First Sight, but Love?
It was fall 1965. Denvy was a senior at
Jamestown College. Gail was a freshman planning to be a nurse. Avis, Denvy's
sister, was a sophomore nursing student.
Sophomore nurses received their nursing
caps in a capping ceremony involving family, faculty and underclassmen
students. A reception followed the ceremony. Denvy's job that year was
to host receptions like this one. As a freshman nurse, Gail was a server.
Avis received her cap and her parents were present.
As the reception wound down and the only
real remaining task for the workers was to cleanup, they sat behind the
scenes chatting and waiting. Denvy's parents too were waiting for Denvy
to finish his responsibilities and found the same tables behind the scenes.
Being a friendly fellow, Denvy's father
started chatting with the workers which included Gail. When Denvy joined
them, his father said. "Do you know these young ladies?"
Of course, Denvy knew them as incidental
workers but otherwise, no! "This is Gail Cameron," he continued.
He may have added something more indicating that Denvy should get to know
them better. Denvy considered it a polite maneuver and left it at that. At
least he now he knew her name.
spring there was a dance. Typically each of the four sororities
would sponsor a dance. It was not uncommon for girls to invite boys to
these dances. Gail invited Denvy and it's been memorialized in Denvy and
Gail's minds and in a picture in the college yearbook.
The Only Date
Later in spring was Denvy's birthday and
his two sisters, Avis and Ruth, both attending Jamestown College also,
invited Denvy to a movie. They each had a date and encouraged Denvy to have
one too, or be embarrassed. Denvy invited Gail but before the date her uncle
or mother's cousin died and she had to attend the funeral on the same
day. Arrangements were made to pick her up after the funeral and then
go to the movie.
The date wasn't
routine. Denvy was in the process of buying his first life insurance but
having taken flying lessons and having soloed, according to the laws of
the different states, he either had to pay extra in North Dakota, although
he didn't intend to fly any more, or sign the policy in Minnesota where
he could waive coverage while flying. So the date was scheduled to be
in Moorhead, Minnesota, in conjunction with signing the policy.
This date was the only date where Denvy
and his two sisters "triple dated." All the dates were casual
although Ruth had been connected to Tom for most of the year. Gary and
Avis had had several dates. Ironically, despite the causal nature of the
date, all three married their dates.