You know how there are various gifts for anniversaries, i.e., first is paper, second is china, third is crystal. This list continues clear through 100 years! I looked carefully at what is supposed to happen in the late 40’s of marriage and here’s the result: 46th is original poetry (I totally missed that boat), 47th is books, 48th is optical goods... seriously? 49th is luxuries!! I like that.
49 years ago today, I married my best friend, John. We didn’t have a big wedding, there was no wedding gown, no tuxes, no floral displays or bouquets. But we had two people who loved us dearly as our witnesses...John’s parents, Jay and Leila Davis. We were married in Calvary Baptist Church in Burbank by Dr. Jack MacArthur, who talked to us about how to make marriage work. Here’s what he said: Forget that 50-50 thing. If both partners plan to give 75% then the marriage will be a success. He said be sure to have a date night together every week, even if all you can afford is to window shop. He said be kind to each other, be polite, be careful what you say, as once it’s out there, you can’t take it back. He said God loves you and wants you to be happy together. Dr. Jack drew us a pie chart, which is long gone, showing how that 75% thing worked. He was right. If you’re not keeping score about who has given more than their half, you’re a lot happier.
The day we were married, Saturday, April 1, 1967, it rained. It poured. It was cold. My mother-in-law wore a red coat and a little blue hat. I wore an off-white Young Edwardian suit with blue pumps and a blue bag. John and his Dad both wore blue suits. We went to the Tick-Tock Restaurant on Cahuenga which is still there since 1930, btw, after the ceremony, which I cried through, as I was so happy to be marrying my love, for lunch.
There’s an old wives tale about a rainy wedding day which says that if it rains on her wedding day, the bride won’t often have to cry. This is true, friends and family, as we have both laughed far more than we’ve cried in our 49 years together. Yes, bad things have happened, yes, we have wept together...when Zachary died just short of two years old...when Crissy was hit by a car in front of our house and lingered between life and death for ten long days...when teen-age kids have gone in the wrong direction...when health things happened. Yes, we have wept, but oh my, we have laughed so much. We have been beautiful places and walked on perfect beaches. Yes, guys in dreadlocks offered us ganja on a number of them, but we always declined.
We have walked on beaches in Jamaica, Costa Rica, Greece, Grenada, and so many other Caribbean islands. We have taken Windjammer trips where Amazing Grace was played on bagpipes while sails were raised. We have drunk champagne in all sorts of places, and eaten calamari in Greece where it is beyond delicious. The Captain of our boat when we were in Greece said when he took us to his favorite restaurant, “The cook, she is woman, but the food is still good!” We laugh about so many things like that to this day.
We have started most days of our 49 years with laughter and a snuggle time, a nice walk and currently, the everlasting oatmeal for breakfast.
Our children have all turned out to be magnificent people. We now have 13 grandchildren, the last one of whom had the good taste to be born on my birthday, Mr. Brady Benjamin. We have two fabulous little girls in Texas who were adopted by Crissy and Chris. We have a registered nurse, Ashley, who will marry the most amazing guy on June 11th. We have a future physicist at USC, Blake; we have a fabulous actor, Luke, who will be at USC in the fall. Nicole, our whale, seal and dolphin expert will be working with the Navy on their breeding crew for the next months; Chad and Hayley have been married almost a year and doing very well; Amber is in college at Golden West; and Emily is winding up high school. Grandson, David’s little girl, Erin, is 7 (they’re both in Germany) and grandson, Michael’s and his wife, Alexandra’s, two children, William and Catherine Sophia are brilliant, athletic and adorable.
49 years is but a moment, but a moment stuffed with joy, laughter, witty conversation, joy and tears. We are hoping for many more...maybe not 49, but more.
Oh, the gift for the 100th anniversary... a 10K diamond! Hey, I could hang around for that!