CENTRAL MISSOURI, February 14, 2017 – Seventy years ago there was loud crash in a cafeteria as a beautiful blixty-sevenack-haired hostess dropped a tray of dishes. Turning toward the noise, I saw her hurriedly bend down to clean up the broken dishes.
As I watched, she glanced up, our eyes met and the response was as if scripted. My heart pounded as a bolt of lightning struck. I later learned she felt the same electricity.
Love was in the air.
Soon after, I started dating this green-eyed Irish girl named Betty, but whom I have always called Babe. We did not have a car in 1946, so I would take a street car to the loop and then walk five miles to her house to pick her up to go to a show.
It may sound corny by today’s standards, but our love was pure. Holding hands and walking together sharing our dreams, that was what it was all about. It is what it is still about today.
Young people always ask us how our marriage has lasted so long. This year, we celebrate our 69th year anniversary.
It’s true there was that lightening bolt, which started the fire. But beyond that initial spark, there was much more, most of it fairly simple.
We like one another and treat one another with respect.
Our marriage is one of listening to one another and understanding and supporting each other.
We both like the same things in life.
Another benefit of our marriage has been our ability to maintain our relationship despite life’s many stresses. We stand by each other, and don’t let those outside stresses wedge their way between us.
We agreed early on regarding our division of labor. I wanted my wife to stay home and be a wife and mother. I saw this as a full-time job, and I recognized how difficult it was. I respected her as the anchor of our family and for the amazing job she did in keeping the house together and take care of the children. My main responsibility was to provide a living for my family. I understood the importance of her job, and she understood the importance of mine.
In the early days of our marriage, I worked two jobs. Babe worked all the time.
Any success that I may have attained in life is because of Babe. I couldn’t have done it without her. Because of her love and support, and because she was able to deftly manage the household, I was able to achieve success in my career. I have worked at, and retired from three major corporations .
Babe and I have been together for more than 69 years. We have celebrated amazing, beautiful days and we have mourned great tragedies. We have held hands and shared dinners, taken walks and talked about our day, always together through thick and thin. We have created many, many memories.
But after all these years, my most vivid memory is of Babe looking up at me the first time our eyes met. It is that memory that always brings a smile to my face, and one that Babe also carries in her memories.
It is the memory of falling head over heels in love, and knowing that we would protect, cherish and nurture that love no matter what.
We now have a large family. We have children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. We also have each other.
I believe Babe and I have set an example of love and marriage for our offspring to follow. I felt pride when one of my grandsons told me before he got married that he wanted a marriage like the one his grandpa and grandma have. Now he has been married for seventeen years with four children, proving that “Love is still in the air.”
Love is like a fine wine. And it gets better and better as it ages.
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