Back when Don and I met, long before the internet and its immediate correspondence, we wrote a letter to each other once a week. Later, letters became tagged ‘snail mail’, partly because of the time it took to travel to its destination and partly because, if it lay in a damp letterbox overnight, the snails would eat holes and leave their silvery trails across the envelope.
I was teaching at the time in a small town north of Adelaide, South Australia. Don was in youth ministry in a town in the south-east of the state. We were eight hours car journey apart.
Those letters from Don were anticipated, savoured and prized. In the beginning, I found them difficult to read with the inconsistencies of grammar, the misspellings and the incorrect punctuation. But in those letters, he gave me something much deeper—his heart, and I fell in love. That love gave me away through the desire to redline and cross and offer amendments.
We were to have been married in January after my teaching year had finished and after the busyness of Christmas. However, in the first part of the year, Don began to push for an earlier date. He was at this stage in his first year of Theological College in Adelaide. I like to think it was his ardent desire to be with me that drove him. I wonder if there was another need—to have his papers handed back without red strikethroughs and comments like, “I refuse to mark this rubbish until you correct your spelling and punctuation.” Whatever, I longed to be married and with him, and so I asked my Mum for her thoughts and received the endorsement, “Oh, yes. January is too hot for cuddling anyway.” We were married in August right in time for Don to go into his final term of the year. He became my only pupil.
We worked hard through all five years, going from handwritten pages, to a daisywheel typewriter that had a back button for erasing, to a computer with floppy disk storage and so on until finally, spellcheck lessened my load. Having said that though, my pupil has shown amazing progress and now I suggest very few changes.
Coming up next Adrienne’s posts on “My spouse is going through burnout?”
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