(written in 1995)
According to a letter we received from the principal at the children’s Christian school, each class would be doing age-appropriate units on family and interpersonal relationships. In other words: sex education was on the agenda.
Sex education at a Christian school comes from a different perspective than at a public school. At the public high school I attended, in grade 9 we learned the technicalities: “Here’s how it’s done; everybody does it, but do be careful and think about consequences.”
At the Christian school, the kids learn sex belongs inside a marriage between a husband and wife.
So when Paul approached Marty and myself with, “I have to ask you some questions about your honeymoon,” we thought this was part of the family life curriculum.
That the interview was really an oral history project was just as well; like our honeymoon, more of it was about our car than sex.
There was the day I navigated us through the heart of Nova Scotia on a gravel trail that didn’t deserve to be on the map. The potholes and boulders sent Elsie, our little green Datsun, to the nearest muffler shop sounding like a diesel. Marty was not impressed. A new wife learns to be very quiet at times such as these.
Then we had the slow leak in the left rear tire. It only let out air if parked in a certain position.
Late one afternoon, heading back to Ontario through Montreal in a torrential downpour, our honeymoon reached a climax. As water splashed up through the floor boards, and rose around our feet; the alternator light flashed ominously. This was after we had already bought a new alternator–not to mention the new muffler, a new battery and a new tire.
Marty slammed his hands down on the steering wheel reciting a few choice words he has since dropped from his vocabulary. In response, the horn cover popped off into the back seat.
Meanwhile, I kept navigating us onto turn-off lanes either towards the heart of the city or to the further reaches of the province. We just couldn’t see the overhead signs through the driving rain.
It was like a bad dream. I wanted to stay in a motel and continue our journey later–much later–after the storm, after the night.
“There’s a motel,” I squeaked.
“We’re going home,” decreed my new husband, the accountant, thinking of all the money we’d spent already, mostly on Elsie. He was as good as his word. Eight hours later Marty carried me over the threshold of our apartment.
“What’s a honeymoon?” Amanda asked me several days after Paul’s interview.
“It’s a trip that a man and a woman who just got married take so they get to know each other better.”
Amanda who obviously had been mulling over the honeymoon concept since the interview, was really disappointed with my answer. “Oh,” she said, “I thought on a honeymoon, you go to the moon and you eat honey or something.” Now there’s an idea.
(More thoughts on Honeymoons)