May 7, 2011

They were just seventeen. They met at a football game through mutual friends. She attended an all girl catholic school. He graduated early and was working at a grocery store while going to night school. She was a natural at math and science, he was an artist. She was a bit snooty, he was a bit goofy.

He worked hard for this girl.

After proving himself to be consistent and reliable, she gave in and said yes to his proposal on the fourth of July. I assume it was under fireworks.

They married May 6, 1961, the Methodist mother of the groom, grit her teeth and endured the catholic ceremony.

Exactly nine months later, minus one day, their first child was born. By their fifth anniversary they had three children. Another child snuck in four years later.

He stopped drawing, started selling dog food. She took in other children to make ends meet.

Years flew by, he jetted across the country working his way up the tippy top of the corporate ladder. She managed the car pool and the girl scouts and served as room mother.

He was the dreamer, she was the realist. He  drove expensive cars, she shopped at k-mart. He cannot contain his words, she could teach classes on how to hold you tongue. (But she wouldn’t because she’d be holding her tongue.) He can be eccentric, she is restrained.

This relationship was not one of those boring, smooth sailing romances. It endured rocky roads and torturous climbs. It was filled with passion and honestly and heartbreaking decisions. It was a real relationship between two very different people.

To watch this relationship unfold is watching the human drama at its best. It survived with healthy doses of forgiveness, tolerance and humor. Lots of humor.

I don’t believe longevity decides whether a relationship is successful.
I believe that being able to be and love who you are while you can  allow your partner be who they are while loving and supporting them is the goal.

Congratulations, Ethel and Gary, for today, you have accomplished both.


your favorite child,

child number three.

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