Tom and Elaine
After graduating from TWU in 1963 with a degree in Music, I taught band and orchestra in Dallas and lived in a garage apartment in the Highland Park area of Dallas. One late afternoon in September 1965 as I waited for a date, Tom knocked on my door looking for the owner of the estate, who had placed a want ad in the paper for a “theological student to rent a room in exchange for work on the grounds”. I quickly dismissed Tom, pointing to a back door at the estate. As Tom walked back down the steps from my apartment, he thought, “That might be the girl God intends for me to marry.”
Tom took the room in the basement of the estate across the pool from my garage apartment, and we soon discovered that one of his
friends from earlier college years in San Marcos was also the boy who took me to the senior prom in Falfurrias. Our frequent contact as neighbors changed to friends and then changed to the realization God did intend for us to marry. Seven months later, April 30, 1966, we were at the Little Chapel in the Woods where we had told our families and the minister to meet us at 9 a.m. It was the perfect place for us to have a small wedding with only 10 family members, leave for a brief honeymoon, and be back two days later for Tom’s seminary and my orchestra classes.
There were heavy rains in the area the week before our wedding date, and a portion of I-35 was closed briefly from high water the day before. All of the wedding guests were traveling to the wedding, and we weren’t sure if everyone would make it. They all did. But one of the memories we laugh about was our unrest as we waited for the minister. He arrived five minutes late.
Our Vow Renewal:
Our return to renew our vows was even a better experience than before. Fifty years ago, the anticipation of the ceremony produced an anxiety that hindered us from fully enjoying the aura of the occasion and the chapel’s beauty itself—which was mentioned by the minister at the time. On the return visit, we both realized even more the loveliness of the setting. When just the two of us stood, as before, in the same spot of light at the front of the chapel and renewed our vows, it was perfect. Both inside and outside, we relived wonderful memories of the day.
Advice to Other Couples:
Our advice for all young couples who plan to marry at the Little Chapel in the Woods is to enjoy an intimate, charming, romantic setting that will live in your memories, and then plan to come back and renew your vows as you grow old together.
We both feel that the secret to achieving 50 years of marriage is a strong belief in the Christian virtues of commitment, patience, forgiveness, and of course, the supreme virtue of love. We never forgot the minister quoting the love chapter from 1Corinthians 13 and have revisited that scripture many times through the years.
New Things About Each Other:
Elaine: “Recently Tom surprised me after his retirement by writing a romantic novel. Since he has always been an academic (professor and minister), I thought it was just a pipe-dream when he first mentioned it. I was totally and pleasantly surprised with his wonderful story.”
Tom: “In my retirement, I recently published a novel, my first. It was self published, and Elaine not only contributed advice and ideas along the way, but she was my primary editor. Her many talents have amazed me throughout our married years, but I had no idea a music major was so gifted in that area.”