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26th AMENDMENT SIGNING | MEMORIES

Early Relationship with Phyllis and Bill

I was a sophomore, and Phyllis was a freshman at the University of Kentucky. I was from a tiny Kentucky town, Somerset, and she lived many miles away near Ashland, at the junction of Kentucky, West Virginia, and Ohio. We were both in the same Baptist Student Union Choir, which I directed. Immediately, she caught my attention, but alas, she was dating my high school rival. At the end of that academic year, we were going on a choir tour. Phyllis’ boyfriend (aka "Rival") was unable to tour with us due to illness (or so he said), and at the end of the tour, I kindly offered to drive Phyllis to Somerset to see him. Although we arrived late at night, my parents were waiting up for us. Phyllis had to stay overnight before seeing "Rival" the next day. I called him early the next morning, and he was not happy that Phyllis had spent time alone with me in a car. He would scarcely even speak to her. When school started the next year, we had our first date on September 26, 1957, we became a “couple” and have been to this day – almost 60 years later!

Wedding departure
After Wedding Departure for Honeymoon - June 28, 1958

After we started dating and it became obvious to me that Phyllis was the one I wanted to spend my life with (I still had to convince her, however) I took her to my parents’ home, so that they could become better acquainted and also, so that I could teach her how to water ski (one of my passions.) I did some demonstrations (showing-off) and it was her turn to get in the water. When we were just about to attempt to pull her up on the skis, she meekly announced that she “was through” and wanted back in the boat. This happened several times during the day and I eventually asked why. She told me that she had recently seen a movie, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and was frightened that the half-human/half-fish “creature” might be lurking in the water and waiting to pull her under. That evening, I related this story to my parents, and we all enjoyed a good laugh.

When Phyllis was going upstairs to her bed, I told her that she should be watchful because “the creature” often would hide in the attic. Only three stairs from the top, she abruptly turned around and marched back down stairs and went directly into my bedroom and got in my bed and told me that I would have to sleep upstairs “with the creature!” In those days there was no air conditioning, and it was very hot so we had all the windows open. It also happened to be a full moon so – I told her to “keep watch for the werewolf.” We all had a good laugh and she closed the door.

The bedroom adjoined my parent's bedroom. Well, I didn’t want to go upstairs near “the creature” so I slipped out of the house, went around to the window just at the head of her bed and placed my fingernails on the screen and scratched from top to bottom of the screen. Phyllis sat bolt upright in the bed and started screaming at the top of her lungs. My parents (in their pajamas) came running into her room to protect her and saw me standing outside the window with a stupid, uncomfortable grin, fingernails on the screen. Needless to say, I never did that again.

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