Wednesday, July 9, 2008

. . . celebrated an anniversary

On July 9, 1971, A Friday evening, two ridiculously young, idealistic and fundamentally dumb kids stood up before a priest, their families and friends and vowed to love, honor and cherish forever and forever, not having any idea how long forever could be. And they said it wouldn't last. . . ha, ha, ha (that's the last laugh.)

Our wedding was nice enough but bore no actual resemblence to the extravaganzas that pass for today's weddings. I bought my gown on sale for $100 at a local department store; my mom made my two sisters' bridemaid dresses (out of navy blue calico -- it was sort of a hippy wedding), we wore flowers in our hair, and we had cake, punch and mints (provided by my dad, the baker) in the church basement. No sit-down dinners for 500 of our closest friends; no DJ, no dancing, no music at all. The honeymoon was short -- a weekend, because I had to be back at work on Monday. I don't think my parents knew that my husband didn't have a job at that particular time, but he was playing baseball and he had to be back for a game, too. I remember it being very hot and humid, and I remember being embarrassed upon returning to my parents' house to pick up some wedding presents on the way back to our house, because now they knew for a fact that I had done "it."

One of the promises I extracted from my husband before we got married was that he return to school, and he kept his promise. I worked for an insurance company and went to Washburn University at night; he worked in an orphanage for a while, taking care of a bunch of grade school kids that became part of our family; then he worked at a tire factory on the late shift, and then he managed a gas station, all the while going to school at KU full-time. It was actually fun . . . all our friends were as broke as we were, so we all helped each other out when needed.

Since that day, we have added two kids to the family, then a son-in-law; and now two grandbabies. We moved countless times; we lived in horrible places and wonderful places; we survived our teenage kids and their college years. We mourned the deaths of both of our fathers. We fought (I broke a window once when I threw a shoe at my husband, back in the day -- it didn't hit him) and we made up and renegotiated and readjusted and we mellowed out. And today we have been married for 37 years. Amazing. I remember thinking right before we got married that everything would be fine, we could actually live happily on love and very little money, as long as we were together. I think we have been better together than we would have been separately. But the living on love part. . . not so much. It helps to have another means of support.

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