick one of the presents someone has already opened, or get one of the unopened boxes. They let the person who went first chose at the end if he wants to keep the gift he got, or trade (being first he did not have that option). After the men, the women do it. It was as much fun to watch them as it was to participate in the first go round. Bealah had number one in the womens circle. She opened a gift that was a big button phone. Well, Carlenes' mom had said the night before that she was disappointed that no one had gotten her a big button phone. (Her moms vision is very poor) Elizabeth and Jack were going to get her one for Christmas. So when it got around to her mom, she was not going to get a box off the table. In fact, she would not have to get up at all since she was sitting next to Beaulah. Imagine my surprise, when it was her turn, she stood up as she grabbed the phone, Everyone realized what she was doing as she walked off hugging that phone. NOBODY was going to get that phone away from her! We all laughed and laughed.
We're planning a Spring wedding, maybe near the fountain
that shows in the picture of me on the mower.
We actually ended up waiting until
October of 2002 to get married and getting married that late in the
year went with a wedding indoors, a church, rather than that outdoor plan mentioned above.
Later in the month following our wedding we honeymooned at Walt Disney World.
It was a wonderful trip and it has been a wonderful first year of marriage.
Not to say this year was without it's challenges, due to the amount of work Carlene had
to miss to take care of her mom she lost her job. And later in the year her mom passed away (which
just goes to show how right she was in making her mom her top priority).
Still it's amazing how much joy there has been in our lives, time spent with both our families and
times with just the two of us, despite these sadder events I have just mentioned.
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