3 magic words can make all the difference
I have been encouraged by Paul Archipley, the publisher/editor of the Edmonds Beacon, to write a little about my wife, Rosie, and myself as we just passed our 61st anniversary. He noted that a lengthy marriage is getting ever and ever more rare.
Part of the reason we wed was because of my sister, Lois, (who was a high school friend of Rosie's) and her match-making efforts. The result was an unlikely match that lasted all this time when all bets by those who knew us was that it wouldn't last more than a few months or a year at most.
To explain, I was a sailor, 18 years old, trying hard to be salty, and Rosie, 19, was a hard-working farm girl who worked full time in what was then called an "Old Folks Home" and who sang in the church choir. Mostly because of her tolerance of my many faults, we hung on during the first very difficult years on very low Navy pay.
When I arrived in Washington for the wedding, I worked at a dealership in Olympia for a week to earn enough money for a Greyhound bus ticket for two back to El Centro, Calif., where I was stationed.
In El Centro, we lived in a tiny cabin. When I came home on the nights that I didn't pull duty, we ate frugally, dodged a sea of cockroaches, and later slept in a decent bedroom (to pay our rent) behind the registration desk of the "motel" and took care of late arrivals (some for just an hour or two) and then back to sleep. These late arrivals happened several times during any given night.
Eventually I was assigned to sea duty where I spent the next two plus years. Our first baby, a beautiful little girl, was born while I was overseas. About a year later, we lost our second child, a boy, at the moment of his birth.
Our three surviving children, Connie, John Jr. and David, are in their 50s… actually Connie just turned 60. Between them we were blessed with seven grandchildren (we lost one) and 18 great-grandchildren.
There were times when each of us, privately, probably considered parting ways, but our children and their offspring simply became our first priority in life.
So… there you have it… at least some of highlights. I left out the lowlights. As all of you know, any marriage has a lot of bumps in the road. It seems that many of the modern couples simply abandon ship at the first sign of one of these bumps – even when it hurts their kids immeasurably.
Rosie and I, several times each day, tell each other, "I love you."