50 Years Ago Today I Had My First Date with Ray Notgrass

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In the spring of 1974, I was living off-campus in a rented room in an old red-brick mansion across the street from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The first floor was furnished with impressive antiques. The lady of the house rented three rooms to college girls. We came and went through a grand entrance, ascending and descending a beautiful staircase to get to our rooms upstairs.

My room was off the beautiful hall. The rooms rented to the other girls were at the back of my room, which served as their hallway. Between their rooms was the bathroom we all shared. We also shared one dorm-sized refrigerator, which the girl who owned it kept in her room. I shopped for groceries at the little store on the corner across the street and did my cooking in a couple of old-style popcorn poppers.

Our three rented rooms were far from posh. They had a second-hand feel, but the price was right at $50 per month, and we did get to walk through grandeur going in and out.

I remember being in my blue room upstairs on Friday, March 1, 1974. I got dressed up in my very 1970s green gauze shirt and green and beige striped stovepipe pants, while I waited for Ray Notgrass, whom I had met just that semester, to pick me up for our first date.

As Ray and I drove to Nashville for dinner and a movie, I was impressed by his intelligence and humor. By the end of the evening, I was enamored. By the end of May, I was engaged. By the end of the year, I was married.

This is how we looked just days after that first date. We took the top pictures in the country near my paternal grandparents’ home. We took the lower two in the yard and on the porch of the house where I rented a room.

Ray and I always celebrate March 1, and today is the 50th anniversary of our first date! Have a great day, y’all! I’m planning on a date with my honey.

There are three things which are too wonderful for me,
Four which I do not understand:
The way of an eagle in the sky,
The way of a serpent on a rock,
The way of a ship in the middle of the sea,
And the way of a man with a maid.
Proverbs 30:18-19





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