I say “faceless,” because unlike Walter Mitty I had no mental image of my “dream girl.” So when I finally did meet her, it was not as if I had seen her before. It was not love at first sight. We liked each other instantly and enjoyed each other’s company, but neither of us was thinking “This is it!” We were dating about once a week, when she was a sophomore at Wellesley and I was a newly commissioned Ensign, soon to be heading overseas.
One day many months later, while off duty aboard ship somewhere in the middle of the Pacific, I
was leaning on a rail, staring at the ocean, and daydreaming about all the girls I had known. Somebody had suggested that I had already met the girl I was going to marry. That intriguing idea had precipitated this extended reflection on all of my past female acquaintances, starting with my earliest puppy loves
and teen age infatuations continuing on through my most recent dates with women I had met on shore leave. In my reverie I kept coming back to Margie, and it suddenly dawned on me that she was the one, she was that girl, the girl of my dreams!
I panicked instantly at the thought that I had missed my opportunity. I was in the middle of nowhere and there was nothing I could do about it. I went to my cabin and wrote Margie a letter, which of course could not be mailed until we reached port, and which, I later learned, she never received.
After being discharged from the Navy, I returned to Princeton to complete my undergraduate course. Margie and I reconnected and soon were deeply in love. Ours was a beautiful love affair, as we both became convinced that we were meant for each other. In March of my senior year I wrote a letter to Margie in which I committed myself to her —heart, mind, and soul. It was the first time I had ever told any girl in writing that I loved her, for to me this was a life-time commitment. I knew that Margie was the one with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life. I was committing myself to a new way of life —no more flings, no more escapades, nor more flirtations.
Margie and I were engaged in June, 1947, after our respective graduations from Princeton and Wellesley, and married the following January. Our love deepened and matured with the years, as we experienced the deaths of our oldest son, our parents, my brother, her older sister, our beloved aunts and uncles, and many other relatives and close friends. Our deepening faith gave our love a theological dimension, which has greatly impacted my coping with the grief and loneliness I am experiencing following her death.
I’ll discuss that in FAITH, LOVE, AND GRIEF - PART THREE.