June 1976. My dad was in a nursing home—dying. My kids were in Minneapolis. Linda’s sons, Troy, a 4th grader and Eric in 2nd grade, were living with her in Los Angeles. I was on the road in California for much of the spring. Linda had the whole burden of planning for our June 6 wedding while working full-time and organizing a Town Meeting on weekends. We were assigned a weekend or two to prepare our “missional family document” which included designing a family symbol to hang in our room as a reminder of our covenant with one another, the Order, and G-O-D. There was a resident artist in the San Francisco House, Dean Ellis, who put the final touches on the symbol that would be displayed on our banner.
Finally the week of the marriage celebration came. It was to be held in the Los Angeles Religious House, a large three-story home, built by the actor John Barrymore, on 11th and Magnolia, just a couple of blocks off Olympic and Vermont. Linda’s mother came from Green Bay, Wisconsin to help her get ready, along with Linda’s cousin, Mary Anne Schefe, who lived in Redondo Beach. I was on my own, except for the members of the LA House and my mother, who lived in Van Nuys, so I had a place to stay for the week.
We had gold rings made with the center of our family symbol, a “St. Andrew’s Cross” repeated all the way around, and silver bands for the right hand signifying a commitment to a life of service. Linda had made the acquaintance of Percy Henkelman, a bishop in the Moravian Brethren Church, a local supporter of the Institute (who also happened to be Andy Griffith’s pastor) and asked him to officiate. Jann McGuire, whose family had lived with us in St. Louis and now lived in Lindsay, California, was the matron of honor. I asked Lyn Oden, an LA House member, to be best man.
Bob and Joan Knutson, LA House Priors, made sure it would be a grand and elegant, but simple, wedding celebration. We had a simply elegant pre-wedding dinner with the House members and several local colleagues present. The day of the wedding arrived. My mother showed up with surprise guests, my cousin Jan O’Grady with her family from Council Bluffs, Iowa (I had officiated at her wedding back at Trinity Church in Lincoln in 1967– now she had two little girls of her own). The marriage service was held in the large living room (we wondered whether any of the Barrymore kids had been married there), with a reception in the back yard.
Linda and I left the next morning on our “honeymoon trip” which consisted of pulling a trailer with her few belongings, and a wire cage with Eric’s pet black rabbit in the back seat of my dad’s blue Ford, heading for San Francisco, our next year’s assignment. We were able to arrange to stop for a couple of days’ stay in Carmel on the way. That was our honeymoon. But we were ready for the next challenge and approached our life together with hopeful anticipation and excitement, just like any newly-wedded couple.