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26th AMENDMENT SIGNING | MEMORIES

Phyllis and Bill First Date

I was a sophomore, and Phyllis was a freshman at the University of Kentucky. I was from a small Kentucky town, Somerset, and she lived three hours away near Ashland, at the junction of Kentucky, West Virginia, and Ohio. We were both in the same Student 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 took the choir on a tour of Kentucky. Phyllis’ boyfriend (aka "Rival") was unable to tour with us "due to illness" and towards the end of the tour, I generously offered to drive Phyllis to Somerset to see him. Although we arrived late in the evening, 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 told him that I had a surprise for him and handed the phone to Phyllis. He was furiously jealous that Phyllis would drive with me to Somerset - even to see him. When he came to the Ramsey house to pick her up he would scarcely even speak to her and, according to Phyllis, he treated her "very badly."

Phyllis with "Rival"
Phyllis with "Rival"
somewhat blurred by our memories - (and by Photoshop)

Throughout the summer there had been no contact between Phyllis and "Rival" - either by phone or mail. When school started the next year, "Rival" came to the dorm to see Phyllis and acted as if nothing had happened. Apparently, he expected to pick up where he left off. For Phyllis, however, it was over and she was ready for a new relationship - with ME!!!

We had our first date on September 26, 1957. We immediately became a "couple" and have remained so until this day – more than 60 years later! After we started dating it became obvious to me that Phyllis was the one I wanted to spend my life with. (I still had to convince her, however.) Once again, I drove her to my parents’ home so that they could become better acquainted and also 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 the movie, Creature from the Black Lagoon, and was frightened that the half-human/half-fish "creature" might be lurking below her in the water waiting to pull her under. That evening, we related this story to my parents, and we all enjoyed a good laugh.

Creature From the Black Lagoon
Creature from the Black Lagoon

When Phyllis was going upstairs to her bed, I jokingly told her that she should be watchful because "the creature" often would hide in our attic. Only three stairs from the top, she abruptly turned around and marched back down the stairs and went directly into my bedroom, 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.

Werewolf
Lon Chaney as The Werewolf

My bedroom (which Phyllis had occupied) 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 window screen and scratched from top to bottom of the screen. Phyllis sat bolt upright in the bed and started screaming so loudly she could be heard for miles. My pajama-clad parents came rushing into her room to see what was wrong and saw me standing outside the window with a stupid, silly, guilty grin, fingernails on the screen. Needless to say, I never did that again.

On a more positive note, to my knowledge, Phyllis never had another encounter with either the Creature or Werewolf! Still, in view of this experience, it is difficult to believe that she agreed to marry me - 60+ years ago?

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

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