It was Sept. 27, 1963. JFK was in the White House, the
Vietnam War was just ramping up, and I had landed a job as editor
of the Byron Tribune soon after I graduated from NIU.
At 3 p.m. that Friday I left Byron, driving toward Sycamore,
turning on to Lukens Road north of town to a farmhouse where
a beautiful young gal was waiting for me with a packed suitcase.
Her parents were not aware of our intention to elope that day.
Luckily for me, they were not home when I whisked her away to
a church in Byron.
We already had the marriage license and the United Church
of Christ minister ready to conduct a simple ceremony at 5 p.m.
We had asked the owners of the local Ben Franklin store to stand
up with us.
After the 10 minute exchange of vows, I gave the minister $20
cash in an envelope and we headed for the Red Coach Inn nearby
for a celebratory dinner with our witnesses Joe and Carole Bolin.
They gave us our only wedding gift that day a new toaster.
Two of the reasons we eloped: her parents thought I was
this brash, skinny kid who wanted to write for a newspaper, instead
of a healthy-looking farm boy who could lift a bale of hay and
maybe go into farming like the rest of their family. My parents
thought we were rushing things too fast after only eight months
of dating. They were both probably right to think that way.
There were a few others factors, but Ill keep it
simple. In case you were wondering, we did not have our first
child until 21 months later in July 1965.
Getting back to the elopement: Kay noted in her scrapbook-diary,
We spent the wedding night at the TravelLodge in Des Plaines,
then drove on to Chicago the next day Saturday
and went to the Museum of Science and Industry, walked along
the lake, and got to know each other. Saturday afternoon we checked
in to the Morrison Hotel.
Newlyweds Barry and Kay Schrader stand outside the
church following their exchange of vows. No wedding dress, no
flowers, no rice, not even a string of cans behind their car
when they left the church. The Byron Tribune the next week.