For those of you who have been following this story, I apologize for taking so long to come back to it. My two oldest sons have taken over my computer. For you who are new, I suggest clicking "My courtship and marriage" on the sidebar to get the beginning of this story.
I came home from my aunt's house 100 per cent positive that my being with Tom was of the Lord, and I was ready to follow Tom's lead in how this "relationship" progressed. I put "relationship" in quotes partly because I don't really like that word (it implies more than friendship, but not necessarily long-term commitment). Also, words like "relationship" and "courtship" were not common buzzwords then. I didn't like calling Tom my "boyfriend" either, since that also did not suggest long-term commitment. So I just didn't bother with labels; instead, I concentrated on making sure I was ready for marriage, in case that's where this led (and I was pretty certain it would).
I started working at the camp, volunteering my time. I was able to be at all the camp services, and fellowship with people I'd known half my life. Since Tom was on vacation at the time, he came to stay at the camp, and we spent a lot of time together. It was at this time, I think, that I learned that Tom and I had played ping-pong the year before. I was shocked. I had absolutely no memory of it at all. They said I beat him soundly, and kept asking if Tom had gotten any practice since then, in order to beat me this year. Even Tom was teasing me about it! Apparently I was so adamantly opposed to the very idea of having anything to do with him that I completely blocked it out of my memory.
We became engaged one night during the second week of July, 1986. We were sitting on a bridge in the little village up from the camp, talking about this and that. Tom was silent for a few minutes, and I asked him what he was thinking. He said he was wondering if it was too premature to ask me to marry him! I told him I was willing, but he would have to ask my dad. We decided not to say anything to anyone until then. Meanwhile, we continued to get to know each other through conversation, studying Ephesians, and watching each other interact with others in different situations.
Tom and I met with my parents the next week, I think. The four of us sat together on the floor of my parents' large bedroom and talked things through. Tom had a lot of questions to answer, and we had details to work out. I think we talked for well over an hour. When we were finished, and had my parents' blessing, we went downstairs to tell my grandmother. She hugged us both, and with tears of happiness in her eyes, she wagged her finger at Tom and said,
"You'd better take good care of her!"
to be continued. . .