A marriage proposal with conditions: this seems more like “Let’s Make a Deal” than “Let’s live happily ever after.” What would Lorna do?

Being a Middle Child, I always picked Door #2. It was usually a donkey pulling a cart filled with a year's supply of canned peas, dish soap, or Geritol. Lesson: dealing was never my strong suit.

Three thoughts crossed my mind when he proposed:

  1. This was my 3rd marriage proposal. The first was in 5th grade. Mike chased me around the playground trying to kick me. When he cornered me between some bushes and bus garage, he announced in a breathy voice, “I’m going to marry you.” My pouty silence, narrowed eyes, and crossed arms kind of discouraged him. The issue of our future nuptials never came up again, but he cased and kicked at me until 6th grade. I was a hard girl to get over and an easy one to corner. My second marriage proposal was Brian’s death-trap-canoe proposal. At least Chuck’s proposal was civil and didn’t involve any threat of bodily harm. I took this as a good sign.

    I should've known better when he wanted "our" song to be "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me."

  2. He liked dogs, so he must have a good heart. He lovedHumphrey. Unlike the numerous flaws he found in me, he couldn’t find many faults with my Old English Sheepdog. If he loved Humphrey, he must love me because Humphrey loved me, so I should love him. Well, it made sense at the time.

    Chuck would risk his life and his leather vest to save a dog if he thought it was dog-paddling its way into danger in the kiddie pool.

  3. My options were limited. It’s not that I minded being a single alcoholic with no future, but how long can that party last? I had a man with a plan willing to tote me along on his journey toward greatness. His goal was to become a millionaire. He always had a 5, 10, and 20 year plan. Maybe I could use a little planning in my life and he was willing to plan my life as well as his.

"I am Chuck the Magnificent. I can see into the future 5, 10, even 20 years from now. Lorna, I will change you." By Golly, he was right!

I was still a bit loopy from the bottle of wine and after-dinner drinks, but all these thoughts jettisoned through my head quickly enough for me to give Chuck an enthusiastic “Yes! I’ll marry you,” without hesitating one iota.

Two iotas later came the strings to which I had to agree before he would seal the deal:

  1. He wanted 4 children–2 boys and 2 girls. I negotiated him down to two when I said he could bring the four children to visit me on Sundays in the Rest Home when I was properly sedated.

    Wait! Don't bring Chuck and the Gang-of-Four in yet. I haven't finished my Valium-fortified grape juice.

  2. I must be willing to move to a city where he could make his fame and fortune. I was fine with moving as long as our new home has liquor stores nearby.

    Samsonite had a suitcase for any and all occasions. It was a heavy bugger to carry when full; but it didn't stay full for long.

  3. Taking his name was a sign of my commitment to him. I wanted to keep my maiden name. He was firm. He wanted his surname to live on so that property transfer would be clear. In case of a war between landowners, there would be no mistaking that his lineage ruled over the kingdom. Wait, we just time-traveled back a few centuries to Medieval Europe… I agreed to change my name.

    "She's worth at least 15 acres and 100 head of goats. Let's drink to you taking her off my hands, young lad!"

  4. I had to adopt Methodism as my religion and raise our children as good Christian soldiers. I had to go to “classes” and a minister lectured us about God, marriage, forever, death, etc. He’s divorced now.

    I'm pretty sure he gave me one of these books to read. I don't know where it is now--probably gave it to the Methodist Thrift Shop.

  5. I had to learn to play Bridge and stop playing Strip Poker because “respectable” people who play cards in groups would rather bid their hands than drop their drawers.

    Strip Poker seemed at lot less complicated.

There were no “pre-nups”; my word was good enough for him. He trusted me. I didn’t tell him I was an alcoholic, but, to be fair, I only considered myself a heavy, closet drinker at the time–something hardly worth mentioning.

Were were officially engaged. The wedding was set just before my 26th birthday so as to prevent me from becoming an old maid.

After 25, it's a slippery slope ladies.

Did Chuck discover Lorna’s secret before they tied the knot? We’ll see…