In September 1966 my girlfriend and I were planning on attending the Freshman Dance at Arlington State College where we attended classes. She said she would get us a ride with a guy she knew. When they picked me up that night, I found out that her friend, Dan Dias, didn’t realize that he was picking me up for the dance too.
After we got to the dance, our mutual friend spent the evening dancing with a guy that she had met and ended up having him take her home. That left Dan taking me home. When I got home and as we were saying good night, I asked Dan how did he spell his last name; he replied, “Said spelled backwards.” So I wrote in the air “said” spelled backwards and got “Dias.”
We dated the rest of the semester. In December 1966 we went out to dinner at the Candlelight Inn; over dinner Dan proposed to me and gave me my engagement ring. We didn’t set a date right away. The determining factor in the date was made after Dan and I had our car accident in May 1967. We had driven to Houston to see the new Houston Astrodome. It was early morning when we decided to return to Arlington to finish up our college semester. Dan had a 1965 Marlin which had a metal dashboard (back in those days). He has a magnetic flashlight that he had placed on the lower part of the dashboard. As we were driving down the interstate about 3 a.m. Dan hit the flashlight with his knee. As he did this, the flashlight fell down to the floorboard. As Dan bent down to pickup the flashlight, he turned the steering wheel to the right just enough to drive off the side of the road and hit the embankment. As we hit, I jolted to the floorboard and my right leg met the floorboard as it came into the car. I broke my right leg. Dan finally got the police and ambulance there after running across the country side trying to find a house that he could call from. (Remember, there were NO cell phones back in these days).
I was in a cast for 6 months. Neither Dan and I finished our college. I went home to Mom and Dad’s (Velma and Tex) to recuperate in Duffau, TX. Dan was already in the Navy Reserve doing his weekend duty at NAS Dallas in Grand Prairie; he decided to go active duty to keep from being sent to Vietnam. He was stationed at NAS Dallas for all but 1 ½ of his 21 years of military time. Grand Prairie is North of Duffau – about 2 hrs. Dan would visit me every weekend when he didn’t have duty at NAS Dallas. After coming for about 3 months, we decided that I could clean our house as well as I could help Mom clean hers. So we decided we would set a date.
Dan is Catholic and since I wasn’t strong in any religion at that time (even though I was raised Baptist), I decided I wanted to take Catholic instruction and be married in the Catholic Church. I started Catholic instruction in September 1967 and was married on Friday, October 13, 1967. I had a walking cast on my leg. Mom had made me a dress for my high school senior prom out of white brocade. This dress was converted into my wedding dress with a train and pointed sleeves. She also made me a boot out of the white brocade (yes, we were able to find the matching material almost two years later ) that covered my cast. The R shoe was covered in the same matching white brocade. When you look at our wedding pictures, the photographer happened to catch my covered cast foot as we were walking back down the aisle to the front of the church after the ceremony. Dan has labeled that picture – catching the best foot forward.
After 44 years, we are still catching the best foot forward.