On July 1st, Mom and Dad would have been married 66 years. They nearly got to 64 years before Mother’s life was suddenly cut short by an unfortunate fall.
Other clients of mine will be celebrating their anniversary on July 1st as well.
And now, this July 1st, I’ll be attending a wedding of another client. It’s been a joy getting her dressed in white and accessorized with a sparkly belt at the waist of her glamorous gown, hair clips for her undo and great shoes that say wedding, wedding, wedding! We just had the final fitting on Monday. She’s going to look breathtaking!
We’ve also been getting more family members ready for the wedding: her husband-to-be, her brother, mother, and aunt. Russ and I will be taking the photographs on Saturday.
Want another fun fact? Her grandma and grandpa’s wedding anniversary is July 1st, too! (Are you going to leave me a comment and tell me that’s your anniversary as well?)
My client’s great grandmother came from the same small corner of North Dakota as my parents did. She was from Litchville, North Dakota which is the nearest town to Hastings, a town of 75 people. Mom and Dad lived about a quarter mile from each other.
Dad was 6-1/2 years older than Mom. They first noticed each other in the train station when Dad was in his Navy uniform heading off to serve in the Korean War. He was waiting for his train to come as Mom and her friend were horsing around at the station. When he got out of the service four years later, they started dating (and horsing around!). They were married on July 1st, 1951. Mother was just shy of being 20-years-old. A year later, they’d have twins; me and Brent with two more boys coming after that.
We threw a party for them on their 50th wedding anniversary and when their 60th was in sight, we started making plans for another one. I designed the invitations. The whole family pitched in to plan the food and decorations. That party was held at Mom and Dad’s lake home.
I wanted the guests to go home with something that would make them think of Mom and Dad and their love for each other.
I decided I’d interview the two of them about marriage. I’d edit the interview, then type it up and print it on pretty paper, roll it up and tie a ribbon around each one. Their shared words would be in baskets so we could hand them out to the guests at the end of the party.
Interviewing my parents on the subject of love and longevity in marriage
I met them in the living room as they took their places in their blue recliners, Dad on the left, Mom on the right, coffee cups in hand. I sat on the floor in front of them with my notebook and pen and interviewed my parents. Here’s how it went: Don and Alma on 60 years of marriage, July 2011.
What qualities are necessary to be married 60 years?
Don: Have a positive attitude. Humor goes along with that.
Alma: We had the ability to laugh at ourselves.
Don: Take a day at a time. If you have a down day, wait 48 hours. The sun will shine again.
Why did you marry Don?
I just knew he’d make these real cute babies.
Why did you marry Alma?
She had a wonderful smile, a wonderful disposition and was fun to be with. I was looking forward to a mate and togetherness.
Why it works
Alma: We’re each other’s best friends. We can trust each other and bare our souls.
Don: And have an honest discussion.
Alma: There’s always someone there to help you whether it’s physical or emotional.
Don and Alma: We’ve been lucky and we’ve been blessed. We’ve had lots of good friends all our life and good family to back us up.
Don: We’re always concerned about each other.
Alma: We worry about each other. That’s the sad part that happens now and then.
Best tools for getting through tough times
Alma: We’re more optimists than pessimists. If one gets down, the other one pulls us up.
Don appreciates Alma for …
She finds the clothes for me to wear so I depend on that and her cleanliness in our home.
Alma appreciates Don for …
I’m real content going with him in a car because I think he’s a very good driver.
Don and Alma: We always have something to talk about. We love staying up until one in the morning with the lights out and music on and just visiting. When we reminisce, it’s about the good things, not the bad. We omit the bad things that have happened and remember the good times.
Alma: I thought after two weeks of marriage we wouldn’t have anything to talk about.
Don: That’s a good one! That is absolutely precious!
Their advice to others
Don: Enjoy life!
Alma: We’re thankful for every day and look forward to many more. We’ll never get enough.
And soon, another marriage on July 1st
I’ll be sharing Mom and Dad’s advice with my clients and wishing them the same devotion my parents had for each other. I’m totally confident that they’re going to have a similar lasting love. When I pull out one of Mother’s handkerchieves on Saturday to wipe away tears of joy, I’ll be thinking about my parents who nailed this thing called marriage.