I want to share a love story with you...It is not only the story of a man and a woman but a God Who loves them both and had a plan.
I am that woman and this is our story. (part of it anyway.)
I graduated at age 17...not a clue what I should do with my life. My once fiance (yes, I had a fiance since I was 16) had broken up with me. The last year had not been a good one.
I am a very social person (as anyone who knows me...knows). There was no social life going on for me. I was working at a Photography shop as a receptionist but it was a lonely time for me.
One day, standing on the door step of our house, was a girl I had known from high school. We had never hung out together so I was surprised to see her. Her words were, "You have to come out to the base with me. There is a guy you need to meet. His name is "Phi."
Having nothing else happening, I climbed into her old station wagon and we headed for Kirtland Air Force base. (We were in Albuquerque, New Mexico). My x boyfriend had always told me to stay away from "the base." Who cared what he thought!!!
At this time, the base was open. My friend knew the guards at the gate by name. The old station wagon made it's way to the barracks.
There were a few guys hanging around and I was introduced to them. Hmmm. "Phi" was not one of them...he was working 3 to 11.
Eleven O clock that night, we drove onto a site at the base. "Phi" got into the car. I couldn't see much of him...his hat was pulled down over his eyes...and his words were few. Little did I know that we were in a "Secure area"...not allowed to be there. We dropped "Phi" off at the barracks. I didn't give him another thought.
Later that week, my friend called. Did I want to go on a double date with her, her boyfriend and "Phi?"
As I told you, my social life was in slow motion, so I said "Yes." I mean , why not? Right?
When "Phi" came to the door, I didn't know it was him. No hat over his eyes this time. Wooo...that's all I will say.
The four of us went bowling and Phi bought me a hamburger.( One of the last guys I went on date with, took me to a movie. Came back with popcorn for him...and nothing for me). No wonder I remember "the hamburger."
After bowling, we walked around Roosevelt Park.
"Iowa"...where was "Iowa?" That is what Phi talked about. The greenness of Iowa.
That was his home state.
Phi and I became an "item." He didn't have a car yet, so a friend, from the base, who had a scooter, would drop him off at my house. Then he would walk back to the base. When he returned to Iowa, for a visit, he drove back an old Chevy. "We had wheels!!!"
I forgot to tell you that Phi was 18 and I had just turned 18 in December.
If you have ever seen "America Graffiti" then you know what Albuquerque was like. All the cars bombing Central Ave. (bombing in those days meant...driving up and down the avenue.)
Phi and I had an argument. The next day I drove my mothers car to the service station...lo and behold...there was my X. He came to the car and told me he had been missing me. He took me to lunch. Cooked me supper. And told me he wanted to get "married!" He was ready to go to the courthouse and get a "marriage license." Now before, I would have melted...but something had changed in me. We were sitting in my X's impala, at a root bear stand, when a Chevy drove through and two brown eyes gave me "The look." Yep, it was "Phi."
My X made a date for the next night. But, the next day, Phi came to the house and, yes, we made up. When my X drove up, I walked down the drive way. He said, "What is he doing here?" nodding at the Chevy. So, evidently he knew about "Phi." I looked him in the eye and told him, "This isn't going to work, too much water has gone under the bridge." He said, "Well, if that's the way you want it?" So long X.
My parents moved out of Albuquerque, there was no way I could make it on my own, with what I was earning. I left Albuquerque and Phi and I broke up.
A few months later, I came back to Albuquerque and began Cosmetology school. Two of my friends from school, both blonds, and I began to go to dances. I was having a lot of fun. One night, at Bob's drive in, parked across from us was "the Chevy!" I ignored it.
Knock, knock. A guy at the window. "Hey, the guys in that car want you to drive Central with them." There was no way I was going, but my blond friend spoke up, "I know a guy in that car...come on." I reluctantly headed for "the Chevy." Phi was behind the wheel. I began to get in the back seat. "Why don't you ride up here with me? he said. Okay.
As we drove around, we began talking. "I want you to quit running around with these blonds, " Phi said.
What? I wasn't having it! "Listen Bud the only way I'm going to quit running around is with a ring on my finger!!!"
Phi and I began seeing each other again, but I still went to the dances with the blonds. One night, I was dancing with a guy from Virginia. Really cute. "This isn't too bad," I was thinking to myself. I looked over and there was ..."Phi!" He had been working 3 to 11 and he came to pick me up..."So long Virginia."
One night, Phi showed up with a small box. It had an engagement ring for me! (I didn't know he had ordered it from a catalogue and was paying $10 a month .)but, it cut my wings..."So long blonds."
Phi got orders for a TWI...temporary duty in Germany for 4 months. I was just finishing Cosmetology school.( I won't go into it, because it was a long story.) My mother and brother picked me up and we headed for Colorado. Eventually, we ended up in Kingman Arizona. (My mother was an alcoholic so I will just say it was a terrible summer.)
One night we were watching Billy Graham on TV.
When he gave the invitation to receive Christ....my heart was pounding so hard. I left the room but this Presence came with me, urging me to accept Christ. I resisted, what would Christ do with me? Would He let me marry Phi? What did it all mean?
I looked up a Methodist ministers name in the phone book. The following Sunday, I was sprinkled in the Methodist church, but, it didn't help. I began to try to read my Bible. I found judgment and demons and things I didn't understand. And then, I began fighting "fear."
I did tell God, that if He didn't want me to marry Phi, then not to let it happen. But, then I got so scared something would happen to Phi that I made a deal with God. (Does God make deals? I thought I would try it.) If He would let Phi come back safe, I would quit smoking. (I smoked a pack and a half a day.) So, that day, with my head swirling, and my mother smoking, I quit.
Unbeknownst to me, Phi really was thinking of staying in Germany. He was in the Air Police and he wanted to work with the German Shepherd dogs on the base. He told me years later, that at that time, he realized he really wanted to marry me, and if he didn't he would always regret it.
In November, my mother drove me to Albuquerque, we picked up Phi's Chevy (he had left it at a friends house) and I drove up the Sandia Mountains to my Grandmothers store.
The night Phi was arriving. I stood on the tarmac watching his plane...everyone got off...no Phi. My feet were backing up. Finally, he came down the stairs helping a drunken guy. I was sooo relieved.
We didn't want to be apart, so we pulled into a Kenny Shoe store parking lot. I slept in the front seat and Phi in the back seat.
Bright light!!! A policeman was shining his flashlight in my face. "You two can't sleep here," he said. Phi got behind the wheel and we drove onto the base and finished sleeping in the barracks parking lot.
The next morning, Phi had to report to the base, so he dropped me off at my friends house. I was watching her television. President Kennedy, had just been shot in Dallas. (Phi had come through Dallas the night before.)
The base closed down and this meant we couldn't get married for four days.
We got our marriage license. I didn't have a dress so I borrowed a white dress from one of the blonds...blue high heels, size 5 1/2...I wear 6 1/2...my feet were killing me...but they were blue and they were borrowed.
On the 26th of November, 1963, Phi and I stood in my grandmothers, ministers house, in the Sandia Mountains and were married. The only people we had at the wedding were our friends Carol, Glenn and their little baby. We did not have a camera so we had no pictures of the wedding...but "We were married!!!"
There is a lot more to the story...and I will write more...Phi was sent to Alaska for a year and I couldn't go. We had been married 5 months when he got his orders, he left a month later, He returned to a baby girl and me.
The reason this is on my mind right now, is because this year, on November 26, 2016...we just celebrated 53 years of marriage.
I did accept Jesus Christ as my Savior when I was 22. When we had our 1st son, the day we dedicated him to The Lord, was the day Phi...Carroll John Phifer...accepted Christ.
God has been so good to us. We ended up in Iowa. Found salvation. Have 3 grown children. 9 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.
It is hard to believe it has been 53 years. I love Phi...Carroll Phifer more now that I ever have. Love grows, it mellows ...loving someone else molds a person. I thank God for 53 years of being married to "Phi." God had a plan for both of us. He is Love.