Wednesday, August 21, 2013

An Ecumenical Conference in Illinois

(click here to read previous story: Camp Pickett)

Before his graduation in the spring of 1953, during his junior or senior year, Dinon drove from The University of Wisconsin down to Illinois to attend an Ecumenical conference.

He arrived a little earlier than most, and as a result volunteer to help direct parking for the event.

One of the cars he directed in was driven by a girl, about his age, named Liz Marshall.  After he waved her toward a spot, she turned to her girlfriends in the back seat and exclaimed, "Oo, wasn't he good-looking?"

Liz had driven up from Washington Missionary College in Silver Spring, Maryland - close to Washington, D.C. - to attend the conference with other members of her church youth group ... And to pursue one of the boys in the group that was, conveniently, attending.  But Dinon caught her attention; she remembered their meeting, even though he did not.

July 1954: Liz and unknown child
After the conference, Liz and Dinon somehow ended up in the same group of people that went out for a late-night snack in the little Illinois town.  "I don't know how I was in the group, there were a number of students there and I was just one of them, and we went to this restaurant late," he said.

At some point before the group parted ways, Dinon and Liz spoke and exchanged mailing addresses, and even corresponded for a short time.

"I didn't keep up a running letter conversation with Liz," Dinon said.  "I practically forgot about her.  I didn't really write her a lot - I met her, I got her address, but she was in Washington, and I was up in Wisconsin.  There was no expectation of ever seeing each other again."

Another photo of Liz
But all that changed a year or two later when Dinon was staying in Camp Pickett, a thousand miles away from home but less than 200 miles away from D.C.

"[Camp Pickett] was close enough that you could find someone to take you into Richmond, VA or Washington, D.C.," Dinon said.  "Well, Liz was going to college just outside of Washington, D.C. in Silver Spring, Maryland."

So he recovered her mailing address and struck up a correspondence again.  After all, she was much closer than anyone else he knew, including his fiancée.  And it didn't hurt that Liz was a smart and very pretty young lady.

"While I was at Camp Pickett, I went to Washington, D.C. a few times to visit Liz," Dinon admitted.  "I guess I was lonely or something like that.  I thought, well, she's a girl, so, ok.  So I went to see her several times."  He also confirmed that when he went to visit her, "It was dating her, yes, that's right."

And as the weeks went by and he continued to date Liz - while, unbeknownst to Liz, still engaged to Dorothy Brown - Dinon began to fall in love with her.

(Next story: A Pair of Fiancees)


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