It was four very short years ago when I sat down and wrote this little post about my amazing parents and their sixty-sixth wedding anniversary. Well tomorrow they’ll be celebrating their seventieth (put that in your pipe and smoke it, you newly-weds). And while there’s enough to say about the two of them to fill many a blog post I’m thinking that these few heart-felt words I came up with back then might still really capture what I’m thinking. So here, blog readers, I bring you this short tribute to the extraordinary marriage of Evelyn and Sidney, aka mom and dad.
Being in the business of photographing weddings on a weekly basis, the subject of never-ending and true love is ever present. What makes a marriage and relationship really work and last, how do you keep it fresh and exciting through the years, how do you forge and retain your own identity and meaningful life’s work and still be half of a life-long partnership? All questions we all think about at one time or another, knowing that the rewards are ultimately worth the efforts.
I would imagine most of us have a couple or two that we know who’ve truly found the answer, some are newlyweds who you look at and just know that they’ve found their soul mates and that they’re destined to be together “forever”. Others who have been together for decades (how about twenty-six years?), for whom their love seems to just keep growing. And finally, some of us are lucky enough to know that rare couple who truly have set the gold standard, for whom their partnership is not only the glue that binds them, but who actually show us the way with their example. And while there aren’t very many of us that will actually find our way to being married for sixty-six years, each of us in our way can use their example to strive on a daily basis to find love, commitment and meaning in our lives and ultimately make the world a better place than when we found it. But then, what better way to illustrate this than in “her” own words.
“We were friends since high school. Then came The Big War and he didn’t want to be drafted, and so enlisted sixth months after graduating and one month after Pearl Harbor. I was 19 and he was 20, expecting to be sent overseas soon. He wanted us to get married before he left. A five day furlough-a three day honeymoon-and one month later, he was literally on a slow boat to China!
We really learned about ourselves and discussed our future plans through the letters we wrote to each other for two years. I mailed him a letter every single day! They took a long time and sometimes two dozen arrived at one time. Our life has been very good. We have truly been blessed with two wonderful children, nine grandchildren and twenty-nine great grandchildren. We’ve tried to instill, by example, respect for each other. We’ve worked hard and sixty-six years later, we love each other more each day”.
Just this week on the occasion of their seventieth dad volunteered these additional fine words about their life together:
“We were part of a group of old friends in the same neighborhood. Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, I enlisted in the service. We started to date when I’d get home on leave and we got to know each other better. After two years of service in this country, we got married in December of 1943 in a hastily arranged ceremony for a few family. We had a three day honeymoon and then I left her for two years, taking a 30 day cruise without her, (courtesy of Uncle Sam) to India and China. During those two years, she would write to me every single day without fail – through which we really got to know more about each other than we had the time to before the marriage.
When I returned home in January of 1946, we started our family and started a photography business from our home. Seventy years later we love each other more than ever (if possible) A wonderful marriage requires honesty and trust. We’ve never exchanged a harsh word and have always been honest with each other. We try to never go to sleep angry and never get tired of saying ‘I love you’ and sharing hugs often. What a wonderful run. We don’t know too many of our friends or family who’ve been more blessed and are very thankful for that.”
And a final addendum on the occasion of their seventieth, yours truly has now been married for thirty years and mom and dad now have forty great-grandchildren. Yup, forty.
Happy anniversary, mom and dad! We love you very much!