From Chapter 8
As the bitter winter rolled into a Michigan spring, the terrible loneliness of being sidelined by my colleagues began to ease. Then on a spring day in late April, I opened my church history class by saying I had a little announcement to make. I told the students I was engaged to be married. It was a fun class and the students, as usual, were very personal and interactive. They cheered and asked questions. One student asked if I would show my engagement ring. I said that my fiancé (John Worst, Professor emeritus at Calvin College) had not gotten me one—that he’d gotten me real estate instead.
There was a gasp, and I’ll never forget that student in the back row. He was a Methodist minister. He shouted out, where is it? I said west of Grand Rapids. He was incredulous (as though he were the set-up straight man). I drive in from the Muskegon twice a week. How far west? I said about ten miles on Highway 45. Where? he asked, without missing a beat. I paused, as though I didn’t want to tell. Then I said: Rosedale Cemetery. The class howled with laughter. I explained. John had three plots, two where lie buried his dearly departed wives and one for himself. When he asked me to marry him, he wondered aloud if he could purchase the adjoining plot for me. The students were still snickering. I said, don’t laugh; it cost him $640. It is real estate. How many brides-to-be get a gift like that!
Colleagues and administrators would learn only after students spread the news. John and I were married in late August in a small back-yard family ceremony. Only one of my colleagues (with his wife) would be invited to our reception some weeks later, after our honeymoon to Scotland. I had been scheduled to speak there, and it doubled as the perfect time away together.