A bit of background for this week’s post and its foundation – Last week, the alumni association of a North Georgia college – University of North Georgia [UNG] -put out letter for “love stories of alumni” that involved the old NGC [North Georgia College – It was a military school) .
FYI – maybe 8 or 10 years ago the Board of Regents of the University of Georgia [my alma mater] combined North Georgia College with Gainesville College [where I was Chairman of Humanities for three years- called Gainesville Junior College [GJC]at that time] and all the other campuses of each ranging from Oconee (near Athens) to Dawsonville( which is now an Alpharetta suburb) making UNG 2nd largest in GA.They were interested in campus stories, alumni who may have met on the way, etc. My friends’ story will be a part of Valentine Day on UNG’s social media.
“Gates, Class of 1957 and Kay , who attended 1956, 57 and again in ’68, but never graduated
You might say one teacher was responsible for our romance! Gates was a senior at NGC and I was a sophomore. He was in advanced German while I was a beginner. We had met very fleetingly my freshman year but both of us had other sweethearts. It happened that neither of those sweethearts had returned. That set the stage for some interesting German lessons. We would meet at the Canteen to review my homework and work on vocabulary. By the end of the quarter both of us made A’s in our separate levels of German. But that’s getting ahead of things.
During fall break Gates brought back his fraternity pin from his first year and half at UGA. He pinned it on me as we sat on the concrete bench behind the old Science Building. The last time we were on campus that bench was still there. At Thanksgiving, I went to Thomasville and picked out an engagement ring. Then at Christmas Gates put the ring on my finger and we were engaged! Pretty fast moving for a marriage that has lasted almost 65 years. The photo below was made at the Military Ball just before Christmas break in 1956.
Winter quarter went by and both of us had made the Deans list. Of course we had studied a lot because three times we were on a weeks room arrest for such a sinful thing as holding hands on campus. Since my roommate worked nights at the library, she could find us some place to really study and it paid off in good grades. Then we’d have the nice walk back to Lewis Hall that made it all worthwhile. Plans were in the making for an early June wedding in Gainesville.
During spring quarter Gates got infectious mono and NGC insisted he withdraw from school. That meant no graduation with his class in June. He made a fast recovery and we continued plans for a June 2 wedding. We were married in the chapel of the old First Baptist Church in Gainesville on June 2, 1957. Registering for summer school, Gates was able to arrange to be tutored in organic chemistry by a Professor and by a Captain in Military making it possible for him to graduate at the end of the summer session. I went back to school too. We rented a little apartment on Sunset Drive just behind the infirmary. In fact, Aunt Sara taught me to make corn bread! At the end of the session I pinned Gates’ 2nd Lt. bar on in the military building along with 3 other couples.
Gates’ first duty station was with a Nike Hercules battery in the Philadelphia Air Defense. During the next twenty years, a dozen locations followed. Some were good, some not so good and some great. Early in those years we had one daughter an one son.
After retirement we spent 18 years on the Florida Gulf Coast enjoying life there until the hurricanes and mosquitoes became too much.
Just after Gates’ 60th birthday in 1996, we moved to North Georgia near Lula in Banks County. The first NGC friend we found just a couple of miles down the road at Adamson’s Hardware. Gardening, antiquing and going to the casino were fun in those years. We have been here nearly 26 years. Our son lives in Gainesville and our daughter in Murphy, NC. Two of our grandchildren have graduated from North Georgia.
Gates will celebrate his 86th birthday on February 9 and I have my 85th in July. His health isn’t good as he has had lots of heart problems along the way. Foot, knee and back problems make a walker necessary at all times. He depends on his Kindle and iPad but typing is difficult. That’s why I am writing “our story”. We celebrated our 50th anniversary at the Alumni House in Dahlonega but plan to celebrate the 65th on June 2, 2022 at home.