Mankind has created multiple methods to help describe mankind. Of all the devices, I like to use three versions: 1) 5 Love Languages by Gary D. Chapman. Mr. Chapman makes a case for people feeling love in five ways: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. 2) Personality traits from ancient Greeks to modern Greeks (and others). I prefer the D.I.S.C. method from Positive Personality Insights by Robert A. Rohm Ph.D. 3) Seven motivational gifts listed in Romans 12; prophesy, service, teaching, exhortation, giving, administration, and mercy.
For example, I have learned that I am a person who has 1) love languages of physical touch and words of affirmation, 2) personality type of being a (S) for sensitive, sincere, steadfast, combined with (I) for “I” meaning pay attention to me, optimistic, lively and 3) God gifted me with the gifts of service and teaching.
I discovered Terrie was created very differently than I was, some things better and some things…I’m still trying to figure out. Terrie is made this way, 1) Love languages of quality time (x2), words of affirmation, and receiving gifts, 2) personality type of being (C ) curious, cautious, conscientious, combined with (D) demanding, direct, domineering and 3) God gifted her with the gifts of exhortation and prophesy.
These things have both positives and negatives and you have to learn to accentuate the positives and minimize the negatives. If you can identify these things in yourself and others, it goes a long way in helping to identify and avoiding arguments and tension.
In the early days of the pursuit, neither Terrie nor I knew any of these things. As a result, there would be the occasional conflict and hurt feelings. Let me tell you how that happened.
In the beginning, I told you she was in control and she held all the cards and I
just wanted to be with her. She had other guys who wanted to date her, therefore she had options that I did not have. Through persistent efforts, the old “Elkins Charm” began to weaken her defenses. I had met her family, who were kind and polite to me, though they must have wondered what I could offer their dear daughter. Do you remember the old proverb that said, “if the camel once gets his nose in the tent, his body will soon follow”? That metaphor was apropos for us; I was the camel and the Baskin home was the tent. Once they let me in, I was in!
If I wasn’t talking to Terrie on the phone, I wanted to be at her house. I enjoyed being in this environment because it was very different than what I was used too. Some of the differences were that both of her parents were in the home at the same time. Sometimes Paula lived there and at other times, she would be gone. It was rarely completely quiet in the home, there was always some discussion or activity going on. If you remember, for a couple of years, my sister and I were alone in our house for most of the week, with our parents coming home only for the weekend. Paul was working as an engineer for Western Electric and he was going to Central State College to get his degree in mathematics. Pat did not work outside of the house, but she enjoyed reading very much. She would be at the library often and would enjoy shopping, especially to buy shoes. Pat was very tender hearted toward animals and they always had pets in the home. They had a Dachshund dog named “Greta” and a Siamese cat named “Rahma” when I met them. We rarely had pets and if we did, they didn’t get to stay very long with us. It was probably better for them. Greta was not very friendly to me, but Rahma did what cats do, they go to those who are not “cat people” and ingratiate themselves to them. I had never been exposed to cats before, so I didn’t know what to expect. He would come to where I was and jump up and place himself in a position to be petted and then start purring. I guess in some ways, our methods were similar.
Another difference was that they would invite me to eat with them. In Grand Coulee, my diet was mostly Kraft macaroni and cheese and water core apples. As a single guy, my diet was mainly Swanson Hungry Man frozen dinners. So to be invited to eat a home cooked meal with salad, entrée, vegetables and dessert was very appealing to me. Even their salad ingredients were different. I was used to lettuce, tomato and dressing. Pat started with those things and added fresh carrots, cubed cheddar cheese, and occasionally black olives or cucumbers plus having two or three types of salad dressing. For a guy like me, this was high living! Paul often grilled outdoors on a gas grill. He would cook hamburgers, chicken, steaks. Just anything he wanted. I guess I was kind of like the stray cat that you feed once or twice and they seem to show up every day. I became a regular dinner guest. Pat would make a dish that started as a box dinner, maybe Hamburger Helper that had seasoned hamburger, beans, and a corn bread topping that was cooked in a skillet. It was like chili with corn bread. I really liked this. I liked it so much that Pat would eventually start having to buy and make two boxes, one just for me.
So, I became a fixture around the house and with the family, except for Paula, who was not that warm to me. It took me a very long time to figure her out. Terrie would like to control my actions by wanting to know just when I would be somewhere or asking me questions that I didn’t feel like answering. Not because I had done anything wrong, I just didn’t like being questioned. It all boiled down to this, she wanted to be the “boss” and I didn’t want her to be the “boss”. As little as I knew about Scripture then, I knew that God had given man the responsibility to lead the family. Again, it goes back to personality type and the components God used to make us. Why did she want to be the “boss”? There was still some uncertainty in her mind about the relationship. I can understand that with anyone. If it’s the first time you are down that road, without any guidance or instruction, it’s scary. She had questions about me and about herself. She was comfortable at home, with Mom and Dad, going to college. These were known elements. Life with me was an unknown. It would have helped if we had sat down to discuss our future in general. Just as she responds to quality time, she requires quality answers to her questions. I don’t think I would have been able to give her those answers at the time.
I had asked the question, “What would need to change for me to be the man I needed to be, to take control of the relationship?” The answer came through actions. Terrie was a good student. She graduated Cum Laude in her class. She majored in Art Education. She studied very hard and was determined to get her daddy’s money’s worth. While she had always shown talent in art, she was beginning to develop her style during these years. She would use me as a model for her figure drawing classes. In order to fulfill her physical education requirements, her choice was ball room dancing, archery, and bowling. I remember she talked me into leaving work to drive to Edmond to be her dance partner in dance class. Together, we would expand on archery and bowling in the future. We bought bows and would go target shooting after we were married. Archery ended after an accident happened that left a terrible bruise on her left forearm. She had failed to roll her elbow enough to avoid the string from striking her. We would go bowling as well. She did pretty well. I did not know anything about technique, but I used a sixteen pound ball and a lot of strength in the delivery. I was never really good, but I seemed to leave the bowling alley, having released any tension that I had.
One day, it snowed while Terrie was in class. I had told her about learning to drive in Washington state and knew how to drive in snow. She called me and told me she didn’t think she could drive home. I told her to wait for me and I would come to her and follow her home. I left work and found her in the school parking lot. Her school car was a ’55 Chevy four door Bel Air with a six cylinder engine and automatic transmission and vacuum windshield wipers. The problem with vacuum windshield wipers was when you pushed the accelerator, the wipers would stop temporarily. This was not ideal for rain or snow. I advised her to get behind a semi-truck that would leave some good tracks and clear the way through the snow. In the early ‘70’s, cell phones were not available. It sure would have been helpful on that day. She did find a semi and started to follow him. I followed her in my ’65 Mustang. As it turned out, I think it was the slowest semi I had ever seen, but we did make it back to Moore without incident and that was the important thing. I think through this, that she could see that I would take care of her and would do all I could to make her feel secure.
In 1972, Paul bought a 15 ½ foot tri-hull boat with a 70 hp Chrysler outboard motor. I don’t think anyone inside the Baskin household was clamoring to get one, but the guys that Paul worked with had boats and, well, you know how peer pressure works. I loved the idea of him having a boat. I loved to water ski. Brenda and I learned to water ski on the same day, one summer day on Banks Lake, which was near our house in Washington. Paul bought a pair of skis, ski ropes, ski vest, life vest, everything that we needed. At the time, I think only Paul and myself knew how to ski.
When we planned to go skiing, the day always seem to follow a pattern. A departure time was determined. I would go to the gas station to fill the boat gas tanks, while Pat and Terrie would prepare other things needed for the outing. Paul would find some project that he wanted to do. These would usually revolve around the boat or the car or sometimes something completely different. I would stow the gas tanks and load the boat. Everything and everyone was ready except for Paul. He would get wrapped up in his project and it was not unusual to leave one to two hours later than our announced time.
Arriving at the lake, we would launch the boat, get everyone on board and off we went. I was always eager to get in the water. Paul bought me a slalom ski and a better ski vest because I enjoyed going fast and being thrown into curves as I leaned out, trying to get the most excitement out of the ride. I think Paul enjoyed pulling me and seeing if I could take what the boat and the driver could offer. Sometimes, he would ski, but the old football knees kept him off of the skis. Terrie learned to ski. I would float beside her and try to instruct her. At first, she didn’t have the hand strength to grasp the handles long enough until she was up. She was so excited when she did make it; it was just wonderful to see her face. The twinkling of her eyes and the full smile were both releasing beautiful energy because of her success. She got back into the boat and said, “I did it! I did it! I learned how to ski!” She had the innocence of a child when she spoke those words and I loved her even more.
Those were fond memories for me. There were so many things, during that time that helped me define what I thought and deemed valuable. Things that would help shape me.
One of those things was that I enrolled at Central State to extend my education. I could see through Terrie’s family the benefit of furthering my education and I think that it showed them that I wanted to be more than what I was, I wanted to grow. I didn’t have any counseling or knew anything about preparing myself for college. I took the SAT test and started going three nights a week for the next four years. I decided upon a major in Industrial Education, but I wasn’t completely locked in on it. I decided to focus on my general education first, which would give me time to think about exactly which major to continue. Paul believed in me and said he would pay for my books as long as I continued. I made the Dean’s list my first semester, his probation list! Making D’s was not how I wanted to impress Terrie and her family. I talked to a counselor and made some adjustments. I found classes and subjects that interested me. Subjects like; history, humanities, creative writing, things that helped me understand people and how they lived and why they believed the things they believed. This knowledge would serve me well in the years ahead. Had it been in God’s plan, I would have liked to have had that happen in high school, but it wasn’t and it was for this time.
One of the classes that I took toward my major was drafting. Today most drafting is done on computers using AutoCad. Years and years ago, draftsmen used a piece of paper taped to a board or drafting table. Attached to the board was a parallel bar. The parallel bar would travel via a wire from the bottom to the top of the board. It was used to draw horizontal lines. To draw the vertical lines plastic angles of 30 degrees or 45 degrees were used. Drafting machines were invented to advance the speed and flexibility of the objects being drawn. A good draftsman had to be able to visualize the object in his mind and convert that image to paper. A good understanding of math is also important. Unknown to me, God gifted me with the talents to be a good draftsman, which would serve me well in the years ahead.
Terrie had met my dad one time before he passed away. My parents are both buried in the Erin Springs Cemetery, which is just south of the Washita River near Lindsay, Oklahoma. So, one day, she went with me to the cemetery to visit his grave side. Just about a half mile west of the cemetery is the Lindsay Mansion. We stopped and took a tour of the house. Later, I found out it was at this time, she realized that she loved me.
The day had arrived! I had captured the one who had captured me. But to get her to say she would marry me would still require some work and some patience and some more proving; but she was worth it.
Thank you for reading about this part of my life. I would enjoy hearing from you and to read your thoughts.