I won't go into the details of our lives from then on - only to say I saw Phlip every day except for the two weeks when he went to England for Christmas, but we while he was gone we wrote to each other every day.
We got engaged five months later on May 17th - on the first sunny day after the first full moon after Easter. We had decided that date based on the fact that Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. He gave me a ring, (He bought a loose diamond, took it to his lab and tested it to see if it was a real diamond.) and had it set but made me cut up my credit cards at the same time.
Here is the letter I found among his mother’s things when she died. Note the date on it compared to the letter I wrote to my parents in mid November, 1966.
21st April, 1967
Dear Mum and Dad,
Just so as not to take you too much by surprise, I had better warn you that I will quite likely want to get married - to an American! - Sometime later this year. Nothing definite yet - just a warning. And don’t worry that I shall suddenly announce I have done so either - I will let you know how things progress and you can make plans if and when necessary. Whatever happens, I would hope to live in England eventually so don’t be too upset. I expect you could get used to an American accent in time.
Dear Mum and Dad,
Thank you very much for your letters. I am now properly engaged - I don’t know if you want to publish the fact anywhere. The girl’s name is Barbara Jean
Wyngarden and she lives nearby. In case you should wonder, Wyngarden is originally a Dutch name, not German, and the family moved to America many generations ago. I am sending a not-very-good photo and I will send a better one sometime. Jean teaches dietetics at the School of Nursing at Evanston Hospital.
We would like to get married in the summer. If you want to come over, I can offer to pay your fares, but I had thought that instead of your coming here, we
could come to England after the wedding. Although it would be very nice if you could both be here, and also I would have liked you to meet Jean before we got married, I think it would be silly to keep flying back and forth. So I’m sure the best plan is for us to come and see you. If you would like to hold a wedding party in Oxford or Norfolk, I think that is a very good idea.
In case you want to write to Jean’s parents, I will include their address. They are all Roman Catholics, by the way, so I shall have to get married in an RC
Church, although I don’t intend to become one myself. I think this will only affect you in that you have to sign a form saying I haven’t been married before.
And on July 31, 1967, we were married. Incidentally it was his parents'
anniversary date - but Philip didn't know that - we choose our date
based on the only available flight.
Our wedding was small and simple. I had my sister Judy as bridesmaid, and
Philip had his best friend, Bob Denning (whose father was Lord Denning of some fame in those days). We had a short service with one hymn and the wedding marches that we chose. Philip wanted the Fireworks Music by Handel and the organist messed it up. Then we went to the club that my father belonged to for our reception. There were about 50 people there - mostly relatives and my parents' friends. My mom said we had to invite them because she had spent money on a wedding present for their children.
The service took about ten minutes, with just the vows - no speeches and
only a few prayers. When the priest said, "May your children be like olive branches around your table" I thought Philip was going to laugh out loud so I squeezed his hand tightly.
I should tell you something about our religious differences and how they affected our wedding. One of the stipulations for a mixed marriage is that the non-Catholic should take a course of a number of lessons in what basic tenants of the Catholic Church are. After the first one, Philip said, "I can't do that. I hated how he treated me - like a second class citizen. I won't get married in your church after all."
This was a real problem for me. I was a very good Catholic, and I didn't
want to be married by a Justice of the Peace, or in any other church. But unless he took the lessons, the church wouldn't approve the wedding. So I called the presbytry and asked to speak to another priest who happened to be a Jesuit, known to be broadminded. I told him the whole story, and he said, he would like Philip to come once more to see him, and I could come too - and he would sign the form. So we went, and he was very diplomatic. He said, "there are only two or three things that you really have to believe in, and as you are a member of the Church of England, I'm sure we have those things in common." He signed form and congratulated us.
I made my wedding dress which was long with a train - made out of thin
white cotton which looked like lots of little pleats. I made a similar version in beige for my sister. Philip wore the only suit he owned.
There were only three other Britishers there - his flat-mate John, and a couple who we knew through the University. They and John were doing a
tour of the States, and planned it so Bismarck was on their route.
Our food was very simple too - ham and potato salad and coleslaw with
wedding cake for dessert.
We (and Bob) had a flight back to Chicago at 3, so we left as soon as lunch was over. My parents and Judy and her boyfriend (they were to be married in three weeks time)drove us to the airport. We then would have a night at
Philip's and John's apartment (John was due to leave in September) and our flight to England went via New York with a long lay over, and then to Prestwick. The rest of the wedding group went to a park on the edge of town and had a picnic in the 110° heat. The day after the wedding I had to go into the local shoeshop to pick up some shoes of Philip's which were being mended. "And the name is?" and I'm sure I blushed as I said, "Mrs.Philip Day".