The Invisible Woman’s Club

Sparkly SandalsHow The Club Began!

(A true story; I’ve changed the names to protect myself!)

It all became clear that day on the bus. I finally had a label to pin on an idea that had been in my head for a long time. The idea had begun to collect in the recesses of my brain several years back. I’m not sure when it all started. If I had kept a notepad in my purse to record my astute observations and insights through the years, it would be full by now. I would be well on my way to writing a book on the subject.

It was a lovely spring day. Mabel and I were among a group from our church on our way to a two-day inspirational and educational women’s event in a town about two hundred miles north. Everyone was in high spirits chatting away as the bus left our church parking lot. We even had our brown bag lunches and iced-down soft drinks ready to enjoy when the time came.
Mabel and I chose seats near the back of the bus. We left a few vacant rows between us and the rest of the ladies. I’ve thought about that a few times since then. Why did we choose to sit a little separate from the other women? I think I know now, but I’ll save that for later.

Mabel and I are good friends and we had lots to talk about. But soon our attention was drawn to the conversation going on at the front of the bus. The group leader was standing in the aisle at front more or less leading the informal topic. The topic was how old certain famous Christian women leaders look now, and what they are doing to try to look younger. What? Mabel and I looked at each other in disbelief. But, we kept listening, of course. Apparently the subject was a favorite judging from all the laughter and willing participation.

After listening with rapt attention for several miles it occurred to me that Mabel and I were the oldest women on board the bus… far. Should I put a stop to this before it goes too far? Wouldn’t they be embarrassed if they looked back at us two “Senior” church ladies? Now, mind you, neither Mabel nor I have indulged in plastic surgery but we still look pretty good. We do use makeup and deodorant! We even wear those sparkly, brightly colored open-toed sandals…….without hose. What more can you ask?

Deciding to break in to their conversation seemed like a good idea, before Mabel and I got really angry. So, I bravely called out “Hello. Are we invisible back here?” Utter silence. I continued “Mabel and I are both older than the women you are discussing.” Even quieter than before. Then we could hear quiet chuckles, shifting in the seats, rustling of papers. Then someone said “Time for lunch.”

Attention quickly turned to our sandwiches and drinks and conversation was at a minimum. By the way, to this day Mabel still brags about how much food she brought for the two of us. It was her idea, not mine. But I enjoyed it all weekend.

Maybe it was the rise in my blood sugar that cleared my head. But suddenly it came to me. My long-held thesis was taking shape and actually had a title. Here it is: The Invisible Woman’s Club. And Mabel and I are members. Since I’m the first to give it a label or title, I think I should be the President.

Mabel and I talked the rest of the way to the city up north. The younger ladies were rather quiet.

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President, The Invisible Woman’s Club.

“You Can’t Come In Here!”

A “Before We Had Children” Story

Sept 1955 Sir Walter Hotel VA Beach, VA

The other night during a delightful dinner out with our son and his wife I told them a story they had never heard before. Amazing!!! After all these years. It’s one of our many “before we had children” stories.

It happened in September of 1955 at the Sir Walter Hotel on Virginia Beach, Virginia. At the time David was stationed at the big Naval station in Norfolk, Virginia and had a 3 or 4 day pass. I was working as an artist at a high fashion store in Houston, Texas. I flew there (my very first plane ride, by the way) and was met at the airport in Norfolk by David and his First Class Petty Officer who served on the same ship as David. We appreciated the ride out to Virginia Beach.

It was a magical weekend; the beach, a beautiful hotel right on the beach, and David. One evening we decided to have dinner in the main restaurant of the hotel. We were dressed very casually; David in slacks and a T-shirt (tucked in), and I wore black Capri pants and a long-sleeved blouse, tucked in,also. We didn’t even have on sandals. The only shoes David had were his Navy shoes….very conservative.  Nevertheless, we were told we could not come in because of their dress code.

This surprising pronouncement by the Maitre di’ was clearly heard by many diners already in the restaurant and drew quite a lot of attention. For some reason, I think we were getting more attention that weekend than we realized. But I’m happy to say, his words didn’t bother us at all. David asked him if there was any other place in the hotel we could eat. He said “Yes, there is a hamburger bar in the basement.” That sounded wonderful to us and off we went. We had a great time and forgot about the rejection. We even found a TV there in the basement. In those days there were no TVs in the rooms. See us posing by the TV in the collage above? That was cool then.

The next day the hotel manager came up to us and apologized for what had happened in the main restaurant and offered to drive me to the airport when I was ready to leave. We accepted his kind apology and offer. Virginia Beach was a long way from the airport in Norfolk. From the airport David returned to his ship.

It turns out I would need all the help I could get, because while chasing my rubber raft on the beach, I sprained my ankle rather badly. The flight home was very long; I flew from Norfolk in a small plane to Washington D.C., had a several hours wait, flew to Atlanta and landed, flew to New Orleans and landed, and finally made it back to Houston. At each stop the Attendant had to awaken me to fasten my seat belt then I would go back to sleep immediately.  My parents met me at Hobby Airport and I made it back to my drawing board at work just in time.

About a year later, David was transferred to “floating land duty”, at Little Creek Naval Station near Norfolk, at least that’s what he called it, and I moved to Norfolk to be with him all the time. We had a wonderful time there, making many friends……and creating more stories.

Our weekend at the Sir Walter Hotel is just one “before we had children” story. I have plenty; we were married four years before our first child arrived. More to come.

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Our 62nd Wedding Anniversary

Anniversary #62 Oct. 17, 2014October 17, 1952

Yay us! It doesn’t seem possible that we have been married (yes, to each other) for sixty-two years. Our wedding was held on a beautiful fall evening in Houston, Texas at a little church that no longer exists, Woodland Christian Church. My Father and David’s Mother had to get the marriage license because we were too young; I was 17, David was 19. My brother, Rev. Emil H. Bunjes, Jr. officiated. It was his very first wedding to perform as a new Pastor. We were all nervous but it was lovely. The balcony at the church was filled with  my girlfriends from high school. We were all in our drum and bugle corp/drill team, the Reagan Red Coats. A lively group. David had graduated from high school in January of that year, 1952 and I graduated the following June. My best friend, Sue, was my Maid-of-Honor. We met in the 6th grade and are still best friends. I guess we really are BFFs (Best Friends Forever).

I designed my wedding dress and my Mother made it. I still have it. My Mother also made my “going away” suit”. My Honeymoon wardrobe was simple…..really simple….blue jeans and plaid shirts. David and I had shirts that matched. That was considered very cool at the time.

We spent our Honeymoon in New Braunfels, Texas, staying at the beautiful, old Faust Hotel. I wonder what they thought when we walked in? It’s a good thing we had made our reservations in advance. We came home a week later to a room full of more wedding gifts that had come in. So blessed. We moved into an upstairs apartment in a lovely old home in the Montrose district of Houston close to bus lines to take us to our jobs. David was in the Naval Reserves and had to be gone once a week in the evening. I had never been at home alone….EVER! But that’s another story! Funny, too!

Guess I had better stop now, after all, there is a lot to say about what has happened since we returned from New Braunfels; David went to college, then served in the U.S. Navy, David went back to college, our two sons were born, David went to graduate school; our daughter was born. See what I mean…..lots of living!

Someday I’ll go all the way back to the beginning and write about how David and I met. It makes a great story that our children, grandchildren and friends love to hear. It’s funny, and yes, it’s all true. It’s my opinion that people don’t like LONG blogs; David disagrees and writes really long, scholarly blogs. I don’t.

We are blessed with three children and six grandchildren (counting the two newest who are married to two of our oldest grandchildren. We proudly call them our grandchildren, also. We are retired now and enjoying life immensely.

Our going Steady photos, 1951

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,

who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

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