[Marcia]: Steve was a little bit conflicted about whether he should ask me to marry him and then go off to Peru because he had the plan to go down to Peru for a few months. He went and consulted with Dr. Ockenga [pastor, Park Street Church] on the matter and Dr. Ockenga told him to “Give her a ring. Give her a ring!” So he did, actually.
[Steve]: I went out from his office and went down and bought the ring. From then.
[Marcia]: From the office.
[Kimberly?]: Oh, I was expecting a telephone call. He said “give her a ring.”
[Marcia]: So on Easter Sunday morning, he said, “Let’s go to a sunrise service.” So, OK, I got up and got ready to go to a sunrise service. It turns out we never got to a sunrise service. We did go to a beach.
[Virginia]: Sneaky guy.
[Marcia]: We did go to a beach and he proposed to me and I came home with a ring.
[Kimberly]: Tell about your love-letters over the radio.
[Marcia]: Oh, OK. So previously though—this is probably why Aunt Polly was praying hard—previously we communicated by letters when he was in Peru. Oh, OK, that’s after the engagement. I’m getting confused.
So then he went off to Peru and we would write to each other. When he went out to the tribe with Bob Tripp, then my letters to him would come as far as the base where Lee and your dad were. So then they would have a radio hookup on a regular basis and she would read my letters to him over the radio.
[Kathy]: Where everybody who was on ham radio could hear it.
[Marcia]: Absolutely. Everybody would listen in. “Oh, we used to listen to those. We used to tune in at the appointed time and listen to those love letters.”
[Gail?]: Like a soap opera.
[Marcia]: No, I didn’t know. He may have, he may have written to me and said, you know, just something about that.
[Heidi]: It’s doubtful.
[Stephanie]: Knowing my dad.
[Steve]: Cool it, Sweetheart.
[Marcia]: Anyway, so what did happen to me was—because we had only dated for four months and he was gone longer than that, I started to wonder: do I really know this man I’m going to get married to? That started to be reflected in the letters and he did decide to not stay as long. I think he was going to stay to the end of November and pop home and we were going to get married in December.
[Gail?]: Get married the next month?
[Marcia]: So anyway, he came home sooner and we got reconnected.
That’s probably why Aunt Polly was praying hard, see, because she and Bob had worked hard to get us together. She didn’t want us to break up.
[Dawn]: Well, and I there was that one letter that Dad wrote to Grandma [MacGregor], right? Or didn’t write to Grandma.
[Heidi]: Oh, yes. It showed up empty.
[Dawn]: It was empty. He just folded up a bunch of those air forms and he. . . .
[Marcia]: Oh, and he didn’t write anything.
[Kathy]: He had it all addressed and everything.
[Marcia]: Oh, to Grandma MacGregor?
[Dawn]: What is this about?
[Marcia]: So we did get married, December 10th, 1966, at Newton Presbyterian Church.
Some of the people in the tribe—because he used to keep my picture up, somewhere on the radio or somewhere—so they told him to come back and bring Marcia and “the baby.” I guess they presumed that, you know, there would be a child involved already.
[Steve]: One of the things they gave to me was a long strip of sacha bacha [sic], you know the miles cake [sic], a strap of that, and that was called a “wife-beater.”
[Steve]: Yes. And I use it all the time.
[Stephanie?]: And on the girls.
[Victoria]: Oh, come on!
[Marcia]: So you know who the joker is in our family, right? You’ve got that figured out.
[Steve]: It wasn’t a joke.
[Dawn]: Spousal abuse is not a joke.
[Marcia]: That’s right.
[Dawn]: It’s not.
[Steve]: But that wasn’t spousal abuse. It was training.
[Bruce? groaning]: Oh.
story told by Marcia (Steve’s wife) to the family reunion gathering on January 10, 2014 with additions from Kathy Courtright, Gail Montez, Bruce Kindberg, Virginia Gorman (Lee’s children), Steve, and Steve’s daughters Heidi, Kimberly, Stephanie and Dawn; recorded and transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)
Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below. (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.)
- We have Betty’s courtship and engagement story. Anybody want to relay what you recall of the others?
- Kindberg kids or Lee: can you confirm the name and spelling (English and Amarakaeri) of the plant about which my dad is joking?
- Marcia, Steve: Are we still in possession of these letters? Could I have them or copies, please? Remember, all of Peru has already heard them, so what’s a few more family members?