Monday, June 25, 2012

Beautiful Brides: Author Crystal Miller

I had been teaching elementary school and coaching basketball and track for a year when I married Chris at the end of the school year, June 20, 1981. 

He was in medical school and we got married on Saturday and he had to report in to a summer internship on Monday. When we moved to Indianapolis where he started his 2nd year of med school, he threw this country girl a map of the city of Indianapolis and said, “I don’t have time to show you around.” That was the beginning of many sad and sometimes funny adventures for me.

But, my dress! My mother didn’t have a wedding dress or even a wedding photo. She eloped to Mississippi with my dad. So, I had this grand adventure of shopping for a wedding dress. Only I was not rich and was paying for almost all of the wedding myself, including my dress. 

I tried on oodles and one dress made me feel like a princess—it was so beautiful. Sadly, it was over a $1000.00 and I couldn’t afford that! So, at last I found the dress I’m wearing in a very small shop in the shadier side of town. 

It was a size 14 and I wore a size 6. Gah. It was going to be a major workover. It was a discontinued dress and I thought it was beautiful, plus, it was antiqued-looking, and by a famous designer. The dress shop owner got on the phone and found a size 8 in New York City. And yes, they’d ship it to her. I tried it on just days before my wedding! Phew! And it was exactly the money I had allocated for a dress. Thank you, God!

It had this beautiful Juliet cap & veil, and fabric-covered round buttons all up the back, with seed pearls all over the bodice. I never thought I would have such a dress

The day before our rehearsal, my mother was helping me bring some boxes up to our 2nd floor apartment in this old house. Across the street lived a teacher I had worked with the year before. 

I hear him calling me from the door downstairs and he says my mother has fallen and is hurt. Her arm looked wrong and her face was scraped from forehead to chin—skin gone and bleeding! 

She insisted she was ok, but Tony (his name) looked at me like, “Are you kidding me?” and I told him to help me get her into the car. (She was soooo stubborn!) 

We walked into the very ER that my husband-to-be was working. Yeah. Ok, so that afforded me a first class pass to get her in right away. While I’m standing there waiting for the doctor to call in a surgeon, every single staff member, including the nurses and doctors came by to meet me! It was a glimpse of what was to come in my marriage, little did I know!

The doctor wanted to take her to surgery to set it, but she wouldn’t hear of it. She was going to be at our wedding if it killed her. (I’m an only daughter.) 

So he loaded her up on pain pills, set it best as he could and sent her home. On my wedding day she was on pain pills and my aunts had covered her scraped face with the thickest pancake makeup ever. 

You could barely tell in the photos that she was in pain or that all the skin was gone from her face! She was so stubborn—I miss her terribly. 

She wanted so much to be at the wedding and to have all those photos of the family all dressed up.

But the best part was that our families not only got along great, but my mom and dad loved my husband as their own. The pastor said some words at the rehearsal that were poignant and loving and each person came up to me to say that he had spoken especially to them. And that made me happiest of all. 

And that dress…I have it tucked away since I have four sons and I’m not sure anyone else will wear it. But it represented something better, as my mom said and she wanted to be there to see it! 

Crystal Laine Miller spent ten years as an elementary classroom teacher, P.E. teacher and coach before turning in her meticulous lesson plans and whistle for marriage to a gritty, joyful life with an ER doc and staying home with their four sons--band mom and school board duties included.

She’s amassed over 900 published book reviews, articles and columns, was a paid acquisitions reader for agents and editors and has been a judge in the ACFW Genesis Contest for many years. 

She’s served the ACFW Indiana Chapter as vice president, president and advisor and was nominated for the 2008,2009, 2010 and 2011 ACFW Mentor of the Year. Married 31 years with four sons (aged 20+ now,) she has plenty of material for the novel she currently is working on—a contemporary romance laced with humor.

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