Sunday, January 30, 2011

Our Engagement via Letters...

Our Engagement via letters...miles apart.
Walt left for the second half of his sophomore year at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis on New Year's Day 1961.
It took 35-hours from Wendell, Idaho, going straight through, with a car load who took turns driving while the others could catch some sleep.

They got to St. Louis late afternoon January 2, and he wrote me two letters--one typed, as most of his letters were; one hand-written after we had talked a few minutes on the telephone (doesn't say if he called me or I called him to say he got there okay. I only remember one other time we talked on the phone during the 5 1/2 months before our wedding.) Long-distance in those days was mainly to call about a death in the family. It was considered an extreme expense to call to just "talk on the phone" long distance.
Letters from Walt to Eileen
Jan. 2, 1961 to May 25, 1961
January.....16 letters
February...14 letters
March.......13 letters
April.........13 letters
May.......... 8 letters
Then I think maybe we did call before he got home the week before our wedding on June 14.
"St. Louis, Mo., Jan. 2, 1961
Dear Eileen,
We just got in about 2 hours ago and I got all unpacked and took a shower and shaved, but I'm still not at all satisfied with being here. In fact, I'm very lonesome and I think that you are the main cause. I miss you very much and I wish that we were married and that you were here with me.

This vacation has really been one to remember! It has been the first one since I can remember that I haven't worked when I was home since I got back from my mission. But then, of course, there was something special that took place that happened with a "Miss Eileen Albertson" on Dec. 20 and 21, 1960. Do you know anything about that?

[Remember from the last blog I said we got engaged on Dec. 20. The Dec. 21 Walt refers to is that we went to Twin Falls with his mother and picked out the engagement and wedding rings. --I wasn't too comfortable having to choose with his mother there, but his Dad and Mom were paying for the it was okay. I did choose what I had always wanted: an emerald cut diamond. A very small diamond, but it was beautiful and I loved it.]

...the letter goes on for 3 paragraphs about the good weather and good roads, getting back into the routine of school the next day...
"I'd better close as I want to get this in the mail on our way to eat dinner. Good night, sleep tite, study hard and work hard, and have a good time.
Love from your fiance, /s/ Walt"

...Now you may ask about the letters I wrote to Walt. I wrote him every day but he didn't realize he was supposed to save the letters. No, not one exists today! That's why there's no photos for this blog. And I sent a lot of photos, too. Hmmmm...our kids know it's not a good subject to bring up.

Now we come to the letters after dating from July 8, 1960 to September 4, 1960...having gotten "pinned" on August 6. ("Pinned" = engaged to be engaged when the fellow is too poor to afford an engagement ring. I got his service fraternity pin.)
Walt wrote to "Miss Eileen Albertson, 901 Utah St. Gooding, Idaho until Sept. 24 when my semester started at BYU, then to 362 East 7th North, Provo, Utah:
September - 7 letters(starting with the Sept. 8 letter below)
October - 15 letters
November - 7 letters
December - 5 letters till Dec. 15 when we were heading home for Christmas.
"St. Louis, Mo. - Sept. 8, 1960
Dear Eileen,
You know what? I'm glad that you decided to spoil me a little bit as it was really nice to get your letter this morning. You don't have to worry about your giving me time to miss you in that I missed you all the way back here, especially when I was driving [and Jerry was sleeping].
....7 paragraphs about driving back, moving back into his apartment, the 90-degree, humid weather in St. Louis, drawing blood at the hospital each morning which earned him a meal ticket for the hospital cafeteria, and ready to start classes...then closing with:

I'll just say that I miss you very much and wish that we were together...Love, Walt"

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Engagement - Dec. 20, 1960 to June 14, 1961

Eileen Albertson Engaged to Walter Petersen
-- Times News

"Arnold and Verna Albertson of Gooding, Idaho, announce the engagement of their daughter, Eileen, to Walter Ray Petersen, the son of Ray and Jane Petersen of Wendell, Idaho.

Eileen graduated from Wendell High School in 1957 as the salutatorian and from a 12-month advanced Executive Business Course at Stevens Heneger Business College in June 1958. She worked for one year at First Security Bank in Salt Lake City for the Eccles brothers in the presidential/vice presidential wing, and is currently attending Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

Walter graduated from Wendell High School in 1952, and attended the University of Idaho, receiving a 4.0 the first semester, and 3.9 the second semester, while also being on the freshman basketball team. Boise Jr. College recruited him for the 1953-1954 basketball year, where he graduated as valedictorian from the 2-year Jr. College in the Spring of 1954.

At age 20, (which was the required age for missionaries then) he was called as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the Uruguay/Paraguay Mission. He served from August 1954 to March 1957. He was an Assistant to the President for the final 9 months of his mission.

When he returned, he attended BYU in Provo for 1 quarter, then transferred back to the University of Idaho in Moscow where he was majoring in Civil Engineering. However, during that first semester back, he changed to Pre-med, graduating in 1959. He was accepted to the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri.

Their wedding date has not been decided at this time."

Here's Walt on New Year's Day 1960, looking at my photo, as we were about to be separated as he left for St. Louis to finish his second year of medical school.
I can't get these black and white photos to lighten up, no matter what I try....sorry. This is New Year's Day of 1961 when we would soon be parting till he finished his second year of medical school in St. Louis, and I finished my semester at BYU.

I'm looking at his photo.
We put our engagement announcement in the Times News, (paraphrased at the beginning of this blog) which then the custom was to just put the girl's photo in, then the photo of the couple was put in for the wedding announcement--after the wedding. I like today's custom of having the couple's photo to announce the engagement and forthcoming wedding.

We hadn't decided on the exact date.
I had always had the notion that after you were engaged, you chose some romantic date....but oh no, I soon learned that you had to check out both families' schedules and then fit in a wedding date that worked for both families.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Engaged Dec. 20, 1960

We're engaged - December 20, 1960.
"Have yourself a merry little Christmas, let your cares be light.
"From now on your troubles will be out of sight..." was a happy echo in our hears that magical Christmas of 1960...
Below is that conversation continued on that Sunday in October 1960 when Walt called and said: "Eileen, I want to marry you."
"When?" is what I asked.
"How about Christmastime," Walt said.
"Oh, I don't think I could plan a wedding by Christmas," I said. (Wish I'd realized it could have been done. But that's called hindsight.)
So we got officially engaged when we both got home for Christmas break--he from his 2nd year of med school in St. Louis, and I from explained above--on Dec. 20.
Dec. 20 was Walt's Dad's birthday, so we went to his home to tell them the exciting news.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

How did we meet?

For our Jubilee Year--photos from the past--above: August 1960 - day we became pinned after dating almost 4 weeks - but we had grown up in Wendell, Idaho together. When he was a senior at WHS, I was a 7th grader. He called me "Snicklefritz" when he worked on my grandfather's farm with the other h.s.boys during hay season...he about a sophomore, I in 5th grade. After his mission to Uruguay/Paraguay I had grown up! Summer of 1960 he was working with his carpenter dad between his 1st/2nd year at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. I was home between semesters at BYU.
Then he went back to St. Louis in September and I went back to Provo. The fast Sunday of October he telephoned from St. Louis (that's when a long-distance call was mainly to inform family members that someone had died...or in other words, not for simple chit chat).
"Eileen, I want to marry you," Walt said.
"When?" was my response.
Hope to add a little each Sunday...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A new year has dawned . . .

It's true: "Use it or lose it." I haven't posted a blog for so long, I can barely remember how to do it. I have borrowed this darling New Yeare's clip art from a friend whom I consider to be a master blogger! Janiece Burgess and our joint friend Sayda Call have been an inspiration to me in many things, including the blogging world. I look up to them and admire them very much.

Our family's New Year's Eve and New Year tradition has been hosted the past few years by our oldest daughter, Janie, and her husband Shawn. They have dubbed it the:
All 7 siblings, spouses, and kids, plus Grama 'n Grampa
are invited to arrive December 31 for the gathering supper of stew and cornbread.
Each family who can come volunteers to do a meal, and all bring treats. We had four families this year--29 in all.
This event actually started Christmas Eve when the Brewers...
Jen, the youngest sister, her husband Jerry, and their 5 kids drove from Rochester, Minnesota (earlier than planned to surprise Grama 'n Grampa as we opened the door on Christmas Eve and there they were carolling on our doorstep!)
So Fri, Sat, Sun morning we were blessed to have them with us, (plus Christmas day we had Janie's & Julie's families here)
Sun and Mon Brewers spent with Jerry's parents in Vernal.
then Tuesday, Wed, Thur they had the great adventure of teaching their 4 oldest kids to ski at Targhee (ages 8 down to 3) with the help of the Fisher Family--Janie & Shawn and kids.
To be continued....Walt's telling me it's time for us to do our morning exercises....and I would never want to miss that?
[If you believe I love to exercise, you will believe the moon is made of green cheese...or whatever they used to say.]