The third generation mustang in its later years. This car was similar in size to the original mustang from the mid sixties.
This car was a rental we drove on our honeymoon trip in Hawaii. We knew a convertible would be the way to go for seeing such a strikingly beautiful place.
It was great fun to cruise around the island with the top down!
Our wedding story unfolds.
Our First Kiss!
Standing in our church fellowship hall with all of our friends and family around the wedding shower was almost over and everyone energetically shouted “kiss, kiss” over and over. Vileen and I had been in different cities for a year and a half with only short visits in between. We had not kissed each other so this moment seemed like a strange one to engage in our first kiss, but here we go.
Later, Vileen told me that she appreciated that we had not engaged in kissing prior to that time. She said that if we had begun physical affection before that, the long distance and time between would have been much harder. So, our relationship was now being cemented by the invitations, the shower, and – the kiss.
I had found an apartment that seemed suitable for us to begin our life together. There was a lady who was coming into the Love In Action program in January of 1989 and needed a temporary place to live until that time. It seemed to be an answer to prayer to provide Vileen a roommate and some help with the rent so she moved in when Vileen did, in September 1988. Their relationship went well and it proved to be a good thing for them both.
During the last months before our wedding we did a lot of talking. Our relationship was very comfortable and we discovered more about ourselves and each other. December came fast and it was time to go to Omaha for our wedding which would take place on the tenth.
Since we understood the slim finances of all of our wedding party and our pastor, we decided it would be best to provide the dresses and tuxedos rather than to burden them with the cost. Our maid of honor was Debbie Smith, which happened to be one of the first girls I met in our singles ministry. She later became good friends with Vileen. My best man was Clark Peterson, who was a great friend of mine that spent many hours with me talking through my life and his.
We asked Dennis Franck to marry us. It seemed only right since he was our pastor when each of us came through our previous lives into the singles ministry in Omaha. Dennis knew us through and through, down to the nitty gritty details of our lives.
Several men from our ministry in California had planned on coming to the wedding which was a tremendous blessing for me to have their support and encouragement. As we all got to the airport, my mind was certainly not on the details. All of our luggage was unloaded onto the curb. We were all trying to get into the ticket lines and Vileen turned around and said, “where is my dress?” I had left it on the curb! Thankfully, it was still there when I ran outside to get it. We have joked about that moment many times through the years.
When we reached Omaha, I took all of our friends on a tour of our home town. We saw all of the highlights including where I was raised and went to school. I love to tour people around things I am familiar with, so they got the whole story.
Our wedding was really spectacular. I didn’t want to wait in some room away from the people so I was in the foyer to greet all of our guests and put corsages on the special people in our lives. After everyone was seated, I remember standing there waiting for it all to unfold with tears in my eyes. I could hardly believe I was there and that all of our family and friends had gathered to celebrate with us.
It was December so we utilized the decorations that were already in place for the church Christmas program. The sanctuary was filled with poinsettias and red and white all through the place. We arranged for a simple cake and punch reception to keep our costs down.
But the simplicity didn’t hamper the joy, laughter, and meaningful comments from our guests. Jill Frank, our pastor’s wife, donned the infamous “nose and glasses” to read a comical poem that symbolized her memories of our budding relationship. She wrote it on the “barf” bags she found in the seatback pockets. It was hilarious and memorable. We still have the bags she wrote on. I am amazed to this day that Jill knew us both and our relationship so well.
This is the story of John and Vileen
‘Tis found to be a wacky if you know what I mean.
They met on a trip with some folks out of FOCAS,
when John prayed over a car – this was no hocus pocus.
The car belonged to a girl named Dawna
When urged to keep going the car said “I’m not gonna”.
When John’s prayer flowed like water from a cup
Lo and behold the car started up!
With mouth wide open Vileen almost lost her lunch
And said to herself “how’d I get with this bunch?”
As time quickly passed and the Lord had His way,
John and Vi discovered Cupid’s arrow had hit them both that day.
In ‘86 on Memorial Day they had their first date planned in John’s special way.
They rode “Ollie the Trolley” in Omaha town
From that day forth they went round and round.
Alysha and Amanda were always there too
They wanted to see what their dad would do.
Their romance began on that glorious day
John showed Vi what he thought by moving away.
A typical FOCAS man showed what he intends
By saying to Vi, I just want to be friends.
But alas and alak, he began to miss her;
And wished that he could hug and kiss her.
So they wrote and they called and they visited too
And they prayed to their God “Oh, what should we do?”
Watching the sunset John proposed to his love
And Vi exclaimed loudly “Praise God from above!”
He gave her a diamond dear to her heart
And two weeks later the ring fell apart.
‘Twas two days before the wedding at dawn’s early light
No wait just a minute I believe it was still night.
From across the land in the area known as “Bay”
Came 10 crazy travelers, yes 10 in one day.
They brought with them luggage, both boxes and bags.
Now Vi, don’t you nag, just because your fiancé had abandoned your dress;
Left outside the terminal, come on John, confess.
Then came the rehearsal when arose such a clatter
In Amanda, Alysha, Dan, what’s the matter?
Michael, Debbie, Clark, Vileen, come walk this way.
John’s here and he’s waiting, it’s now the big day!
This poem you asked for so as you hear it please don’t gag;
But if you do, I brought you some continental barf bags!
A Famous Photographer
Jeremy Marks, a good friend of mine from London, came to our wedding and agreed to take our pictures. Jeremy was the official St. Paul’s Cathedral photographer for the Royal Wedding of Charles and Diana. It was great fun to have him with us much less to have something to talk about later concerning the photographer!
Afterward, we spent our first night in a local hotel near the airport since we were leaving bright and early the next morning we didn’t want a fancy place. We were headed off to Hawaii! The hotel that came with the gifted package was the Hyatt Regency Waikoloa on the Big Island of Hawaii. It was a brand new hotel with the best of amenities.
When we arrived we could hardly believe how wonderful our honeymoon was going to be. The hotel had a boat channel that took us to our room. There were hammocks hanging around the property underneath the palm trees. The swimming pool was not only one, but several places of cool enjoyment.
We planned our days so we could see everything there was to see. Since our hotel was on the lava rock side of the island, there wasn’t a ocean beach right near us. This meant we would take one of our days to spend at the beach. The others were planned so we could see the black sand, island forests, rainy Hilo, and volcanoes.
We got up each morning, walked down the beach side path to breakfast and got ready for our daily tours. By the end of the week it seemed we hadn’t rested at all! Our last day was our beach day hoping for a little rest there but when we got up to go, it was raining and continued to rain all day. So much for the beach in Hawaii.
We loved being there, seeing the sights, driving all around in our little convertible and all of the luxury of Hawaii but, emotionally, our honeymoon felt like the ocean wave we seemed to miss on our beach tour.
I began to experience some depression in the reality that my life was going to change dramatically. I had spent two years in a community that was a wonderful experience. I loved the variety of people, the conversations and the camaraderie of friends. I realized that had come to and end and began to grieve the loss of what I had enjoyed so much.
Neither Vileen nor I were prepared for what we were going to experience. All of our conversations, prayer and counsel had not prepared us for the emotional roller coaster that rushed into our relationship. Our struggles began on our honeymoon and followed us back to San Rafael in our new married life.