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I'm Not Crazy Anymore

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  So now Renee had my class ring and we were going steady. She would come to my house on her Honda and my sisters would always yell, "Johnny, your Honda girl is here." Our dates consisted of eating out, the two of us riding her Honda, an occasional movie or, our usual, going to Southdale mall where we walk around window shopping.  
Our favorite eating place was Henry's Hamburgers which was in Bloomington right across 98th Street from Hardware Hank. We always ordered two cheeseburgers (very greasy) and a family order of fries which was delivered in a small, grease soaked grocery bag filled to the top. I would just say to Renee, "I think I'm a quart low on grease" and she knew where we were going. On one of our window shopping trips at Southdale, Renee stopped at the window display of J. B. Hudson Jewelers. The sole thing in the window was an engagement/wedding ring set and she said, "They are so pretty. I love them." This was in January 1966. I felt pretty good because I had gone from me being "crazy" for mentioning marriage, to her hinting at marriage in eight months. My patience was paying off. Every time we would hang out at Southdale she would lead me up to the window with the rings where and she would longingly stare for a few minutes.
On my pay day, February 24th, 1966, I went over to J.B. Hudson and picked up the rings. Then I picked Renee up at Kennedy High School when she got out from class. I took her to Southdale knowing she would go look in the window.  She was so disappointed when they were gone she made me feel bad for the joke I was playing on her. But I stuck to the plan and went from there to Henry's. I parked in our usual spot then before we got out of the car I told her to wait for a minute. Then I said, "Will you marry me," as I pulled the engagement ring out of my pocket. She freaked out because she was so excited. I felt great as I was no longer "crazy". We skipped eating and went to her parent's house to show them the ring. Not only were they not thrilled they told us we were "crazy". Well, I thought, at least now I wasn't crazy by myself. Then we drove all the way up to Coon Rapids where my parents lived. My mom was excited at first but my dad's disapproval caused her excitement to fade immediately. He told me that he was sure that this would end up making me drop out of college. He was the only reason I was attending college to begin with so he ended up to be right but I did stay in school until the following winter quarter. I took this photo just after we got engaged by setting a Poloroid camera with a self timer on Renee's dresser.
Over the next weeks we spent a lot of time at both of our parent's houses. My mom and dad fell in love with Renee and all my dad's reservations about us getting married soon disappeared. Albert decided to build an addition onto their mobile home as a new bedroom for Renee. In the spring of 1966 I spent every day for over a month helping him build and we became close. In December of 1966 Renee and I had decided on June 24th, 1967 for our wedding date.

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