A Summer Fling
During the summer of '66 Denvy drove to
Ayr to visit Gail one Sunday. After church her family would periodically spend
hot Sunday afternoons playing by a lake a couple hours into Minnesota.
There was a motorboat at the lake cabin and Denvy and Gail did a spin
around the lake. That evening they stopped by the Stutsman County Fair
in Jamestown and took a helicopter ride. The next day found them making
hay back on the Hebron Saxowsky farm. After a couple days of trucking
and throwing hay bales around the neighborhood, Gail took the bus home.
It was a farm boy and a farm girl sharing something in common but the
romance, well, wasn't very warm. They were just friends.
A Movie in Minneapolis
the year after Denvy's graduation from JC, he attended the University
of Wyoming. During the same time Gary, Denvy's roommate, was developing
a continually more serious relationship with Denvy's sister, Avis. Avis
was in Minneapolis at that time for some nursing training and Gary decided
to drive from Laramie, Wyoming to Minneapolis during a break. He invited
his friends, Howie and Denvy to ride along.
Howie and Denvy didn't have anything in particular to do for several days,
and there was a house full of junior nurses, Denvy and Howie invited a
different pair of girls out each night. Then, bingo, surprise, Gail and
her friend, Bonnie, showed up, during their break to preview what they
would be doing the next year during their junior year. It was a great
opportunity for a date and the four went to a movie. It wasn't a great
movie but it was a movie about Alaska and in particular about the glacier
calving during the Lake George breakout. And so it was.
A Long Boring Glacier Tour
No one was ever very exicted about living
in a 8 by 12-foor A-frame with two bunks on a glacier for eleven days
with glaciologist Larry Mayo. In
the evening while Larry poured over numbers of snow depths and daily temperatures,
Denvy wrote a letter. With no daily postal service, Denvy chose to continue
to write one very long letter to one person. For some reason the letter
recipient was Gail. Daily activites were mundane and routine and so the
letter contained more personal feelings and philosophies than descriptions
of daily treks. Gail replied to this boring letter which started a series
of exchanges of letters in the fall of '68.
In December Denvy's sister, Ruth married
Tom. So Denvy flew to North Dakota for Christmas, borrowed his parent's
car and drove to see Gail for Christmas eve and back to Hebron for Christmas
day. The wedding went well and the next day Denvy and Gail announced that
they planned to get married.
Spring Break and a Ring
Fate had it that Gail's spring break and
Denvy's in-service training in San Francisco came on the same week. Denvy flew in
first in the middle of the night, rented
a car and while waiting drove around and was stopped by the police who
were curious why I was out at that time of the morning, but were very
pleasant when Denvy explained the situation. Gail arrived just after sunrise.
They drove to an overlook of the Golden
Gate Bridge, and Denvy presented Gail with an engagement ring. The marquise
diamond was mounted on a ring encased with Alaskan gold nuggets. Former
president Eisenhower died that weekend so Denvy didn't have to work Monday,
and they drove to Monterey to explore their first look at California.
Days before the Wedding
Being much too practical, Denvy decided
that when he came to North Dakota from Alaska, we would buy some riverboats
in Arkansas and haul them to Alaska for resale. Ruth and Tom who were
also graduating from college that May, decided to move to Alaska and travel
with Gail and Denvy. So two pickups were purchased, two trailers were
built and a side trip to Arkansas to buy 18 riverboats and four canoes
was made in the week before the wedding. Shells for the backs of the pickups
were built as well as an insolated box with dry ice and a side of beef.
Gail's personal items were loaded and the caravan was ready for the wedding
day: June 21.
Gail on the other hand, had her hands full
graduating from college, studying for and taking her nursing exams, packing
for her move to Alaska and planning a wedding.
More to the First Dance Date
After Gail read the first entry in this
website, she narrated "The Rest of the Story." After the dance,
Denvy and Gail dressed down to some recreation clothes and canoed up the
James River where Denvy have arranged a post-midnight picnic.