Our Engagement

Having completed my second year as a music major at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, I was looking forward to my junior year as director of the Baptist Student Union Choir and as a growing musician in the Department of Music.


There was a magnificent young woman in my choir the previous year who was "unavailable" because she was going with a former high school classmate of mine. I have previously written about an incident that occurred after a choir tour that I organized and directed which is titled, Bill and Phyllis First Date.

BSU Choir
BSU Choir - Phyllis in front row, left

As a result of the event discussed in the previous posting, I was now free to see if Phyllis Ann Robinette might be interested in dating me. I, of course, asked her out and she accepted. Our first date was on September 26, 1957. Neither of us has much memory of what constituted our first date, but we probably went to a "picture show" which is what most young folks did in those days. She seemed to enjoy our time together and from that day forward, I never dated anyone else. We fell madly in love (which has lasted to the present) and decided we should spend the rest of our lives together.

BSU Choir
Bill conducts the BSU Choir (Phyllis is the beauty in the front row - very near Bill)

We each went home for the Thanksgiving break and when we returned to Lexington, we decided to "make it official." I spoke to the Director of the Baptist Student Union and he advised me that he had a close friend in Louisville who was a jeweler and suggested that he might give us a very good deal on an engagement ring. We then made contact with the jeweler and arranged to meet him in Louisville to look at diamonds and settings to purchase.

He graciously showed us many beautiful stones and settings and Phyllis was particularly interested in one specific pairing. Phyllis then whispered that she had a change of mind and asked me to accompany her to our waiting car. She told me that she thought the cost was outrageous and that she had decided that we should just get married and that an engagement ring was completely unnecessary. I told her that I would go back and thank the jeweler but that now was not the right time for us to make that decision. That, of course, was just what I told her.

I returned to the jeweler, purchased the ring, and asked him to mail it to me ASAP. The ring then arrived in the mail only a short time later. We were both to return to our homes for the Christmas Holidays. We met the final evening to bid each other goodby and to say how much we loved one another. While involved in a passionate kiss, I slipped the ring on her finger. She said, "What was that?" I turned on the light in the car and then received one of the most wonderful kisses in my life. Phyllis was pleased. Now we were officially engaged and she had proof on her 4th finger of her left hand! From our first date to our engagement was only about 2½ months.

From our engagement until our marriage (6½ months) we spent a good part of each day together. We married on June 28, 1958 (my 21st birthday.) I think Phyllis chose that date so that I would never forget our anniversary! As of this writing, I have remembered it for 65+ years and counting.

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