By the end of my first school year, I knew I was in loved and wanted to marry Richard. I even went to the jeweler in Painted Post. Richard and I had been in there before for other reasons. One day, I went in to buy Richard a gift and stood looking at the star ruby and a star sapphire in his case. I never wanted a diamond. I told the owner, “If Richard comes in, I would rather have this star sapphire than a diamond.” I got it for my birthday and we were officially engaged.
Yes, I’d not answered when he asked me to marry him, so now I had to ask him if he still wanted to marry me. I remember that we were driving to Corning from Painted Post in his 1940 Plymouth. His answer was yes. Then I said I had one more thing I wanted to ask him.
“Would you mind if I went out with Joe one more time?” Not the right question!
“What!!? Yes, I’d mind!” He couldn’t believe I’d ask such a thing.
I’m not quite sure what prompted me to think I could ask that. Joe, an engineer at Corning Glass, told me later that he had decided to be more serious about asking me out when I came back to Painted Post after summer vacation. He’d been concerned that his Catholicism would be a problem to me, a Protestant. At that time mixed marriages between Catholics and Protestants were frowned upon. If a Protestant married a Catholic, it was assumed that their children would be raised Catholic. He was right, I would have had a problem with his Catholicism at that point in my life. This seems very out-of-date in the twenty-first century.
As it turned out I didn’t exactly date Joe, but in the fall unbeknown to one to another we both tried out for major parts in a Corning Workshop Players comedy. Joe was cast as my errant husband. I spent many hours with Joe that fall. There was one small walk-on part with one line for a man in a sailor suit. I knew just the person for the part. The stage kiss was for real when Richard sat down on the bench beside me.
The next spring I also played a major role across from Don. Don was cast as the king in The King with the Golden Touch, I was cast as the princess. I realized any feelings I’d had for him had disappeared. I knew I was extremely lucky to have Richard.