When Darrell and I first got married, he was in the army and stationed at Ft. Knox. I was a senior in high school. During the week, he was in Kentucky and I lived at home with my parents. I slept in my old room and rode the bus to school. On the weekends, Darrell would come home and we'd live at his folks. We slept on a fold-out couch in their living room. Newlyweds--sleeping on a sofa bed--in a room with no doors that locked. Yeah, good times.
A couple of months after we married, Uncle Sam sent us to Italy for three years. We lived in a hotel for six weeks, until we could get government housing. Newlyweds in a hotel room--twin beds--communal bathroom down the hall. Every night we moved the nightstand and pushed the beds together. Every morning the maid pushed the beds apart and replaced the nightstand. We did have a bidet (which can double as a toilet in the middle of the night--but only for #1), a sink, and a small balcony. To save money, we bought a cooler and kept sandwich stuff and milk. We'd eat cereal for breakfast and sandwiches for dinner. Lunch was eaten on post. We had a small radio and would sit out on our little balcony reading or doing needle punch, listening to Paul Harvey. We were about three miles from post and would usually walk there. Or ride the bikes we eventually bought. Before long, we got a little Fiat--can't remember the price, but I think it was either $75 or $150. I'm sure it was no more than $150.
Our first apartment was above an attached garage in a villa downtown. I called it "the afterthought". I really think it was originally an attic or storage. The stairs leading up to it were so narrow, the army wouldn't give us a sofa. They couldn't get it up there. The fridge barely fit and caused a lot of grief, but was a necessity. For about six months, we lived with two living room chairs and a bean bag chair we'd brought with us. We had no tub, only a shower--and no shower curtain. The whole bathroom got wet whenever one of us took a shower. That was quickly remedied with a suspension rod! We were finally able to get into an army owned apartment building. Marble floors, a yard, and a laundry room. It was heaven at the time.
this picture was taken the summer of 1977
you can see our apartment on the left--that's the french door off the kitchen
The movie theater on post showed a movie at 7 and 9. On Friday and Saturday nights, they'd show a different movie at 11. Many times we'd go to the 7pm show, go eat dinner, then come back for the 11pm movie.
Darrell's mother came to visit us and the two of them were able to take a train to Rome--about 8 hrs away. I couldn't get off work and I couldn't drive our stick shift car. So I took on the philosophy of "when in Rome..." Little old ladies ride their bikes everywhere, wearing dresses no less. And holding umbrellas when it rains. That takes some coordination, of which I apparently have none. While Darrell was gone, I rode my bike to work. It was raining, so I grabbed my umbrella. I'm here to tell you--riding a bike while holding an umbrella is no easy feat. I arrived at my job looking like a drowned rat. And I had to stay like that all day. From then on, I carry all my makeup with me all the time. Cuz you never know!
When we visited Italy in April, we went back to Vicenza and the army post. A friend of ours is stationed there and was able to get us on post. And we found where we used to live--it's no longer government owned. Driving those streets brought back so many memories. Of course, it's changed a lot, but it was where I feel like I truly became a wife and an adult. I can't help but smile whenever I think of that beautiful place.
this was taken on our trip last April
our apartment is the one with the awning--that's the same door as in the other picture