HISTORY and TIMES of THE KINGDOM
Ralph Pass Story
The following is a contribution from a former Kingdom member and reader of this website. It gives a brief peek into what it was like to court the affection of your desire as a young adult in the Kingdom.
"God works in Mysterious Ways His wonders to perform."
following are the events that led to the marriage of
I was a student at a Bible Class, at Chestnut Hill in New Boston, New Hampshire. I was there from July 1947 until August 1948, when the following events started.
My interest in one of the young ladies, at the Class, prompted me to ask to speak to my teacher. Herman Anderson was the Bible School teacher and Esther's uncle. Some time later I was informed that he could see me. I was walking from the mens dormitory down through the kitchen, and dining room, thinking about what I was going to say and about whom I would tell him I was interested in. I thought of several of the young ladies and their qualities, or lack of them. I had an interest in Esther Anderson and decided she had all the qualities that I desired. That was the final decision as I opened the door and entered. I sat down and told Herman my feelings. He listened patiently and didn't promise anything. I knew that when you're in the Bible Class such things were shelved and were not a possible subject for consideration. Esther had completed four years in the class, and I knew something that he didn't know, I was leaving the class.
That September, during a church gathering, in Boston, I informed Mr. Willard Gleason, head of the Bible School, that it was time for me to return to California. Mr. Gleason was a white haired elderly man with a white bushy mustache. I had finished a year at the Bible Class and it was time to leave. I was told, "when you go to the Bible Class you go for four years." I disagreed with him and stated that I was leaving.
Later I was called in with another senior minister, Mr. Victor Abram, and Mr. Gleason. They proceeded to apply the pressure on me. I listened and when they had finished I stated that I felt that I had to return to California. They became frustrated trying to convince me to stay in the Bible class.
After the gathering I went back to New Hampshire and wrote my mother, (she was in Rhode Island), that I wanted to leave and return to California. The pressure continued to build. Other ministers talked to me and told me that I was taking myself out of the church by going against the advice of the ministers. I was in tears but still firmly convinced that I was to leave the Bible class. In December we went to Mr. and Mrs. Obadiah Aldrich's home in the upstate Catskill Mountains of New York.
My mother had taken care of Mrs. Aldrich many years ago and they were very dear friends. Several days after we arrived my mother started having severe pains. They were so bad that she made out her will. At the time I knew nothing about kidney stones. After several days of the pains she improved and I took her to a doctor for an examination. The doctor confirmed that she had passed a stone.
Victor Abram arrived and I asked to talk to him. I told him of my interest in Esther Anderson. He gave me no hope because of my leaving the Bible Class. After Christmas I was told, if I wanted to, I could go to the home of Mr. Wakeman, in Sherman Connecticut. He required help with his business while he worked on printing a new songbook. I agreed since my mother and David were returning to California. It also gave me time to work on my Mechanical Engineering correspondence course.
Mr. Wakeman was in his late 70's. He was a watchmaker by education. He designed and made his own machines. He wrote and published music. He was a capable orchestra and choir conductor. He turned down orders for his products so that he could have time to work on church projects. He was, at this time, creating the zinc plates, for printing on his platen press, for the new church songbook. He was to be my mentor for the next 18 months.
Bert Anderson, Esthers brother, sent me a piece of wood to make a napkin ring. I turned and grooved the wood on Mr. Wakeman's lathe and engraved a verse from the Bible on it and filled the engraving with light plastic wood. "Whether therefore ye eat or drink or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." I wrapped a strand of bright copper wire on each end.
I gave the napkin ring to Esther's brother Bert to give to Esther. She received it and used it at the Bible Class. When Herman Anderson found out that it was from me it was confiscated. Esther still was not aware of my interest in her. She knew that I made the napkin ring but it had no meaning to her. She told me later she had decided, when we were in the class, that I was not the one she wanted to marry.
Every month Victor Abram, Frank Murray, and a man from the Bible class would come to Mr. Wakman's print shop to print "THE STANDARD." Mr. Murray had started writing "THE COLLEGE WORLD" in the early 1930's and changed its format to the 8 or 12 page printing called THE STANDARD. The first issue of the new format was Jan. 1949.
Every time Victor Abram came I would talk to him and tell him that I was still interested in Esther Anderson. One time he told me to be patient and give the others a chance. My heart sank through the floor. I had not considered that I might have competition.
In April the day before they came to print THE STANDARD I was thinking about Esther and I prayed that she would come. I had no reason to believe that she, or any other lady, would come since men had always come in the past.
In the morning the car arrived and I went downstairs to say hello. I stepped into the room and saw Esther. I have never been so shocked, surprised, and speechless in my life. I turned around and went back up stairs. I lay on my bed and cried. I couldn't believe what I saw. Finally I got myself together and went back downstairs. Of course Esther didn't know anything about my feelings toward her.
The next time Victor came, in May, I explained to him what happened. He didn't give me any encouragement. I continued to sweat it out continually being torn apart with my love for Esther.
In July, finally, Victor talked with Esther and got her permission for me to write to her. I wrote my first letter and told her about my prayer and her appearance. When she wrote she told her side of what happened.
Frank Murray had left New Hampshire driving to Sherman Conn. to print THE STANDARD. They stopped several miles down the road, remembering they should take someone from the Bible Class to help. They turned the car around and drove back to the Bible Class. There was a discussion about who should go, and it was decided to select one of the young ladies. Esther Anderson was suggested and she went with them. No one knew that they were providing the answer to my prayer.
We wrote to each other and finally at the Sept. church convention, in Boston, I had an opportunity to talk to her for about 15 minutes. I had known Esther for several years, but with the strict separation at the Bible class I had never spoken to her. On Oct. 11th I received Esther's letter accepting my proposal.
On Oct. 30th Esther and I were in Maine and left church early just before the announcement of our engagement. My mother was in a car with Mr. Gleason and others. She told him about Ralph and Esther being engaged. He exclaimed, What! My mother said that he was dumbfounded. The year before I had had quite an argument with him about leaving the Bible Class.
Other than the 15 minutes that we talked at the September Convention, I had never talked with Esther before. We had seen each other from a distance, but we did not have an opportunity to get acquainted. Here we were engaged to be married. We had no money, no job, and no home. We were literally starting from nothing but each other.
Since I had been after Esther for over a year, without her knowledge, I wasn't about to wait for a long engagement. The next three months we were busy with preparations for the wedding. Esther made her own wedding dress, and two other dresses.
Esther and I talked with Mr. Ernest Tupper about the wedding license requirements. We had to have a blood test. The doctor broke his needle when he tried to stick me. On the second try he finally drew blood.
We went to the Durham, Maine Town Clerk's office to get our license. The office was a desk in his home. The house was a mess, with magazines, papers and dirt on the bare wooden floors. The town clerk was reclining on a couch, unshaven and without a shirt on over his undershirt. His sister rummaged through a pile of papers on the desk and found the required forms. When she finished filling out the form, and the man moved enough to sign them, she asked if I wanted to pay the two dollars now or later. I told her, as I got the money out, that I would pay for it now and I would "pay for it later" also.
Esther and I went to Lewiston and bought her a wedding ring. With our limited funds we managed to buy a platinum ring for $18.00. The ring was too small and required sizing for a proper fit.
After Thanksgiving, I returned to the Wakeman home in Connecticut. Our wedding date was set for Jan. 8th. 1950. Plans were made for Frank Murray to have the wedding service during the regular Sunday service, and Mr. Ernest Tupper to perform the wedding. I set the type and printed our wedding invitations on scraps of card stock from Mr. Wakemans cake tester materials. I used a wood file on the edges of the invitations to give them a fancy appearance.
When we were preparing to leave for the Christmas gathering in Boston, Mr. Wakeman asked me if I wanted his wedding present then or after we returned from our honeymoon. I said I would prefer to receive it after we returned. I had no idea that his present would be $110.00. I had no money and no way to earn any.
During the Christmas convention, in Boston, I didn't feel well. I was probably nervous. My weight had dropped from a normal 185 down to 169. Esther and I left and went to Portland, Maine to the two masted yacht Coronet. We stayed there with Carl and Crystal Webster for several days. The night before the wedding, in Durham Maine, the temperature was 20 degrees below zero and 12 inches of snow blanketed the area. The road to the church required plowing. We made it to the church on time. After everyone was inside, Esther and I waited in the vestibule at the front entrance. Most of the people in the church had no idea that they were attending a wedding during the regular Sunday morning service. When the music started we walked down the aisle together. We sat on the platform during Frank Murray's 1 and 1/2 hour long service. Then Mr. Tupper performed the wedding and we were pronounced husband and wife.