Ah, the wonderful expectations of love and finding my true love at 19.
I had been dating Jack Rocchio, a boy my age who attended Cal Tech. He was tall (one of my prerequisites) and smart (another), and fun to be with, but I knew he wasn’t the one! I was very intuitive even then. Jack had asked me to go “steady” (meaning no dating anyone else) and I said no. I didn’t want to miss my opportunity of meeting Mr. Right if he came along.
That was a good decision. A few days later, my modeling teacher asked me if I wanted to be in the Alhambra, “Hi Neighbor” parade, riding on a float with a few other models. She also mentioned her best friend’s brother was returning from Korea and wanted a date with one of her models. I agreed after she told me he was 6’4″ and a very nice guy.Â
As the parade was ending and turning the corner to the park, I spotted Gloria (my teacher) standing with this tall handsome young man and my heart skipped a beat! I remember thinking to myself, “I have a feeling he might be the one.”
I didn’t know that Gloria had picked another model on the float and told Bill he could pick either of us. Obviously he picked me.Â There was a dance at the park but he asked me if I’d like to go grunion hunting at the beach instead. (He felt funny about being there since the other girl was rejected.) We drove to some beach and yes, the grunion were actually there! We had a lot of fun with him chasing me with a slimy fish!
He was still in the Air Force and had to leave for New Mexico in a couple of days. He asked me out the next night to see a funny Jerry Lewis movie. We drove around looking for the theater where it was playing, and lo and behold it was at a drive-in! We did see the movie (sort of)!
The next day he came to visit me atÂ Dot’s house since I was baby-sitting her kids for the summer. We talked and finally said good-bye but he told me he’d write. I rememberÂ watching his car backing out of the driveway and hoping we would meet again.
In late September, 1952, we started exchanging letters and began to get to know each other. I could tell he was a sensitive and caring man, very intelligent, with lots of plans for the future. Letter writing reveals a lot about a person.
Fern Dell Park
In November Bill said he was coming to Calif. on leave for 3 days. I was in my 2nd year at Pasadena City College but had Veterans Day off. He arrived early at my house in Temple City. (I lived with my mom and I could tell she liked Bill a lot.) I made a picnic lunch and off we went to Fern Dell Park inÂ Los Angeles near Griffith Park. The day was magical. The quiet and beauty of the park helped us share even more about ourselves. We talked about the many things we had in common, our families and our hopes and dreams. He told me about his dad and the ranch in Texas and being an L.A. policeman. He had 2 older sisters he was very close with.Â We talked all day and it was comfortable and lovely. This was the day I fell in love with Bill Rubarth.Â
The next evening, Bill took me to meet his family. I was kind of scaredÂ but soon realized his family was just like mine, easy going and nice. I met his dad, his Aunt Besse, Pat & Peg (his sisters) and his grandmother, Mary Felder who raised him from age 12. (His mother died during an operation and this was very difficult for Bill.) The next day he flew back to the Air Force base in New Mexico.Â We continued writing our letters but now they were daily. (I still have all of his letters and mine.)Â His tour of duty was ending in January 1953 and he said he would call me Christmas Eve.
It was Dec. 24, 1952 and the phone rang at 6:00 pm. I just knew it was Bill. I answered and I thought he was calling from NM but he said he was down at the corner and had managed to get discharged early.Â Mom fixed dinner and after dinner Dot & Bob with Bobby, Jerry and Sandy arrived along with Bud & Jean, Judy and Linda. So Bill was introduced to my family. We spent a wonderful Christmas Eve together and after everyone left, Bill asked me to go for a little drive with him. It was then that he proposed. I said yes and he told me he wanted to get married in February but I said I couldn’t go to school and plan a wedding that quickly, so we waited until the beginning of Easter vacation, Friday, March 27, 1953. (Yes, I know, we only had 6 dates before he proposed!)
We had a small wedding at the Michillinda Presbyterian Church in Pasadena. My sister, Dot was my Matron of Honor and Janet and Maureen (girl friends) were my bridesmaids. Bill’s brother-in-law, Bill Phifer was Best Man, with Bud and Bob as ushers. Sandy was my flower-girl. We went to Lake Arrowhead for our honeymoon. And we lived “happily ever after” (almost!)
Bill (Blaine) and I were married 32 years. We always said we’d love each other “for ever and a day,” and just because paths change and we grow into different people doesn’t mean our love ever ended.