Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Richard & Charlotte: Engaged on the First Date!

1952-1953: The Year That Changed My Life
By Charlotte Lohman, 1993

After the death of my first husband Warren in 1952...
...and the birth of our son Chuck in 1952...
...nursing at Fairview Hospital, together with being a single parent, became my career.
Chuck and myself, along with another recent widow, Mona Hjortland and her son David, moved in together; and with the help of our babysitter, Grandma Turk, Mona and I were able to work. Our life together was good.
One Sunday in October, 1952, Mona and I decided to eat at the then-famous Hasty Tasty Café at 50th and France [two doors down from the Edina Cinema]. 
As we looked at the people enjoying their dinner, Mona spotted a man and his young daughter, whom she had previously met. 
This man, Dick Lohman, had very recently lost his wife from bulbar polio, leaving him alone with two sons, Paul, age two, Douglas, four, and his daughter Jeanne, six.
After finishing our meals, we went over to greet them. Our hearts ached for him, knowing what he must be going through. But after a pleasant visit, we went on our way.

It wasn’t long before Dick started to come to see us after he got his children to bed – just to talk and share his grief. We understood what he was going through. [He dubbed us the “Merry Widows.”] Sometimes another recent widow friend, Merlyn, would come and join us. They were good times for us all. My “playing Cupid” instincts were being aroused, so I would encourage Dick to take Merlyn home. He willingly did, but he always immediately returned to our home to continue to visit. Playing Cupid wasn’t working, so I dropped the thought!

Time passed and our get-togethers continued. Mona was soon engaged to a seminary student, and she decided that she now wanted to play Cupid with Dick and I. I said, “Nope, he’s too short for me!” My reaction to Mona was silly, but I had always been tall for my age. My Dad and first husband Warren were both 6’4”, so this was a new experience for me. (Before I go further, I want to say that I was less than ½“ taller than Dick. How silly! I later came to just wear low-heeled shoes. What a simple solution!) 

One evening in April, 1953, I was working the 3:00-11:00 pm shift at the hospital and the phone rang. It was none other than Dick asking me for a date to see the newly released film, Martin Luther. That sounded like fun, so I said yes.
By this time, I had not wanted to admit to myself or anyone else that I was starting to like Dick, not only as a friend, but some romantic feelings were creeping in, too. So I was excited about this date – my first since 1951 when Warren died. Mona was delighted – she had been right!

The fateful night arrived and off we went and had a wonderful time [first at the Uptown Theater...
 ...and then a few doors down at the Rainbow Café.]

I must have been excited when I left home, because I left my keys and Mona wasn’t home to let us in. So Dick came to the rescue, got a window opened and in we went. We talked and talked about so many things, and he finally said, “Will you marry me?” Without hesitation, I knew that I was in love and said, “Yes.” It just felt so right. Our first date and now we were engaged. This was unbelievable. Nothing slow about us! 

We went to introduce Dick to my mother. She had heard about him being short. But as she opened the door and laid eyes on him, the first thing she said was, “You’re no shrimp!” They loved each other immediately.

On August 15, 1953, our family became a “Yours and Mine” family,
 and later, in 1955 and again in 1961, a
family when our two sons Jeffrey and David were born.
But really, it’s always simply been an “Ours” family.

This was forty years ago as I write this in 1993, and we still stand in awe of how blessed we have been by God.

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