Tuesday, May 31, 2005
On top of the world!
What fun it was to go out to dinner to celebrate 18 years of marriage! We wanted to go for a quick dinner so picked our favorite, more Mexican! Nothing more fun than sharing a plate of nachos while we laughed and reminisced about how quickly the years have flown by.
For those of you who didn't know us then, here's the love story...We met on my 16th birthday, September 8, 1981, the first day of school. We were in the same English class, and the way the room was set up three rows of chairs faced another three rows of chairs. Alan was front & center on one side, and I was on the other. So there we sat, face to face. We had to say something about ourselves, so I said, "I wasn't allowed to date until I was 16, and guess what, today's my 16th birthday!" (Nothing like a little free advertising!)
A few days later who should walk into my Sunday School class but the man himself! He had decided to go to church at a different place than his parents so came to my church, not knowing the future love of his life went there! Believe it or not, just a week later, I pointed him out to my mom and said, "That's Alan Raush. He's the one I want to marry!" There was just something about him that even at sixteen years old, I knew he had all the qualities I was looking for...he loved the Lord, came from a great family, was drop dead gorgeous, had a great sense of humor, and was so easy to talk to. I was gone!
So suddenly Sunday School and youth group activities became THE PLACE to be, and our first date was on November 16, 1981. The following July Alan left for the US Merchant Marine Academy, on Long Island, while I went back for my senior year of high school. The following year I started at Penn State (with parents that wear blue wigs to every Penn State football game, did I really have any choice?!)
Throughout college we had our ups & downs, but the downs never lasted too long. Alan always told me he'd never talk about marriage until he was proposing, so I never knew for sure we'd get married. My senior year as an Accounting major at Penn State, Alan had already graduated and was working in South Carolina at the Charleston Naval Shipyard. I was interviewing for jobs, and got a really good offer in Stamford, Connecticut. (Unbeknownst to me, Alan had asked my parents at Thanksgiving if he could marry me.) So at Christmastime they had planned to take us to the Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, AZ where Penn State was playing Miami for the National Championship. I had to give Arthur Young & Co. (in Stamford) a final answer by January 5th whether I would accept their offer. I told them I thought I'd get a diamond for Christmas and if not, I'd work for them. So on Christmas Eve, I met Alan & his roommate Joe Moran along 95N to pick Alan up on Joe's way home to New York. A funny thing is my parents didn't like me driving down through Baltimore on my own so late at night so they took a cardboard "stand-up" lifesize Joe Paterno and bent him at the waist to sit in the seat beside me so it looked like two people in the car!
Anyway, it's midnight, Christmas morning, and I'm picking Alan up with cars whizzing by on I-95, and he says, "Oh, I can't really hide your Christmas gift so here it is...a microwave. I knew you'd be getting an apartment and thought you could use one." Speechless. I was SO mad. Then, it dawned on me...surely the ring was hidden inside the microwave! So on Christmas morning with my whole family gathered around I made a huge production of opening the microwave and found, uh...a microwave. Nothing more. Now this was devastation. I told my parents, please, please, do NOT take him to the Fiesta Bowl, he's a freeloader and I know he's going to break up with me as soon as we get back from the trip!But they took the freeloader along anyway, and one morning out there we were going on a bus trip to the Grand Canyon. We got to the bus and realized I forgot to put my contacts in. So I ran a quarter mile back to the room to get my contacts, and when I got back to the bus they were boarding. Where were the tickets? Oh no, I'd left them in the room when I went back for my contacts! So another quarter mile run, and I get back and the whole way to the Grand Canyon Alan barely spoke to me. So I spoke to him, you bet I did! Told him he was lower than low and that I could read his mind and knew that he had decided to break up with me awhile ago but couldn't pass up a free trip to Arizona. He still was so quiet.
Finally we got to the Grand Canyon and I wanted to run out and see the vista with the masses, but he pulled me to the side and said he wanted to talk to me. Oh no, I was sure he was going to break up with me here and now. Instead, he took my hands in his, got down on one knee and asked me to be his bride. ooh la la! Well whaddaya think I said????????????? YES, YES, YES! And even now after 23 years of being in love with him (give or take a day or two here and there!), I still look at him and say YES, YES, YES! So on our anniversary I just want to say to him, "Thanks, Alan, for choosing me!" And thanks be to God, above all, for blessing us with a love that goes on and on.