I know it’s been more than two months since I posted part 6, but the past couple of months have been a tad strange/difficult. Foremost, we had a death in the family so that took most of my attention, and after that I was just not “feeling it” because of personal issues, then I got straight up l-a-z-y.
But I’m back on track now. I’m going to try to keep them more Tourette’s-focused, as I noticed that the past couple of installments seemed to veer away a bit to much. So here we go …
I had managed to scrape up enough money to buy an engagement ring but I had no idea what size to get it in, so I embarked on several attempts to covertly measure Joyce’s ring finger. After realizing what an impossible task it was I just took my best guess and bought the ring. So with ring in hand I invited Joyce out to my house and led her out to my old go-kart track.
I remember just how clear and starry the night sky was that night, everything was in place and I was moments away from one of the biggest crossroads of my life. We talked for a few minutes, but I’m sure she knew something was up, so in the middle of the old track I got down on one knee and asked the most wonderful, beautiful, smart and caring woman in the world if she would marry me.
Much to my relief she said “Yes!!” so as I slipped the ring on to her finger I realized that my estimate of how small her finger was waaaaaaay off, but it didn’t matter because I was now ENGAGED, something I never thought would ever happen to me in a million years. My whole life the world had told me I was worthless and nobody would want me, and God came along and said “Oh yeah? Well check this out Billy” and gave me the perfect fit for a soul mate, for a lifelong friend and for a wife, He gave me Joyce.
Now neither of our families were particularly well off so as far as the actual “getting married” part we were not really sure how or even when it was gonna happen. By this point it time Joyce and her Dad had had a bit of a falling out and so my parents offered to let her stay in the camper we had until we were able to get married and out on our own.
Meanwhile, my mother had been planning on taking us with her on a trip down south to San Diego to visit friends & family and was a little concerned that may look a little odd for us to be “together” but not yet married, so one early July morning we all met in the kitchen and out of nowhere my mom says, “Hey, do you guys want to get married TODAY?”
We were genuinely surprised at the offer but we knew it was a golden opportunity so we jumped. Later that day we were standing in the Coquille County Court House exchanging vows, Joyce in her best white and blue dress and me in my best Levis and tank-top, the only thing missing was an angry father with a shotgun!
It didn’t take long for me to realize that my job at McDonald’s was never going to pay enough for us to get out on our own but I had no real skills or experience, so I was rather limited on what I could do. Then one day in October 1992, Joyce’s step-cousin-in-law came and told me about what sounded like the perfect job for me — it was warehouse work at an industrial hose company, it was full time, paid well and had good benefits, so I took a shot at it and went and interviewed then waited. And waited. And waited some more.
So I decided if they weren’t going to call me, I was gonna call them. So for the better part of two weeks I called every day and finally in what I’m sure was a desperate effort to shut me up they finally said, “Yes we will hire you, you start Monday.” I was ecstatic, I was married, I now had a real “grown up” type job and things were looking awesome. The only thing was, the job was in Portland, Oregon…
To be continued …