Robby and I are both from upper middle class working families. Robby grew up in town, while I was raised in the country. When we married, we didn't have much of anything (except love)....money or jobs with salaries that paid very much. So, on a search for living quarters, we came upon a little one-bedroom, government subsidised apartment. And with hand-me-down and bump and dent furnishings, we moved into our first place.
I knew absolutely NOTHING about "keeping house". Case in point...I had 2 items in my "cooking repertoire"; corn dogs and spaghetti. To this day, Robby cringes whenever I mention cooking spaghetti for dinner (that's the only 2 things he ate for our entire first year of marriage). The other thing that definitely was not my forte' was laundry. How could it be? I was never required to even learn how to operate a washing machine while growing up. I KNOW...this sounds odd even to me, because I required all of my own children to learn how to do this during their high school years. I actually typed and printed up a step-by-step instruction sheet of "How To Wash Clothes". It was posted in the washroom and it described in detail EXACTLY how to separate and wash clothes; including which cycle to wash them on and the appropriate water temperature to be used. I would send them out into the world with a little more knowledge that I was sent out with. So, when the "dirty clothes closet" became filled to overflowing, Robby asked, "When do you think you're going to wash clothes?" This was not said with sarcasm or in a derogatory manner...it was just an informational question. Hmmm...I actually hadn't thought of "washing" the clothes that were in there, so I replied, "Well, I guess I'll have to call my mother and ask her HOW to wash them." If he appeared surprised, I didn't notice. He just nodded, said OK and went about his way. I DID call my mother and wrote down the instructions, which I took along with numerous loads of dirty clothes and rolls of quarters to the laundry mat. Ahhh...married life! Another skill learned. I had the ability to not only prepare 2 staple dishes, but now I could wash clothes as well.
There was another "little surprise" at our first home that I hadn't counted on either. Now, although I had grown up in the country, I had NEVER seen a mouse or rodent of any kind in my childhood home ( I suppose it hadn't occurred to me that perhaps my mother had some sort of pest control service that made this possible), so, you can imagine my surprise when leisurely walking to the kitchen one morning, a mouse ran across my path. "EEEK!", I squealed as I jumped up in the sink (isn't this what they did in the cartoons?). Robby came running to see what all of the commotion was about. I told him that I had seen a mouse run across the room and although he sort of rolled his eyes, he DID look behind the refrigerator where I told him I saw it retreat (he did this only to appease me, I'm quite sure). He didn't seem too concerned with our new roommate, when I mentioned that we should seek to remove his presence. I told him that I would go to the store that day and buy a mouse trap and put a piece of cheese in it to catch the culprit (hey...that's what they did in the cartoons, didn't they?). Laughing at me, he said, "You'll NEVER catch a mouse that way." Not deterred by his lack of confidence in me, I set out to prove him wrong. I got my trap and my cheese and then set it in the path where I had previously seen our little rodent run. The next morning while Robby was showering, I went in the kitchen to check the progress of "project catch a mouse". Pulling a rolling cart away from the wall, there I found the smashed remainder of Mr. Mouse...Success! "Robby!", I shouted..."Come here!" He came around the corner again (I'm sure thinking he would again find me in the sink) and to his astonishment he saw that I had indeed caught the mouse with a trap and small piece of cheese.
Thinking back on this first place of ours...and many other subsequent homes, I have come to realize something. It was never the "place" where we lived that made us happy. No matter where I have lived over the years, I can honestly say that I have been content there. The structure or the items that you put in it do not create happiness; it is the people and the relationships that do that. So, my advice to newly weds? Embrace each other and enjoy all of your experiences together. These are the things that you take with you wherever you go...your memories.