After we married, Thanksgiving Day 1972, we moved into our small upstairs apartment in Mechanicsburg, Ohio. Grandpa Wilson would have said that is where we "took up housekeeping". Andy had been living there for a short time with Dusty, the farm cat, who climbed into his car while he was dropping me at my parents after a date. (And no, we did not live together before the wedding. Entirely too scandalous and would have put Mom and Dad right over the edge.) He was attending Urbana College and needed 6 more quarters to finish his education degree because as he was always quick to add, "I'm much younger than Carol!" He left LMU when I graduated in 1972 and followed me back to Ohio.
Our apartment rent was $75 dollars a month and Andy had promised to take care of any maintenance issues that might arise in our apartment or our neighboring tenant. A sweet 80+ year old lady who evidently thought Magnum PI was a reality show as she would tearfully recount that Magnum (Tom Selleck) had nearly died on the most recent episode. She was just one of the many colorful characters we met in this "Mayberry"-like town. Our landlady was the sister of William B. Saxbe. He was a US Senator and served as Attorney General for Presidents Nixon and Ford and was nearly always the Grand Marshall of any event in town.
|Our apartment was upstairs in the back|
George Kratky was the dry cleaner and his business sat next to our building. He had a postcard collection numbering in the thousands that he kept in boxes under his counter. Any time someone in town would travel they would send George a postcard and he kept them all. Andy would split his time between school, George and Don the barber who owned Don's Barbershop. A wealth of information could be found at either of these establishments and Andy was there to eagerly glean as much as humanly possible. That is how he scored a job at the local gun club that sat just outside of town.
|George in front of his Dry Cleaning shop and me holding our God-son "little' Joey|
Andy would spend weekdays, after classes, at the Gun Club pulling out poison ivy, pruning trees and doing odd jobs on the property. We had permission to camp on the property and we took full advantage spending many weekends camping, fishing and generally getting to know each other as a married couple. I still had not landed a teaching job so I found work at Sears Distribution Center in Columbus before taking a closer job at Ranco near Plain City testing whirlpool thermostats.
|Our first new car, a Chevy Nova, with a camping boot on back. Andy negotiated that into the deal! This was the last new car we could afford until 20 years later.|
I am sure we were unaware that our lives were about to be reshaped and redefined by these recent events, a new job and finishing college. Because we were so young, we had no idea that we were headed down a road that would change our lives forever. In a very good way.
|Andy with his Dad and Mom|
Urbana College Graduation 1974
As I look back on these early years, I don't really remember that there was any particular path that we were wanting to take. We were happy beyond our wildest dreams and somehow knew that as long as we had each other, everything would fall into place. We knew that we wanted to teach and someday have children. Where and when, we could not yet say but we were preparing for that conclusion. We saved every penny and never bought anything unless we had the cash to pay for it, didn't even have a credit card. We recycled and reused before it was even a "thing". Andy learned to eat Hamburger Helper and casseroles while I learned to make meals on a $10 weekly budget or less. And somehow life seemed simpler. I'm not sure why we insist on making things so complicated?
|Our first Christmas with Dusty, our cat, in front of our handmade cardboard fireplace.|
I often wonder how different our lives would have been had we taken an apartment somewhere else. But only briefly because the only thing I know for certain is that I am ever so grateful for that $75 apartment next to the Dry Cleaners in Mechanicsburg, Ohio. It made all the difference!