Fifty Golden Years
So here we are, March 21, 1970, getting married. If you look closely at the photo, you will see that Chuck has on one brown shoe and one black one. This snapshot taken by a friend is our only photo because something went wrong with the camera Chuck has in his hand. It looks like we got married in some nice romantic getaway, but the quaint little chapel was on the grounds of the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas, and the ceremony and the music were boiler plate. Yes. Las Vegas. Ugh. You see, Chuck’s parents had had a recent divorce and the family was fractured. My mother would not fly. “Do you want a big wedding or the money?” my dad asked. We opted for the money.
We had only known each other since September, when I moved into an apartment two doors down from Chuck. I was about two weeks into my new teaching job in Orange, CA when I came down with mononucleosis. Chuck had actually asked me out, but our first date was cancelled. He brought me a Marie Callendar Sour Cream Cherry pie, though, and I was smitten.
We don’t make a big deal of anniversaries, but we like to do something special every five years. On our fifth anniversary, we toasted. I said, “Here’s to another five years.” Chuck said, “Oh, let’s just take one year at a time.”
On our twenty-fifth anniversary, we decided to have a ceremony of affirmation and re-commitment, with matching shoes and a real wedding and a party at the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC. Then we went to the island of St. John for our honeymoon. It was all perfect except for when Chuck was sick. For our 45th we rented a condo on the water in Cozumel. There was a strain that dodged the flu vaccine and Chuck was sick before we left home. I came down with it a day or two into the trip. Fortunately, we had a view of the clear turquoise sea from the bedroom.
I suppose I could surmise that the Corona virus came along just in time to botch up our 50th anniversary trip to St. Martin/Ste. Maarten. Of course, I don’t see it that way, but like everyone else, I see an opportunity to reflect on what is constant in this life. This evening, in a quiet dinner hosted by our dear friends Scott and Collins, we will practice social distancing and raise our glasses in a toast. Here’s to one more year. Of course there is no knowing how much time we will have together—we have been aware of that even in normal times—but there is every reason to celebrate the past that enriches the present moment. I love you, Chuck, and I am so grateful to share this journey with my beloved and my best friend.