Friday, 31 May 2013

18 years and counting {my courtship story....}

Today marks a special day on my life's calendar.  It's the 31st of May, in case you hadn't taken note.

On the 31st of May, 1995, my relationship with Robert began.

Officially, that is.

The story begins properly a little less than 2 years before, when I met Robert for the first time.  The meeting was brief, and I was only 15.  The next year, at the same Holiday Bible Conference, I was sitting in the dining room, on the first evening, with my friend.  We had all started dinner, and we were facing the door that brought people into the dining room.  We had been, shall we say, PERUSING the male attendants as they entered the doors.  And, when Robert eyes were drawn to this handsome young man, with the glinting blue eyes.  I spoke to him after the meal, convinced that he had been responsible for some pranks in my room the year before.  He gave me the big, innocent eyes look, and claimed it wasn't him.  Obviously, I believed him - with his lovely eyes, how could I not?!? (he still claims innocence, by the way....)

That evening, after the service, we happened to "bump into" Robert and his brother, Edward.  We got talking, and talking, and talking.  We found out we had a lot of common interests, and chatted into the wee small hours.  We spent a lot of free time together, and I was also given the job of making sure they got up for the prayer meeting before 7.30am every morning.  After late nights of the young people chatting, Robert and Edward didn't "do" mornings.  A lot of knocking on the door was required to waken those lads up!! By the end of the week I was realising I wanted to get to know this young man better - he loved the Lord, and we had a lot in common.  We had even talked about marriage and children, in a very general sense, in our conversations.  We were like-minded in so many ways.  The thing is, he wasn't very forward.  And I was.  I waited and waited for him to suggest exchanging addresses and keeping in touch, but it wasn't happening.  In the end, I did the very "non-ladylike" thing, and gave my friend my address to pass onto him.  I figured that if he was interested in keeping in touch, I had left the "ball in his court" for him to pursue me!

You see, what I haven't told you is this - I lived in Scotland, and he lived over 400 miles away, in South east England!!! this was in the days of snail mail.  No internet.  No IM.  No Skype.  No mobile phones for every teenager.  we didn't even use the phone a lot!!! Different times, my friends...different times!

So, we all left the conference on the Friday.  Robert went back home, and I went with my friend to visit her brother and sister-in-law in Worcestershire. I spent the whole time wondering if I would hear from him.  My memory is a little sketchy on the next detail.  I can't remember quite when I got *THE* letter from Robert.  It may have been waiting for me when I got back, but it was certainly very quick!! I was sooo relieved. I had got a bit anxious that the interest in getting to know one another better may have been one-sided.  It wasn't!

From then ensued our "writing courtship". We wrote to each other at least once a week - and we're talking 4-6 sides of A4! Robert always sent in a blue envelope, and I would eagerly await the arrival of that letter, with his distinct, neat hand-writing. The letters began quite newsy, with a tame "from Robert", or "from Caroline" at the end. As we got to know each other better, and started to feel a little more, they would get more and more "lovey"!   They ended up being these long, adjective/adverb-laden endings, that expressed our deepening feelings for each other.

The postman had got used to me accosting him, on my way to the train station in the mornings to get to school, asking if he had a letter for me!! He used to smile, and have it ready, if there was one for me!

Then, Valentine's day started to loom.  I toyed with the whole "should I send a card, or shouldn't I".  In the end, I did.  Soon after, however, the letters from Robert stopped.  I wondered if my endings had contained too many adjective,s or had the Valentine's card scared him off.  maybe he was more of a friend who was a boy?!?  Had I got it so wrong?

Fast forward quite a few weeks, when a PINK envelope arrived.  The handwriting appeared to be Robert's, but it seemed he had switched envelope colours. I was over-analysing the change, before I had even taken the letter to my room, to open it and get excited over every word I would read, in the privacy of my own room!!  To my surprise, the letter opened with not only the address in the header, but a PHONE NUMBER!  I had been putting my number in my letters for a while, but had waited in vain for a phone call! NOW I HAD HIS!!!  Furthermore, as I read, the letter was NOT from Robert, but from his MUM!!!  There writing is nearly identical, because Robert's used to be so messy that his MUM taught him to write neatly, and their writing is, even now, VERY similar!  She explained that Robert had tripped up and broken his scaphoid, and his arm was in plaster and he could not write!! He was desperate for me to know, in case I thought he had abandoned our friendship! As if I had worried such a thing..... *aherm*  He had also had shingles, and had generally been having a rough time of it.

I was thrilled to hear all was well.

I was MORE thrilled that I now had his PHONE number!!!

I'm now going to do something TERRIBLE....

I am going to tell you that I need to come back to this story.  I wanted to publish it today, on our 18 year anniversary, but you're going to have to wait until another day to hear the ending!!  It's evening here, and I have some jobs I MUST do before bed, so the end is yet to come!

To be continued.......


  1. No WAY, Caroline ... you can't do that to us!!!

    Oh, btw - *this* made me laugh:

    "He had also had shingles, and had generally been having a rough time of it.

    I was thrilled to hear all was well."

    LOL .... Clearly his feelings for you were as they ought to be so ALL WAS WELL, despite an arm in plaster and having shingles. !!!

  2. Love it! My husband and I had the small mail courtship as well, though luckily we also had aol and cheap phone cards...

  3. NOOO!!!!!! I am not blessed with a wealth of patience!

  4. I was chuckling at the same thing Anne noticed....shingles, arm in plaster...and you were glad to hear that all was well!....So true, even so!
    Looking forward to the 'rest of the story'!

  5. Okay, it's been quite a few days! Back to the story please.