"Move West young man, haven't you been told? California's full of riches, woman and gold " ~Toby Keith
Yes, Mister had his orders to El Toro in Irvine, CA. What was a freshly smitten girl to do? Go with him of course! After all, I had already known him for 6 weeks! You see, not only was I in a dating slump when I met him, my entire life was in a bit of slump. I started out strong at Memphis State the year before but over the course of the next two semesters, I went through some pretty hard personal times and ending up dropping out of school. I was back living with my mom and had just quit my job. Life was not looking up for me. The girlfriend who had originally helped to bring us together suggested to Mister that he take me with him. After all, it wasn't like I was doing anything else.
He left at the end of May to drive cross country and I was to follow two weeks later. I remember him calling me after he had gotten out there to tell me about the apartment he found for us. It was a one bedroom in Lake Elsinore, CA and only cost $425 a month! I couldn't believe what an amazing deal that was! I would come to find out in a very short amount of time why it was such a great day.
On June 6th, 1994 I boarded a plane bound for John Wayne Airport in Orange County. (How great is CA?! Even their airports are named after movie stars!!) I had packed up everything I could fit into 3 duffel bags, gave away all of my furniture and my car and was ready to start my life anew. I wore a green and cream plaid summer dress and remember being both nervous and excited to see Mister. My plane arrived in the evening and after all of the kissing and hugging, we ventured out to find something to eat. Now remember, I was straight off the plane from Collierville, TN. 20 years with an adventurous spirit but not an adventurous palate. We drove and drove looking for somewhere to eat but I didn't recognize anything! And I wasn't willing to try something new. I was tired, hungry and scared about the huge decision I had just executed and I just wanted something familiar. At one point in the evening, we stopped for gas and I asked the gentleman pumping gas next to me where was a good place to eat. After having to repeat the question several times and not getting a clear answer from him; I climbed back in the truck now frustrated even more than before. When I fussed to Mister about the man who couldn't answer my question, he explained to me that we had a failure to communicate. The man I had approached spoke no English, only Spanish. And I with my strong Southern twang, obviously didn't speak English very well either.
The first month together in Cali didn't get much better. While we had our apartment, we had no bed (we slept on the floor sharing one blanket and one pillow case stuffed with clothes for a pillow), we had no furniture, one towel and no food. Thanks to the maintenance man who gave us a steady supply of items that people who had moved out had left in their old apartments (frying pan, tiny black and white tv, air mattress and lamp) and the person who dumped their hideous yellow and brown plaid couch in the Dumpster (yes, we actually climbed in and pulled it out) our living situation was getting a bit better. However, I was lonely and stuck in this apartment while searching for a job. These were the days before everyone had a cell phone and I would spend hours alone waiting for Mister to come home each night.
(Side Story: One night Mister was 3 hours late coming home and I was worried sick about him! Three hours! He could have been dead! Driven off the side of the mountain! I was sure that something horrible had happened to him. And to make matters worse, I was brimming with excitement about the fact that OJ Simpson was on the run being accused of killing his wife and friend. Finally, Mister comes through the door and we both start talking at once. Me telling him all about what I had been watching on the news and he telling me how he got caught up in traffic because the white explorer that had just passed him had a bunch of cops following him. A. WHITE. EXPLORER? He saw OJ on the run! An amazing note in America's pop culture history!)
As I said, the first month was rough. Really rough. One night around the first of July, Mister woke me up in the middle of the night asking, "Hey, do you want to get married?" Me, "Ok, sure. Goodnight."
The next morning, Mister told me he was excited about getting married. Um, como say what? Who was getting married. It seems I thought I had dreamt the whole thing. Come to find out, Mister had spent the night praying, asking God what to do with this girl that he barley knew. God said, "Marry her!".
On July 8th, 1994 approximately 3 months after having met, Mister and I went to the Santa Ana courthouse and got married. I wore my green plaid sundress and laughed hysterically through the entire ceremony.