Meeting Betty

Dave is in a situation this 1997-98 or longer year that I was in maybe fifty years ago--and I mentally compare his present with my past. It seems like every one and his (and her) buddy is in the act and I recall how it was with me. Many are involved starting from his mother, primarily, and including his relatives and friends. It isn't a united effort by any means but the desired end result would make it seem that it is. I don't think I'm guilty of being in the search but I do hope that what the others are trying to accomplish is singularly successful and I believe that Dave is also. With me it was my mother primarily followed by Mullan neighbors (friends of my folks) and my friends. By this time you probably think that I'm writing about finding Dave a wife. Actually I'm not trying to find him a wife but rather telling about the successful culmination of finding me a wife so many years ago.

The title of this discussion is "Meeting Betty" and I think it was through my efforts that it was successful and not the efforts of relatives, friends and do- gooders. I must admit, though, that some of the events following "Meeting Betty" did involve these nice people which made the the desired end to be accomplished. Let's see if I can remember how it was or should I say "How could I forget"? One day during Christmas time in 1951 a fellow workman in the Test Group of the Puget Naval Shipyard, Ralph McCotter, came to talk with me about non-work things. He asked if I could help him, or rather help the Bremerton Ski Cruisers, with a problem that involved some cash outlay. He said that the Cruisers were putting on a square dance at the Bremerton West Side Community Center to raise some money for their club. The time for the dance was only a few days away and they had failed reach the anticipated goal--in fact they hadn't even sold enough tickets to pay for the rent of the hall and the cost of the orchestra. Ralph said the tickets cost only $2.50, which in those days was quite a bit. I decided to go when Ralph said that there would be some single girls there. I told Ralph that I didn't know much about square dancing even though I had played for some old timer dances during my high school days and thought I could get along with the maneuvers if they had a good caller. Ron Taylor, also of the Test Group, had been listening to our discussion said he would like to try the dances, and had the $2.50 to spend, too.

The night of the dance the three of us climbed into Ralph's car and arrived at the club where the music was playing and some were already dancing. I watched the dancers and knew that it was a "piece of cake". Ralph, who was looking around too, said "Come on, I see some girls and one is a Ski Cruiser that I know." He led us to three girls huddled in the side lines and introduced Ron and me to Dorothy who in turn introduced us to the two girls that were with her. Dorothy said, "Let's dance" and grabbed Ralph. Ron took Esther and I took Betty (no grabbing at this time) And that's how I met Betty. You will notice that I didn't mention last names. I don't know if Dorothy gave them or in my excitement I forgot them. Not knowing tne last names did create a problem for me later.

Betty and I were partners for the evening and I really enjoyed dancing with her. I don't remember how I got along with the dance routines but don't think I stepped on her toes. Any miscues were just something that made us laugh. Dorothy was the Ski Cruiser who probably worked in the shipyard and Betty and Esther were Navy nurses who were scheduled for a six month tour of duty at the Navy Hospital. The evening went by too fast and I can't remember clearly how it ended except that all six of us piled into Ralph's car. Dorothy was brought home, and the nurses were taken to their quarters in the Navy Yard. This was the first "Meeting Betty"--but not the last for I see my wife every day. I said earlier that not knowing or remembering Betty's last name caused me some problems. It was the Christmas season that the Square Dancing was held and I went home to Mullan, Idaho, to celebrate the holidays with my parents. I thought of the dance and especially of Betty and decided to send her a Christmas card and to ask for a date when I returned to Bremerton. I bought a card, wrote my request and mailed it. I knew her address as Nurses Quarters, Navy Yard, but her maiden name was a puzzle -- I wrote what I thought was close enough so the Nurse's quarters could figure out who I meant. They didn't -- and my card was returned to me in Navy Yard City. After some detective work I found her name. I asked Ron Taylor and Ralph McCotter to help in my search and one of them decided to ask Dorothy Fisk, the ski cruiser. Armed with this knowledge and a few phone calls I got in touch with Betty Landis and she agreed to go out with me. I can't remember what we did on this first date but it must have been all right because I started to look forward to our next date, or should I have said dates? We met many times and she said "Yes" when I asked her to marry me during one of our dates. I can't remember the day that this happened but we have been married nearing going on fifty years.