Sunday, September 7, 2008 is our 50th wedding anniversary. How did that happen? It seems like it was just yesterday when we walked out of the church to begin our life together. This will be a long post; bear with me, as I have a lot to say. After all, it IS a very momentous occasion.
It all started on our first date in the seventh grade. I know -- what were our parents thinking? Believe it or not, we were only 11 years old. Bob's oldest sister drove us to the dance and took this picture. I love that I'm taller than Bob!
By the time we graduated from high school, Bob had grown taller; and I think we knew where this relationship was headed. But, we decided to be sure and test the waters. So, we headed off to different colleges.
At the end of our freshman year in college, we became engaged and I transferred to his college; and after our sophomore year we got married in our home town. We thought we knew it all; but at age 19, we were so naive and didn't have a clue.
FIFTY YEARS AGO, we thought it would be no problem to support ourselves. What were WE thinking? We were still in college, and had no real jobs. Our idea of money was that you got your paycheck; you spent your paycheck. We barely thought about things like taxes, insurance, interest, savings; and thoughts of recessions, workplace problems, inflation, health care costs, investments, etc. etc. weren't even in our vocabulary. We didn't even consider the cost of educating ourselves and our future children . How were we to know that in the end there would be tuition and/or expenses for 8 college degrees? Just when we thought we had it all figured out, our minds and bodies began to slow down; and we were faced with a new challenge -- retirement! WHO KNEW supporting ourselves would be so hard and stressful?
FIFTY YEARS AGO, we thought we wanted children someday. We certainly didn't have a clue about this aspect of life. Didn't you take care, support and love children for 18 years, then send them on their way? No one told us that "once a parent, always a parent". We discovered that once you sent them on their way, this would begin the most difficult years of parenting. When they were babies, we didn't realize how much heartache but so much joy was wrapped up in those little bundles of innocence. But we persevered, we did our best, and WHO KNEW that the bonus would be grandchildren?
FIFTY YEARS AGO, we knew we wanted a home and to build a nest together. We didn't realize it would be four apartments and nine houses that needed lots of paint, new appliances, furniture, window treatments, gobs of paint, flooring, renovation, restoration, more paint, and work, work, work. It would involve hundreds of trips to the lumber yard and hardware store and the need for tools, tools, tools. But, WHO KNEW, that feathering our nest would be so much fun?
FIFTY YEARS AGO, we knew we were "in love". We didn't have any idea how that love would grow, change and deepen until we would become one. We were too naive to understand that love is about honor, respect, and the way you take care of each other. WHO KNEW that love and commitment would be the easy part?
About a year ago we started to talk about how we wanted to celebrate this milestone. We quickly disregarded the idea of renewing our vows. We made that commitment "to honor, love, and (yes) obey until death do us part". We still stand by that vow made 50 years ago. We then talked about a big party for everyone we know and love. That is the custom on 50th anniversaries around here -- a huge celebration with lots of food, people, videos, pictures, the wedding dress, and lots of hoopla. For some reason, that didn't seem right for us. Our marriage isn't about other people; it is about us, just us alone together. So, then we started talking about a trip. When we were first married we thought that we would travel a lot, but life seemed to get in the way; and we never got to all the places we wanted to. So, as a celebratory trip, in May this year we flew to London, took the Chunnel to Paris, flew to Boston, rented a car and drove up the coast of Maine to the Maritime Provinces of Canada. We saw palaces, museums, monuments, and engineering marvels. We sat in sidewalk cafes and out-of-the-way restaurants devouring wonderful food; we shopped for antiques and walked through flea markets and street fairs; and were entertained by the locals. We saw amazing scenery; traveled in planes, trains, subways, by bus and taxi. Just the two of us together, alone --it was wonderful!!
So, now on our actual anniversary; we will do what we have done on practically every Sunday for 50 years -- go to church, have lunch, maybe a nap, and then go for a little drive and stop for a Coke.
With God's grace, we will have more of the same wonderful life in the future. If it isn't broken, no need to fix it. They say that growing old isn't for sissies; but growing old with someone you love is a great journey.