The best man had parked our car, an older Rambler (our wedding gift from my in-laws), behind the elementary school so it wouldn’t be decorated. No one thought to look for it there so it was safe. After the reception, I went upstairs and changed into my traveling clothes. The car was brought and we were showered with rice. We didn’t know it could hurt the poor little birds that might find it and ingest it. I kissed the boys and my mother good-bye and we were on our way.
We weren’t flush with money (as you can tell from the wedding pictures) so we’d been saving our change to pay for the honeymoon. In 1972, the dollar was much more sound than it is now and it went a whole lot farther. We had lots and lots of change. The week before when we took it to the bank to get it changed into something more manageable, there was no sorting machine. We were shown into a side room with a large table (it was probably the conference room) where we counted and wrapped all those coins. I don’t remember how much it totaled but with some money relatives had slipped my now husband, we had enough to cover gas, meals, and lodging for a week.
It was getting rather late in the day which was a relief because the car had no air conditioning. We were headed for the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and Gatlinburg. One thing we hadn’t counted on was bumper to bumper traffic because of bear sightings. We were crawling along for miles. I offered to get out and run alongside the car but that wouldn’t have helped so I stayed sitting inside, close to my DH. In forum-speak, that’s short for “Dear Husband”. I guess it could be “Dorky Husband” depending on the mood. But my mood was good. Better than that, I was on Cloud Nine.
We made it to the middle of town and decided to get a room and then hunt for food. I don’t know if we were obviously newlyweds or what, but we were shown to a room that was more or less a honeymoon room. Or maybe one for trysts? We couldn’t afford a suite. It had a fireplace (important in August in Tennessee) and was liberally decorated in red. My DH brought the luggage in and we were set except for supper. By that time, we were both famished.
The town of Gatlinburg is rather picturesque in places and very much the tourist-trap in others. It’s well-known as a honeymoon destination. We looked around and lucked out when we found a little shopping area that was off the beaten path. There was a little hole-in-the-wall pizza place featuring hand-tossed crust. We got a large one to go and took it back to the room. It was delicious and we polished off with no problem. It had some of the biggest juiciest olives I ever saw. And the stringiest cheese. DH was determined to use the fireplace so he burned the pizza box in it. Thankfully, the a/c in the room worked flawlessly and the heat didn’t run us out.
DH had a Nikon camera (I think there’s a song about that) and lots of film. What turned out to be a problem was the fact that it was for slides and not prints. Years later, fungus attacked the slides and were almost a complete loss. I’d gotten a slide printer and printed off one of the honeymoon pictures before it was ruined. What I was going to say before I got off on that tangent was we went out and walked around the town and took pictures. Then it was back to the room.
Now, some people might think the only picture I have of the honeymoon isn’t appropriate for a G-rated blog. It is what DH called an “8 second look”. He put the camera on the tripod, set it to snap the picture automatically, and we posed. I do want it understood that this was as wild as the picture-taking got. I know how people’s minds go into overdrive when “camera”, “tripod”, and “motel room” are all grouped together. Nope. Not here. Not for posterity or anything else.
Another thing about the picture-taking (I know everyone is interested in this), my DH had no flash for the camera. It had a “hot shoe” for one but he hadn’t been able to see his way clear to spend the money for it. So…the picture was taken with ambient light. I don’t remember the speed of the film but it needed either more light or a longer exposure. That explains the color and also the graininess. But I think it also gives it a rather romantic quality.
The camera was forgotten, bedtime had come, so we shook hands and went to sleep. Well, no, not really but you don’t really expect details, do you?? We did have a good night’s sleep and woke ready to launch into the rest of the week.
In the next part, I’ll tell you more about the honeymoon. So stay tuned…