Gail, as most wives do, said that she'd follow
Denvy wherever. Well, there were some limitations. However, in late 1970,
Gail headed to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to start her job at Mercy Hospital Nursing
School, which was her role while Denvy spent a year studying at the University
of Michigan. She found an upstairs apartment in the home of an older couple
who lived on the south edge of the city.
Having been raised in North Dakota and after
a couple years in Alaska, they were not ready for late summer in Michigan.
Gail's phone call from her new apartment to Denvy, who was finishing up
his last weeks of work in Alaska, said the temperature and the humidity
were both at 90 plus. Unbearable!
"Love Story" was the movie of that
year and it seemed like students couldn't find enough places to sit because
you would frequently hear in the news that the students were sitting in
the university president's office. They weren't very happy about the war
and their high school and college classmates losing their lives.
As newbies to a major university community,
and since the fall Saturdays were typically beautiful, they attended the
home football games of the Wolverines.
With no wilderness to explore as in Alaska,
Denvy and Gail thought about family. They attended an information meeting
for perspective adopting parents. As the meeting wound down, the facilitators
opened the discussion to adopting "hard to place" children,
which included children with disabilites, older children and children
of mixed races. Denvy and Gail had never thought of not considering such a child
and said, "Of course."
With teaching and studying as priorities
at this time of their lives, they asked to hold any placements until late
spring, naively thinking that they could set the time and not knowing
that years later adoping parents would have to wait for years for a placement.
Monday following Palm Sunday Denvy called the Catholic Social Services
and asked if there was any chance of a placement in the near future. They
were cautious with their answer but called back the next afternoon, Tuesday,
and said there was a baby boy available. Tuesday was court day and
the social workers couldn't say anything until the mother had relinquished
the baby to the courts. On the following Tuesday Denvy and Gail went to
court and became probationary parents of Darron Ralph.
Two months later the little family was headed
home to Alaska in a Vega station wagon with a 19' Gruman on the roof and
a camper trailer in tow.